Essays

Send Love.

A tragedy happened yesterday at the university where Dream and I first met and I am deeply saddened by this event. While she has already graduated, I still have a semester or so left. Around the time it happened, I had walked through the area 4 times and had no clue what happened until people at work started mentioning it. There have not been a lot of details shared about this incident and I do not want to get into the details I know, but my thoughts are with the loved ones of the deceased and the witnesses.

I would like to take this time to encourage everyone to send love to someone you know. When someone crosses your mind, check in with them. Dream and I are not just collaborators; we are friends with great insight and intuition. When something is up with me, she senses it and checks in with me. I do the same for her; I can tell when she is not responding like she usually does and I send love her way. I can admit that I am often in my own world. I don’t engage with the people that I love as often as I could. But if I think about someone, I take that as a sign that I need to reach out. Just a couple of weeks ago, my grandma was on my mind for days and when I called to tell her that I love her, I could hear the happiness in her voice.

In my opinion, it seems that people are stingy with the word ‘love.’ Or that they feel they have to be reserved about using it. While I understand the reservation as it applies to romantic situations, I encourage people to tell your friends that you love them. And if you feel compelled to tell someone how you feel romantically, do so. Words hold power and sometimes, people need to hear things to feel uplifted. I understand that not everyone has close relationships with their blood relatives, but if there’s anyone in your life that you feel mutually connected to, take the time to express how much it means that they are in your life.

Lastly, I want people to send love inward. It can be hard to love yourself when you are constantly bombarded with messages from society of why you shouldn’t. While the narrative around this is changing, self-love can sometimes be considered selfish and I think we need to completely do away with that form of thinking. If it is hard to outright say ‘I love myself,’ being kind with yourself goes a long way.

With Love,

Shanté

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Essays

A Seat at the Table: From where we sit

Fleurish1994 is all about #blackgirlmagic and the power of us owning our shine. We’ve seen the celebration of the many facets of black womanhood in various ways this year and all of that has culminated in the (somewhat unexpected) release of Solange’s A Seat at the Table. As two women immensely inspired by Solange, we’d like to share our individual takes on the album.

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Shanté

It’s been a week since A Seat at the Table came out and it’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve listened to it at multiple points of every day since the release. I’m listening as I write this. If you know me, you know I’ve always been a Solange fan. Not just of her music, but of her aesthetic and commitment to being herself at all times. She’s a trendsetter; I looked for yellow eyeliner for years because she wore it during the Hadley St. Dreams Era. She’s also a beautiful songwriter and the quintessential carefree black girl (more on that later).

Earlier this week, my friend and radio show co-host Stephanie tagged me in a post about this Blavity article that discusses the way Black female singers have really laid it all out this year. The albums they referenced were A Seat at the Table, Lemonade by Beyoncé, HEAVN by Jamila Woods, and Telefone by Noname. These are the exact albums that I felt represented in and affirmed by this year in a way that I never have before. Each of these women have unique experiences that led them to create these masterpieces but throughout these albums are common themes of black womanhood (in some cases, girlhood too), love, pride, and pain.

A Seat at the Table is a stellar example of what it means to be a black woman in 2016. There’s the topic of grief present in “Weary.” The acknowledgment of how blackness thrives despite the odds is also woven throughout and this album just makes you so happy to be black. So do the visuals; I make the cheesiest smile when I watch the “Don’t Touch My Hair” video because the part where she dances with Sampha (another favorite of mine) is a shining example of black excellence.

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So, back to the carefree black girl label; many of us who admire Solange have called her that and while she may not give a fuck about your judgments, this album proves that she cares a lot about the well-being of black folks. Even in her most ethereal moments, she is human and it shows through the melancholy, yet triumphant tracks on the album. “Borderline: An Ode to Self-Care” highlights how any caring for others has to start with caring for yourself. “Cranes in the Sky” tells us that despite our vices, the pain will be there if we don’t tackle our problems head on. “Rise” is about how we have to take the bad with the good within ourselves.

