Terry McMillan on the Incredible Role Her Girlfriends Play in Her Life
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for 2016 Essence Festival

Author Terry McMillan knows a thing or two about the value of having a good set of friends on your side. During her keynote conversation with ESSENCE Special Projects and Book Editor Patrik Henry Bass during the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival, she shared the ups and downs of having a strong set of sisterfriends, some of whom have been in her corner for over 40 years. 

“We go days, we go weeks, we go months without speaking. We cuss each other out. We say what’s on our minds and sometimes that’s not what we want to hear, but that’s because we’re friends and we have each other’s backs,” the 64-year-old shared with the audience. Even through the good, the bad and the ugly, that special bond is what always brings friends back together. “Then we just call up one day or send each other a text and say, ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘You know I was right’ because your friends do have your back. If they give you advice, chances are it’s the right advice.”

McMillan, whose most recent book I Almost Forgot About You was released in June via Random House, went on to stress the importance of recognizing and appreciating the special connection that women—especially Black women—share with one another and how beneficial it can be. “They act like your mothers but the bottom line is that no matter how you’re feeling, you can just call on the phone crying to them and they’ll just listen to you cry. Even if you did something stupid, they’re not gonna tell you did something stupid until you come to your senses,” she said, drawing laughs and a lot of nods of agreeance from the crowd. “It’s a certain kind of sisterhood that we have as Black women that I don’t think a lot of other ethnicities—and I’m not trying to knock other ethnicities—that we have.” 

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