Rue is Black!

Rue is Black!!

This was the email I got from the baby’s godmother. If you don’t have a teen in your life you may not know about  Rue and the Hunger Games, but trust, they’re big.

Hunger games is a young adult dystopian novel that’s like a fight to the death reality show with children. Rue is a pivotal character both in terms of the survival of Katniss, the main character, and the shaping of the revolution. She is described in the book as being brown. Of course, the descriptions of characters in the book did not stop casting directors from bringing in their own biases.

Suzanne Collins, the book’s author, wasn’t very specific about Katniss’ ethnicity. She has dark hair, gray eyes and olive skin. I read her as being kind of multi-racial, a little Asian and white and Black maybe?  Collins has said race wasn’t a sticking point for her, but the casting call was for white women. Really? Really, casting people? That said, I was nervous about Rue. I did not want them to cast a cute little white girl.

Don’t get me wrong, little white girls are fine, but little black girls are also cute and they also like acting jobs. There are not enough representations of African-Americans on-screen period, let alone of children. It’s important for all children, but especially those who do not often see faces that look like theirs on the big screen. How long did it take Disney to create a Black princess? I’m tired of  the images that too often dominate the media and reflect the white is good/Black is bad dichotomy.

So this is terrific news. Rue would be a great character for any young person to play. Rue saves Katniss and is a catalyst for the overall revolution for the story.

Seeing positive representations on-screen in more important now for kids and teens than ever. With Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa’s piece: “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”  it’s as though it’s okay to make racism scientific. “I’m not racist, it’s just science that I don’t date Black women.” There are so many ways in which Black children, especially Black girls are told that they aren’t as good as or as pretty as other children. Why else would we feel the need to perm a seven year old’s hair? Or add extensions to a one year old? When I was little, I wanted long, flowing down my back hair like barbie. (Even the Black barbie has long, flowing down her back hair!) This little girl has braids! Maybe this will go a little further is helping everyone, including little Black girls, see that brown chicks have it going on.

Rue is a smart, capable, determined little hero. This is someone kids could emulate. Given that the book and movie are for teens, I am even more excited that Rue is played by a Black actress. Not for nothing, but adults are pretty set in their ways. Teens, while not post-racial, (I love the term post-racial. It’s like hope and naïveté all in one) are more open and malleable. It’s when movies are cast with people of color that those who feel that white is just “normal” and the default have their views challenged.

While I do not think seeing one movie with one Black character will bring us all together in a kum-bah-yah moment, I do think people in general need to see a variety of hues in the media as heroes. The more you see people of color as the good guys, the less you’ll clutch your purse when you see a Black guy in the elevator. Every little bit helps. Until then, congratulations to Amandla Sternberg on her new role!

Hair Weaves For Little Girls

I don’t know if it rises to the level of an epidemic, but lately I’ve seen a number of little girls – as in, girls under the age of 12 – wearing hair weaves, wigs and lacefronts.

As black women, our hair issues begin at birth. We black mothers study our girls’ hair texture, waiting to see if those fine baby curls are going to “nap up.” Some of us start putting that baby hair into plaits, cornrows and ponytails as soon as our baby girls are able to sit up. If there’s not enough hair to comb, we brush it as best we can and put a headband on our girls’ heads, so everyone will know the baby is a girl and not a boy (strangers still get it confused, though).

I didn’t really know how to take care of a girl’s hair when my daughter was born. My mother did my hair until I graduated from high school. Although I didn’t relax my hair until law school, I wore it pressed from age 12. I had decided my girl’s hair would stay natural, but I had no idea how to style natural hair.

I was lucky to find a wonderful babysitter, a Mexican woman who taught herself how to care for my daughter’s hair. She styled my daughter’s hair in elaborate beaded cornrows and two-strand twists. Even after my daughter started school and we no longer needed her babysitting services, our former nanny still styled my daughter’s hair.

It never occurred to me to consider letting my daughter wear her hair out, loose, free. I was brought up that only white girls and girls with a certain hair texture – what we used to call “good hair” – could wear their hair out all the time. I shunned the term “good hair” but was still trapped in its mindset. I believed not combing my daughter’s hair would result in it getting tangled, matted, and eventually falling out.