There’s obviously the thread of black girl magic with Kelly Rowland and Nia Andrews harmonizing beautifully with Solange on an interlude about their abundance of magic. “Don’t Touch My Hair,” one of my favorites, is about the pride Black women put into their hair, affectionately known as our crowns. This song reminds me of what my mother said her father told her; “Your hair is your beauty.” Our hair is so versatile and even when we decide to big chop, it comes right back full of glory. It’s great to be at a point where natural hair is not uncommon. As a child (and even up until my high school days), I was one of few at school with unrelaxed hair. Now, it’s a beautiful pleasure to walk around the city and see wash and gos, twist-outs, and bantu knots galore. Even the fact that we use this natural hair lingo among each other so casually is a glorious thing. The natural hair communities online have done something great for us (though I could do without the type policing, as Solange has pointed out before).

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If nothing else, this album proves that they can try to hinder, steal, or mock our shine but the result is never the same. “F.U.B.U.,” an unofficial anthem at this point, makes me feel so proud to be black. The whole album does, but one of my favorite lines comes from this track: “Don’t be mad if you can’t sing along, just be glad you got the whole world.” It shows the frustration expressed in the collective sentiment that “we can’t have nothing.” Y’all have seen how many times a trend has started on social media (by us) and we never get the credit. It’s larger than social media; I’m talking to you, rock and roll…even though it’s becoming common knowledge that this was clearly stolen. We see it on the runways almost every season. Faux dreadlocks going down the runway on non-black bodies, but it’s seen as unkempt everywhere else. *see also: “They love black culture, but not black people,” when Solange sings “get so much from us, then forget us!”

There’s not a track that I don’t like on this album. “Where Do We Go” and “Mad” embody everything I like about R&B music: the harmonies, the refrains, the way it makes me feel. All of the Master P. interludes are so insightful and Ms. Tina’s denouncing of the equation between pro-black and anti-white is what many need to hear at this time.

I’ve felt constantly “Weary” of the world for some months now; this album has given me more momentum to celebrate who I am.

Dream

As a black girl who has occupied a whole lot of white spaces, I have had to assert my blackness A LOT. It has meant a lot of yelling matches on buses, a lot of tears, tons of silent glares, a lot of talks with people who didn’t (and didn’t want to) get it. It meant a lot of sadness and a lot of joy. And with soft horns and ethereal harmonies, Solange Knowles just validated the hell out of all those interactions.

When Solange announced her new album, I was immensely excited. I heard some of the melodies on Snapchat and it sounded like, for lack of a expression, Harlem in the fall. Harlem, where my father lived and where I so often visited, is my favorite place in the world. If you’ve never been (get there quick!), it feels almost like a black soul personified, like sunsets painted with sounds of the man with the horn on the corner. I had high hopes for the album. I just knew it would be amazing and soulful. And I was not at all disappointed.

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A Seat at the Table is a brilliant album full of horns and harmonies with pain and pride as a background to the motif of blackness. Sentiments and stories thread together to create a sort of anthology of light songs with heavy implications and back stories. From the melancholic “Cranes in The Sky”, “Mad” & “Weary” to the wistful, wondering “Where Do We Go” and all too familiar “F.U.B.U”, (my personal favorites) “Don’t Touch My Hair” & “Don’t Wish Me Well”, Solange pulled no punches. Each song delved deep into the complexities of black people and black life, from cultural appropriation to the everyday trauma we’re forced to deal with. Even the interludes, which I normally resent, just add to the strength of A Seat at the Table. The interludes from Ms. Tina, Matthew and Master P were done so masterfully and spun the album from an just another album to a story, a story about accepting and loving blackness for all that it means, all it could mean and all it feels like. I had to double check to make sure there were as many as there are because it feels so natural, the perfect progression between songs.

