Young Black women are amazing. Whenever I see a twentysomething, just-grown woman who’s still a bit of a girl, she moves me. There’s something about the way this generation is meeting its challenges that makes me so proud. I love their style, their intelligence, their courage and their energy. It all adds up to a powerful presence in our communities and a rich promise for our future.
But our young women need our help. In fact, they’re asking for it. The twenties are when they are both incredibly excited about the possibilities and worried about whether it’s all going to come together. They need their older sisters – their mothers, grandmas, aunts, neighbors and everyday idols who inspire them – to remind them they can do it, that they, too, can own their power despite the obstacles.
They want to hear from us, to learn from us. They want to know what we think about the men in our lives, how we got over our heartbreak, how we forged ahead in our careers. They want to know how we learned to love ourselves through disappointment, how we found the strength to get right back up and keep pressing on. They want to hear how we style our hair, manage our money, wield our power, choose our birth control, take care of our skin. They want to know they can lean on us, that they have our support. With that in mind, here are 15 things I want to say to the twentysomethings in my life, who include Young, Black and Amazing — YBA — you:
1. Ask yourself, What do I want to be doing at 40?
2. Make a plan and work it. You can tweak it along the way.
3. Reach out. You don’t have to do it alone. We’re here for you.
4. Save a little bit every week, even a single dollar.
5. Don’t accept negative things others say about you. If they have an observation, tell them to make it constructive.
6. You are responsible for your actions.
7. Video dancer is not a profession.
8. Be aware of the ways pop culture may try to diminish you. Reject them.
9. Be patient with people’s shortcomings but not their bad behavior.
10. Know that you can love someone and still walk away.
11. Any job is better than no job. It’s not forever. It’s merely a stepping-stone.
12. Any man is not better than no man.
13. Men think about sex a lot. What’s on your mind?
14. Whatever you dream, there’s a Black woman who has already done it.
15. You can do it, too.
Hit me up on Twitter and let me know what you dream of doing and how you plan to get there. As world traveler Angela Petitt says in “The 10 Principles of Power” on page 136 of the October issue, “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality.” We’ve got your back!