The current political climate in the US is awakening a fierce, unexpected force to be reckoned with – the Black woman. During a no holds barred panel moderated by unyielding CNN Political Analyst, White House Correspondent and arch nemesis to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, April Ryan, a fire was ignited for the empowerment and protection of the Black woman.
Truth be told, this fire has been simmering for a while now. As Ryan stated, "We are not post-racial. There is a deliberate attack on black women in this country," noting her own personal daily encounters with insolence and inflammatory banter, and those experienced by former First Lady Michelle Obama, and most recently, Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
To discuss the power of the Black woman and her ability to reclaim her voice against the powers that be, ESSENCE Festival brought to the Empowerment stage two political powerhouses to provide insights: Dr. Brittney Cooper and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
The call to action may be unclear to some, but to these two the approach is clear. Dr. Brittney Cooper, a self-proclaimed Black feminist, author, professor and public speaker, says that Black women must first stop blaming themselves for the things that others do to them. She reminded the audience (of mostly Black women) that they don’t have to feel guilty about being angry, and proclaimed, "I’m mad as hell!"
Operating under this new world order of political divisiveness and the demonizing of the Black woman, the call to action is paramount. Cooper encouraged Black women to use their anger to empower themselves and their community by getting out to vote, raising good kids, supporting one another, and staying informed. "Your anger is your superpower!"
The truth and the light from this panel was real. When Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, was asked how Black women can get out of our own way and stop being our own worst enemy in the fight, he so eloquently preached, "The most revolutionary radical thing a Black woman can do is love another Black woman", encouraging sisters to let go of petty competitiveness, be a part of each other’s support system, and protect one another.
The message is clear. Black women must stand up, reclaim their time, and take action if they stand to make it in the "New World Order."
How will you use your superpowers?
For more on everything you missed from the 2018 ESSENCE Festival, visit ESSENCE.com/festival-2018.