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With A Seat at the Table, just like me all those times, Solange asserted her blackness. She won’t water herself down, she won’t let you rip her to shreds and she most definitely won’t let you touch her hair. She was curated for decades by the blood of her ancestors, their creations, their contributions. She made this album for them. She made the album for us. This is shit is for us. For black people, for black women, for black men, for black boys and oh, let’s just say, black girls who are misunderstood and don’t quite know how to express that. This shit is no doubt for us.

As Ms. Tina said, “There’s so much beauty in being black… There’s so much beauty in black people.” Well said, Ms. Tina. And well done, Ms. Knowles– you really created a masterpiece of an album which showcased the multifaceted beauty of blackness. So much beauty indeed.


 Pictures and gif from the digital book accompanying A Seat at the Table, as well as the videos for “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair”.

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Essays

A Late Summer Salvage: The Get Down

So, there are two things you must understand about me if you are to understand this newfound interest of mine.

  1. I do not binge-watch.

Believe it or not, bingewatching is hard for me. SO so so hard for me. The only reason I tend to partake in this activity is to avoid spoilers. Otherwise, I creep slowly at my pace, starting and stopping various movies and series as I please. I’m only three episodes into House of Cards season three and two episodes into Narcos. It’s not that I’m not interested but… it’s more like a filler activity and more often than not, I truly can’t be bothered.

  1. I am majorly, tremendously and excruciatingly homesick.

I may reside in the suburbs of Atlanta but if you ask me, I LIVE in the Bronx. It’s where I’m from, where my hopes and dreams are, where my family settled into when they emigrated from Jamaica. It’s home, at least for me. I planned on going back immediately after graduation, to experience it before the inevitable gentrification really took root, to live just ONE more carefree summer before the beginning of the rest of my life began.

I really did dream of the hot summer days, chasing down Mr. Softee, the screech of the subway, jamming in Webster Hall to the song of the summer (which features Bronx based rappers!), all of it. People may talk cash shit about it but do not get it twisted. The Bronx is where it is AT. And it makes me sad to think I could not experience it due to circumstances outside my control (namely a boss that thought she could control me to the end and a fight I fought until the very last breath). It makes me sad and it makes me sick. As in sick to my stomach, as in I have had to sit down to avoid vomiting.

Which is how I happened upon onto this show. THE GET DOWN.

It takes place in a late 1970s Bronx with (FINALLY!) black and brown characters as the framework. The Bronx, rife with crime facilitated by the greed of the landowners also blossomed creatively with graffiti on each and every subway and hip hop steadily taking over the underground scene. The show captures a summer of the Burning Bronx time period with its characters coming of age in the gritty New York City streets. And I was riveted.

Each episode, titled with some sort of sage phrase, took the audience through the journey of Zeke, Shaolin Fantastic, the Kipling siblings and Mylene as they grow each and every day on the hot summer streets of the Bronx. Zeke is a shy poet learning to grow into himself as he tries to profess his love for the ambitious Mylene. He and the Kipling brothers team up with Shaolin Fantastic, a street kid with bad connections but an artful soul he just wants to express. I loved it. For me, it was so similar to the way a real NYC kid would grow up, sort of independent, rebellious and with an entire squad of loyal ass friends. From Zeke standing up for himself to the FINE ass Shaolin to 1520 Sedgwick where my family moved years before my birth, I saw lives like mine with stories that needed to be told in a place I knew to be full of stories so many had deemed not worth one at all. It felt real to me, fantastical and bizarre at times, but real enough. I have most definitely known a Zeke, Yolanda, Boo and a Regina. I have seen frustrated Ms. Greens and plenty of playboy criminals like Cadillac. It seemed like for the entirety of the series, The Bronx really came alive on screen and I relished the experience. I felt like I was actually experiencing the Bronx for those few episodes. It felt… true, in a way.

