Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Way We Move: Why I ♥ Being A Black Woman

A little over a month ago, the incredibly talented and gracious Lynya Floyd, an Essence magazine editor and friend, asked me to write a poetic piece about the beauty of black women, and I happily obliged. Of all the assignments I get during the course of a month, this one held a specific significance to me, not only because I'm a black woman, but because I'm the mother of two chocolate girlpies who need to be told—often and in as many different ways that I can muster—that they are special, beautiful and loved, no matter what anyone else says about it. The piece was, by far, one of the best assignments I've had in quite some time; there was no reporting, no rewriting and no waiting for experts to get back to me. Just pure, beautiful words, one behind the other—a collection of praise for all that is good about us.  
Here, a little peek at my piece, "The Way We Move," which opens the incredible "Why I  ♥ Being a Black Woman" feature in the July issue of Essence, with the lovely Jada Pinkett Smith gracing the cover: 

Can't nobody move like us. Or hold it down like us, even with babies on our hips and the world on our backs (always on our backs). We are fly and we stay fly.  
Insist too, that you do the same with that shotgun-to-the-back insistence. We got expectations, see? And when you’re not holding up your end of the bargain, we’ll cut you quick. With our eyes. With our words. Oh, please believe: No matter how sweet, we’re all capable of getting ice-cold with it— can sear you like fire, and then, on a dime, make you feel all bubblin’ brown sugar warm. Hell, we can deliver all of this in the same sentence, if so moved.
It’s a skill. We swath it in adoration, add a dollop of “for real for real” and a tip of “I know you know better,” then bake it in prayer, reserved for those we love hard and strong. We fall down on our knees for you. Even when you don’t realize it. Or deserve it. But especially when you need it. 
... We may be a little loud. A little mean.  A little strict. A little tart-tounged. A little big. A lot extra. But, church hand held high, this, this is what makes us incredible.

This. This is why I love being a writer—why I thank God everyday not only for this gift he's given me, but the ability and time and wherewithal to make it do what it do. I'm going to rip my piece out of my issue of Essence and frame it for my office.  And then I'm going to buy two more issues so I can tear out one copy each for my daughters' memory boxes, so that when they look back on this space and time, they'll remember just how incredible, intelligent, delicious, strong and fly their mother thinks they are. 
They need to know this. 
And remember it, too. 
We all do. 
Tell me, what do you love about being a black woman?

[ESSENCE gathered 9 of our favorite actresses to talk about why they love being a Black woman. Ledisi, a MyBrownBaby favorite, loved the concept so much she dedicated an exclusive song, "Real Woman," to the project. Check out the video below to hear both the song and what the stars had to say about their love for black women.]

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  1. love, love, love, love it!!!
    that is a wonderful piece you wrote and it rings so true...much love to you, and much blessings for that gift!!

  2. Can't wait to cop mine off the newsstand...this was such tease, the premise...and love being a black woman, cause we've got all the flavor, fire, determination, strength, vulnerability and desire to make it happen in a realistic and fantastic way. Like the women in the video say - Black Women Rule! And if you don't know - you besta ask somebody!

  3. I love the strength and courage that being in this skin gives me.. i love that it helps me to keep going even when i dont want to because so many with this skin have gone so far and done so much.. and look so pretty doing it, lol! i love it!

  4. I love it all! I love being a born multi-tasker who GETS people, I love being able to braid, I love the way my skin looks in the sun, the texture in my hair, the connection to people around the globe, I love being able to dance, I love being able to shut down a room with a look. I love being dramatic, funny, sexy, cool, hot, up, and down and making it look effortless. Only a Black woman can do that.

  5. You summed it up! I love being a black woman because we add flavor to everythang!

  6. Love it! Love it! Love it! Brought tears of joy to my eyes. Makes me feel so proud and special. Now where can I get one of those t-shirts???

  7. What a talent. Your words ring so true. You nailed it!!

  8. You never disappoint. I loved this piece!

  9. Love it, Love it, Love it!!!!

  10. This is beautiful. And you make me proud to be who I am.

  11. i've re-read this piece so many times already. in light of all the debates about ABW and why we're not happy, married and all other kinds of bs, i was so happy to read something that just re-affirmed who i am. thank you!

  12. Simply Beautiful! I want a t-shirt to rock now :)

  13. I saw your piece and enjoyed it--the truth, and the entire "Why I Heart Being A Black Woman" feature.

    What I love about being a Black women is that Elastigirl ability that comes with the task; that innate dexterity to bounce back from whatever setbacks life throws at us. You can't keep a good Black woman down for long!


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