Since February is Black History Month in the month of Valentine’s Day, the holiday we celebrate love, I thought it would be a fitting time to write about why I love being black. But not just being black, being a black woman in particular. My father is a retired college professor who was born n raised in Ghana and only came to the United States to go to attend graduate school in New York.
When it came my turn to pick a college, I chose Spelman. Being the daughter of an African educator and having received a secondary education at a school that is widely known for producing black women of excellence, it may seem natural that I would have loved my blackness and my womanhood from the start. But like all things a real sense of self of comes with growth and maturity. There were some things that subconsciously wished I could change when I was younger. when I was a little girl like many of us I danced around the bedroom with a towel on my head pretending it was long blonde flowing locks. I wished my own hair with similar to of the soapy strands that grew freely from the heads of my white classmates. My father, being the academician that he was fond of reminding me that what was in my head was more important than what grew out of it. but it wasn’t early decades later and I came to fully appreciate intelligence but also my hair. I grew to embrace the fact that it is different. that it is extremely versatile. that it actually says something about who I am and where I come from. I embrace it now as an undeniable facet of who I am As I embrace all of my features: my caramel colored skin, my wide nose, full lips and supple curves. To me, these things are sexy and beautiful in a woman.
And that can be a difficult concept to grasp for a young woman who is constantly inundated with images of beauty that are based upon European ideals. I love the things about me that tie me to a heritage that is rich with pride, intelligence, tenacity, artistry, ingenuity, scholarship, loyalty and love. We are fortunate enough as black people to live in a time with history is being made in front of our eyes. We saw the first black man be elected to the nation’s highest office. And I’m not oblivious to the fact that we still have a long way to go. But I can proudly say that the women I look up to the most are black.
Aside from the women in my family who are the most graceful and dignified women I’ve ever known, I draw strength everyday from Oprah’s trailblazing, Beyonce’s never ending ambition and Michelle Obama’s everything. As black women we are uniquely different, but share commonalities that us to forge a sisterhood that transcends acquaintance.
If this post help you feel more comfortable in the skin you are in, please share the love. 🙂
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