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Don’t get me wrong, there are definite criticisms I have of it. Like how maybe three of the characters sound like me or my friends back home at all. Or how this media isn’t even controlled by black or brown people (minus Nas, the executive producer). But overall, I’m pleased with it. I’m well aware that critics don’t quite like it but I truly feel it has less to do with the plot of the show and more to do with the subject. As in, TRUE hip hop at the core serves black and Latino people who created it. It leaves no space for the voyeuristic white boy who simply cannot relate and comments only on a technical standpoint because he cannot feel the music. They don’t understand so they condemn. It’s a black thing, a brown thing they don’t feel included in except as the villains so they condemn, not stopping to consider the point of view of that the story is not written for them, except possibly as the role they do so well: voyeur. At least, that’s how I see it.

The Get Down is a story that needs to be told. Not to legitimize hip hop’s origins or the people of color that created it but to show the blossoming of the concrete rose and the ingenuity, the struggle of the artform so many have called their love. And for me, the little Bronx girl trapped far far far away, it felt like being home. Almost.

Photos via Vogue and Variety

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Essays

Lately.

The tragedies of this summer have left me sad and listless. While none of them have been personal, they all sure hit home. For starters, there was the largest mass shooting in modern American history in Orlando. Then, there were the multiple police-involved deaths from Baton Rouge to Minnesota to Dallas and then most recently Baltimore. Fire coming from all sides and different directions; continual violence when many of us are asking for the violence to stop, no matter who started it. It seems like every time I log onto Facebook or Instagram, another one has occurred (and it happened to me again as I wrote this).  It’s great that these events are being covered by the media, even though, of course, it would be preferable if senseless tragedies never happened.

Yet, with every article or social media post detailing a tragic event comes a treacherous comment section, exposing many folks’ true beliefs and intentions. Every time I scroll to the comments, I’m reminded why I shouldn’t. People questioning the humanity of others and never getting what’s so dangerous about their statements (“They are all a bunch of thugs and this one was no angel, hello did you see that shoplifting charge on his record??”). Others are bold in their bigotry (@ people who change #BlackLivesMatter to #AllLivesMatter, simultaneously posting #BlueLivesMatter). How hard is it to see that some punishments don’t fit the crime and that trying to justify excessive force is just plain wrong? How hard is it to understand that #BlackLivesMatter really means Black lives matter too? How fair is it for people to believe that their opinion is enough to justify seeing some people as less than human? How dare people say that others are just too sensitive or offend easily when they don’t live this reality? These are the questions going through my head constantly and I’m not sure there are any answers. Some people are just more content with sticking to what ‘they believe in’ instead of educating themselves or attempting to step into the shoes of others.

It all just feels so heavy that even if I tried to lift the weight, it would just redistribute elsewhere. In addition, I haven’t been motivated. This is partially due to all of the feels I’ve felt and also from being on vacation. While the summer is a good time to wallow in laziness, it hasn’t been a particularly good kind of lazy…I keep questioning whether or not I accomplished anything. Now, with the school year approaching, is the time to re-shift my focus and maybe lift some of the weight for good. It’s going to take time and part of it begins with remembering that I can’t change the landscape of the whole world. I just have to start internally and work from there.

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Essays

Ceejai vs The ‘Real’ World: A Observation in Black Womanhood

Let me start by saying this: I am no fan of The Real World. I don’t think, even as a child, I’ve ever sat down and watched a lot of it, minus recaps and one infamous fighting scene. I’m not an avid watcher of MTV as a whole, except that one semester my freshman year. That being said, like the season of the Bad Girls Club with the Clermont twins in it, I decided to watch after seeing an overwhelming amount of videos and screencaps of the most endearing and supportive castmate, Ceejai.

Ceejai, a black girl from St. Louis who currently resides in Atlanta, is one of the several castmates chosen to live in an apartment with six other strangers for this season of the Real World: Go Big or Go Home. She’s much like a lot of other black girls her age, fun loving and supportive. Under any normal circumstances, Ceejai would probably remain as cool as cucumber. But after enduring racist remarks for weeks at the hands of her roommate, Ceejai reacted in a way that many of us find understandable. Here’s a video of the altercation that ensued after Jenna and her friend provoked Ceejai using racially motivated insults.