I said complimentary things to my girl about her hair. I told her how wonderfully thick and curly her hair was and how much she should admire it. I bought all the right books and said all the right things to combat my girl’s jealous feelings towards classmates whose blonde and brunette locks swung down their backs. But my actions spoke to a different belief – that her hair wasn’t the right texture.

My daughter and I began having hair battles. I kept her hair washed, conditioned, combed and braided, but I could no longer fit trips to the nanny into our schedule, and I didn’t know enough cute natural hairstyles.

I gave up and took her to the African braiding shop. I thought I’d found the answer to all my prayers. Their cornrows were so perfect! Even without extension hair braided in, the style would last at least two weeks. With extension hair braided in, they would last even longer.

And so we continued down that steep, slippery slope of “your hair isn’t good enough.”

Continue reading “Hair Weaves For Little Girls”

Mothering Without Shame

Photo credit: thinkloud65

Written by CocoaMamas contributor Rachel B.

“I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did.”

There is not a black mother on Earth who has not said those words to her daughter.  They are said in anger, resignation, frustration and guilt.  We, like any and all mothers, want the very best for our daughters.  We want them to explore every possibility and to experience things that were beyond our reach.  We also want them to avoid the pitfalls, the traps and the trick doors that we befell us.  Instead of imparting to our daughters wisdom, we often give to them our shame and regrets.  We tell them if only we had listened to so-and-so, not gone to that place, stayed there, or hung out with those people, our lives would be radically different.  We are so quick and so sure that the blame lies entirely with us despite many of us being aware of our unique position at the intersections of gender, race and class.  If we had turned left instead of right or had looked up instead of down, life as we know would not be so hard.

We say these words to our daughters knowing that both black and white spaces endanger a black girls’ journey to self-fulfillment.  We know we are judged by a different set of rules.  Our actions, whether positive or negative, acquire a supernatural ability to exalt or demote the entire black race.  We are also keenly aware of the pervasive double standard that still in full effect in our own communities regarding the actions of black men/boys and black women/girls.  Black respectability politics have placed black women as the gate keepers of our culture although many of us resent it.  While teaching our daughters how to navigate a world that has a morbid fascination with our degradation, we seem to follow one of two paths; hanging our heads in shame or distancing ourselves from our pasts.

“I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did.”

What are those mistakes?  More often than not, they are sexual in nature.  We feel that we gave it up too soon, too easily, to the wrong person at the wrong time.  We tell our daughters’ we were hard headed, naïve, foolish, stupid and spiteful.  We found ourselves in a position where our private vulnerabilities became public shame.  We are so quick to assume and claim responsibility; we ignore the other very real circumstances that lead to make those choices in the first place.  It is painful to even remember that we had to have sex for survival, that those were in positions of power and authority took advantage of our lesser position.  If we had just listened, we never would have been in that car, in that room, at that party, with that boy, with those men.  If we had just listened, everything would have been ok.

If we are not using our shame to deter our daughters, then we are holding up as an admonition to our daughters those who seem to shamelessly embody the loose morals and decay of our culture.  The baby mamas, poor women, junkies, and the sex workers are plentiful and disposable warnings to keep our girls on the straight and narrow.  We point to them to illustrate what will happen if they don’t heed our warnings.  We may have pity, arrogance, condensation, disgust in our voice but the end result is that for our daughters these women and girls cease to be complex and complicated people and become caricatures.  Their “mess” highlights our accomplishments, refinements, education and position.

It is tempting to believe that if you just follow the rules, somehow you will be protected or at the very least buffered from the sexualized racism that is so omnipresent now.  We see the billboards stating that we are a danger to our children, read the “studies” that declare with  authority that we are not desirable, hear at any given time “hoe” and “bitch” out of thumping cars, while walking down the street, or as a “joke”.  We feel the pain, hurt, confusion, and helplessness though we do our best to be as dignified as possible.  We have to be dignified because we know that we are always being watched.  We look into our daughters’ eyes and see sweetness, innocence, intelligence and curiosity.  We watch them as they run and laugh impervious at the moment to the harsh realities of the world.  We as mothers want nothing more than to let our daughters have those moments but we also know the world will not allow such frivolity.  We don’t mean come off as harsh.  We don’t mean to be so judgmental or to suck our teeth at the girls who we determine to be “ghetto”.  We really don’t mean to hiss that “she” is a “fast ass” and predict she’ll end up in “trouble”.  When communications between ourselves and our daughters is at its worst, we yell out in frustration “You want to end up like her?!”

