Over the years, people have questioned my reasons for using my race and my gender to “define myself.” It isn’t up to me; Black and female are inextricable and essential parts of my being. And I’m not mad at that. I’m proud to be a sister and I’m glad that so much of who I am is tied to that identity. What I have decided, however, is that I don’t simply let Black and female define me. I define what it means to be Black and female in 2010. Peep game… My Black woman stuff: Big, proud natural hair. Doobie wraps. Fried tofu and candied sweets. The South Side of Chicago. Howard University. Brooklyn. Jazz records. Mixtapes. Formal tea and big hats. Dashikis and African street fests. Play cousins. Toni Morrison. Wine tastings. Alize. Big legs crossed in dainty heels. Muslim oils. “Good” English. Ebony phonics. Huxtable aspirations. It’s me where and wherever I enter. I am a Black woman who is bound, yet unchained. I am tied to my sistren (and my brothers) by blood, by beauty, by pain and by progress. But I am free of any limitations that someone inside or outside of the community may seek to place upon me because of my race and gender. I follow in the footsteps of the women who came before me, but I’m creating my own path and trying to make some space for some younger sisters along the way. Star Jones describes herself as “free, Black and grown.” I love that and I aspire to live it each day. Some see Black womanhood as some sort of limit or parameter placed upon our lives. I see it as both boundless and enough and full and rich as I make it. I walk how I want, love where I see fit and live as I desire. And I think that’s pretty fierce.
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