This stirred up feelings in me about black womanhood and the way confrontations are handled when you are a black woman. Here’s several things I noticed in that video.

  • There are constant neverending trials for black women, both microagressions and blatant. Ceejai was tested time and time again.
    • To be black in America is hard. To be a black woman in America (or in any Eurocentric society tbh) feels backcrushing. There are black women who are forced to prove their calm, to rise above all the noise and all the pointed spears to keep a self image that radiates competence, hard work and patience. Perpetuated by the trope of the “strong, independent black woman”, this image is extremely damaging to the psyche as there is no room left for mistakes or humanity. In the scene, Ceejai clearly walks away from the issue and tries to calm herself down to not seem ‘ratchet’, deflecting the fact that the angry response to that level of ignorance would probably be the common one.
  • Black women understand the game white supremacy plays and many times choose to rise above. 
    •  Constantly antagonized and clearly hurt by many of Jenna’s remarks, Ceejai either kept quiet about the astounding ignorance or confronted her directly.  Ceejai was patient, kind and understanding toward her roommate, even opting to keep her in the house after she failed a challenge. As a black woman, the first instinct is rarely to react but to explain or attempt to understand. There are many black women who are forced to endure various degrees of racism and for the sake of preservation, try to react in the calmest ways possible. It’s all too common.
  • Often times when black women are struggling to maintain composure, they are often alone without aid. 
    • Despite their best efforts, Ceejai was alone that night. Instead of aiding her and comforting her the same way she did for Dean, Ceejai was alone when she walked out the room. Not a single person followed or attempted to calm her down. In fact, the same black man she had comforted after his run in with Jenna sat RIGHT there, rather than intervening. Even though her roommates were clearly on her side, they could have both stopped antagonizing her with the comments made and had enough time to stop her from fighting. The two roommates I believe would have stopped her were not present at the time. But either way, Ceejai was alone. Black women should find comfort in their friends or allies, not more animosity.
  • Even though the action could have been perfectly justified, black women are almost always made out to be the aggressor, never the victim.
    • There is only so much a person can take. As a person with a shorter fuse, I can truly say Ceejai endured a lot prior to the altercation. First, Jenna provoked the argument with her, having clearly attacked Ceejai prior to the fight. Her racial remarks were one thing, her threats toward Ceejai were another. The moment she physically put hands on Ceejai should have resulted in her ejection. But it didn’t. The threats Jenna yelled at her should have gotten her ejected as well. But it didn’t. Ceejai was the victim of bigotry and violence but no one identified her as such because of her black womanhood, adding to the abuse she suffered. MTV and the producers took a different route, waiting for her to ‘pop’, in which case she FINALLY became the aggressor, backed into a corner after all the abuse. This is common in most White dominated environments. Any person would have cracked under the pressure of that abuse; Ceejai’s response was extreme but by no means wrong in that sort of situation.
  • Sometimes, blackness doesn’t equal complete support.
    • All skinfolk definitely ain’t your kinfolk. Ceejai was far from a loner in the house. She was also not alone in her blackness. Jenna actively antagonized Dean, the other black roommate so badly, he was drawn out his character. Ceejai saw his struggle and comforted him, in a way only black women can. She acknowledged his struggle to be seen as a human being, capable of being vulnerable and having human emotions. Yet in her time of need, he was as silent as a mouse. He should have risen to the occasion and aided Ceejai, either by calming her or separating her from the argument all together.
  • Black women are often forced to take the high road to act as ‘examples’ of an entire community while their abuser continues to taunt them with racial insults.
    • Ceejai said it herself; she explained, walked out, ignored and just flat out refused to bend to Jenna. Despite all that, Jenna still called her ratchet and let her friends tell her to ‘Go Pick Cotton’ and allowed them to call her ‘nappy headed’. Meanwhile, Ceejai realizes that she cannot react as that is not the person that she is and she doesn’t want to let down the image of the black woman. As black women, when we walk down the street, when we talk, when we laugh, we are simultaneously made to be role models, most times without our permission. If we speak in AAVE, we’re Sheneneh. Confrontional? Nene Leakes. Angry? Tiffany Pollard. Matronly? Mamie.  Ceejai knew her appearance on this show meant more than an appearance on a show and tried so hard to avoid becoming a ‘bad’ example. We can’t win for losing.

Do you have anything to add about the altercation between Ceejai and Jenna?

Comment below!

XOXO,

Dream

 

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Essays

FGOTM: Ivie Osaghae Pt 3

Part Three of our Fleurish Girl of the Month interview with Ivie Osaghae. Check out parts 1 & 2 too!

F: Super Taurus answer! So can you name five things that you are into right now?

I: Hmm. Taking the time to get dressed before school. Um, what’s next? Introspection. Really questioning what it is I want from my life outside of the professional or academic sense. Even though I don’t necessarily know what that is just yet, I have a better idea of that than my personal development. Introspection is allowing myself to feel and follow those emotions especially in terms of relationships. (…) Because when you don’t allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable to another person, then you potentially miss out on the greatness of who you are with that person and who that person is.

Introspection is allowing myself to feel and follow those emotions especially in terms of relationships. (…) Because when you don’t allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable to another person, then you potentially miss out on the greatness of who you are with that person and who that person is.

So, that’s two. Music. Going back to… I was never really into rap music and stuff. I’ve listened to it but it wasn’t really my forte so I really have been going back to what I really love. I personally really like Vampire Weekend. I think they’re an amazing band. I think it’s funny how iTunes classifies them as a Upper Westside or Upper East side soul music. Because they’re a bunch of white dudes making Afro beats and music and singing over it. Just going back to people that I listened to in high school that helped me feel like I was an individual. So Vampire Weekend, Santigold, AlunaGeorge but also listening to some newer people like Kali Uchis, more local artists like AriSoul… So just finding myself through my music again. Not necessary through anything that I create because I don’t make music but finding the soundtrack for my life through the music that I love. So that’s like three?

Being unapologetically me. For a long time, I allowed myself to be minimized by… It’s been mostly men in my life. Being afraid to stand up for something that I believe in… Standing firm in who I am and understanding my womanhood outside of, not even outside of, in all the spaces that we’re not allowed to be women, especially as black women. We really have not have emotions or not have an opinions because it will make this man appear inferior or it will push the wrong man away but it’s like, if he feels threatened by it, then we don’t need to be together anyway. I’ve been reflecting on past relationships and the guy that I was with before vs the guy that I’m with now. He would always say ‘Why are you being so difficult?’ In my head, I’m not being difficult but at the same time, I was being kinda emotionally defensive. So yes, there was some truth to that but at the time, that was just me speaking my opinion. I’m not going to be forcefully pushed into something that I’m not going to be. Whereas the guy that I’m with now is very much like ‘I appreciate this about you. Because that’s who you are and I would never try to change that about you because that’s not the person that I chose to be with.’ So introspection, being unapologetically me, surrounding myself with people that continue to motivate me and even though I don’t always appreciate what they say to me and don’t feel like having conversations on a super deep level half the time, what they say definitely resonates with me and makes me really evaluate my own life. Am I playing a supporting character in my story? Or am I the star of it? By being the star, am I helping other people along that journey? So that’s what I’m into. Being with people who push me to be a better person on all accounts, not just in my private life and in my professional life, in my emotional life, in my mental life… All of those things make a whole individual. the things that these people say make me a better person. It’s like trying to change our habits. That’s not all it is. You can change your habits but if you don’t change your pathology then you’re not going to change. You’re basically changing your clothes and not washing yourself.

Am I playing a supporting character in my story? Or am I the star of it? By being the star, am I helping other people along that journey?

F: Favorite city in the world? That you’ve been to and that you would like to go to?

I: I’ve been to a lot of places. Honduras. It’s not a city, it’s a country. Really, Central America. I really like Central America. Belize and Honduras. It’s a toss-up between both of those. Really if you stretch Central America and the Caribbean, that area of the world is very interesting. But Roatan, especially. Roatan is a black area of Honduras; it is very influenced by Garifunde culture. When you think of Honduras, you think of mostly traditional idea of what you may think a Hispanic person is.But the parts of those countries that I’ve seen is mostly black and so I’ve always been interested in how our lives are very much the same even though we’re separated by geography. But there’s also cultural difference that make them so unique. A place I’ve always wanted to go to is… Well, I’ve always wanted to go everywhere in Africa but that’s kinda like an obvious answer for me so I’ll try somewhere else. I’ve always wanted to go to Bali. Either Bali or Fuji. But Bali especially is older and untouched. I have a lot of places that I’ve been thankfully. I’m just so thankful to have gone because of my parents always took us on cruises. But they would always make sure that whenever we went on a cruise, we never did the tourist stuff. We went and found people that lived in these places and showed us around. Oh, I forgot St. Nieves. St. Nieves was really cool too. St. Nieves and St. Kitts. So beautiful. So untouched. Black sand beaches. Beautiful black people everywhere. But I want to go so many places in Africa. Actually, I think it might be unfair to ask me that question. (Laughter)

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Essays

#BlackGirlMagic

It was a month around the release of the first Fleurish1994 editorial when someone tumblr instant messaged me and said we had #blackgirlmagic. Previously, it didn’t occur to me that what we did was worthy of such a title; I just thought we were creative. But when she said it, it made all the sense in the world. We were black girls creating something beautiful and doing it well. That was our brand of black girl magic and we were ultra proud to carry the flag.

Fast forward to a few days ago when my timeline blew up due to a certain Elle magazine article. In the article, the author decided that the hashtag, while beautiful, was not an accurate depiction of the black woman’s experience for a number of reasons. Many people took to Twitter, Tumblr and other media outlets to refute the article.

Before I get into this, I want to point out that the author made some good points. For instance, black girls and women are not magical in the literal sense. We don’t shit glitter, we don’t heal twice as fast as other humans and we certainly don’t grant wishes. As most of the world believes that black people  do have superhero powers, it is important to debunk this. Second, black girls are human. We are human. We bleed the same, we cry the same, we hurt the same as anybody else.

That being said, Shante and I think that she not only missed the point and miffed off the subjects, she also used many false equalities to justify her point. Moreover, she didn’t actually write this to address the problems within the hashtag. Otherwise, she would have published it somewhere other black girls could have an open discussion about it. Instead, she ran to a white publication in an action that felt eerily reminiscent of someone airing out private laundry in a public place.

First off: We, as black girls, are magical. Not because we don’t have issues or challenges or obstacles both intrinsic and extrinsic but because in spite of those problems, we still manage to triumph. Even with all the burdens of life and barriers of victory, black girls stay winning.

Second: We can be magical beings and be human. The #blackgirlmagic hashtag is a safe place of black girl self love without the perversion of white supremacy. We don’t need to talk about the Magical Negro Effect there because all black girls understand that we are not literally magical. This argument doesn’t need articulating because it is not an issue for the crowd who subscribe to the term.

Third: Sandra Bland had black girl magic. As did the other black female victims of police brutality and abuse. So do black girls with disabilities. As do all black girls. Unfortunately, no one else sees it, therefore we must first recognize it in ourselves. Black girls are the best riders for black girls so at every chance at we must celebrate and optimize our glow. This hashtag is not to say that we don’t catch shit from the rest of the world; we all recognize that we do. We choose to celebrate the happiness and humanity in us. That’s what black girl magic is about.

Four: We are happy to be black girls doing awesome things, making awesome things and sharing them with awesome people. We are happy to see other black girls doing the same. We are happy to support other black girls doing things. That, in and of itself, is sheer magic. And that is the epitome of black girl magic.

-Dream M. (AKA a magical black girl)

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