The reality is that no matter what we do or don’t do, black women and girls will continue to be under attack.  Although Mrs. Obama is accomplished in her own right, she continues to be exposed to some of the most vicious racist and sexist attacks.  A maid who was recently sexually assaulted in New York by one of the most powerful men in the world, bravely reported the attack, and underwent an invasive exam afterward has had her honesty questioned, her identity and that of her daughter exposed in French media and her role as the victim questioned.  Even where she resides has been tarnished as an AIDS building.  Even in death, black women and girls have to prove our worth to have justice served.

Our daughters will be the next generation that will be under attack.  They will be the ones who march, speak, protest, write, dance, paint, sing, and pray in creative protest.  They will have at their disposal their own talents that will enable future generations of black women to reclaim their narrative.  What will not help is shame or separation from their sisters.  When we insist that the fault was all ours, they internalize our shame.  When we use those who are the most vulnerable to as a deterrent, we make those girls the other.  What our daughters need is for us to be tender with ourselves.  When we look at our past with soft eyes, we do the same to others.  Our daughters will see that and not accept debts that they did not incur.  When our daughters are witnesses to our healing, they in turn will learn to do the same for themselves and others.

Kids and Money

A few years ago, while visiting the home of a friend, I noticed a book on her kitchen counter about raising kids without a sense of entitlement.

It made sense to me that this friend would have such a book. She and her husband, both professionals, are doing well financially. I didn’t think to copy down the name of the book, because I didn’t think I’d ever find myself in their situation. I was still suffering the financial constraints of the newly divorced. “My kids know we operate on a budget,” I said to myself – and by budget, I meant we generally were living paycheck to paycheck. It never dawned on me that my kids would see our situation as anything other than a struggle.

Fast forward five years. My oldest child, my 14-year-old daughter, is now a teen. Like many teens, her tastes exceed my budget. She wants to wear designer jeans. Shopping is a hobby or a fun pastime. She also loves good food (no Mickey Ds for this kid), concerts and Broadway shows.

Nothing wrong with any of that. I raised her to have good taste. Still, there are practical limits to how much of this I can fund. Continue reading “Kids and Money”

Hey Michigan: These Are Children

Are you: Homeless? An ex-con? Pregnant? A single mother? BLACK? POOR? In foster care? Well, then watch out – you are a prime target for being denigrated, disrespected, and dehumanized in Michigan.

Not only are homeless women being arrested and charged with larceny for enrolling their children in the wrong school district in Connecticut, but several states away in Michigan, single, pregnant, and Black teen moms have been arrested in Detroit for staging a sit-in in their school to protest the fact that it will be shut down at the end of the school year.

Sarah Ferguson Academy is one of the only schools in the country that educates pregnant teens and teen moms. This schools raises its own money through its agriculture program – a farm, in the middle of Detroit. 90% of its students go to college – any college, somewhere, anywhere, and get money to go there. This school makes sure that these children – because they are still children – are getting an education, learning how to be parents, making a better life for themselves and their kids.

But now that Michigan state has taken over Detroit – yes, they’ve taken over the entire city – a “dictator” has decided to close a bunch of schools, including this one, unless a charter organization agrees to take it on. And the charter can do with it whatever it wants, which means either way, this school will probably close. But these girls value their education SO MUCH that over Spring Break they organized a sit-in, and occupied their school to protest the dictator’s decision.

And what does the state do? Arrest them. (Please watch the video here. Watch the police officers manhandle pregnant teens and turn on their sirens to drown out their shouts.)

***

It’s not only in the schools. A state senator, in order to save money, recently introduced a proposal to restrict foster children in their apparel choices. For their clothing allowances, which nationally are only about $200 a YEAR, Sen. Bruce Casswell would propose that this money could only be spent in thrift stores.

Yes, you read that correctly. Foster children would only be allowed to purchase used clothing. Apparently since this Senator never had anything new as a child, neither should children who are not living with their biological parents and are in a limbo state of extremely stressful uncertainty.

[pause]

Update: After the story went viral, the good Senator amended the proposal to say that the children could buy new clothes, but wanted to make sure the gift cards they received would only be used for clothing and shoes. Because of course, foster kids can’t be trusted to only by clothes. They might spend it on candy and soda.

I’m sorry, but Michigan is coming off like a state that hates children. Poor and/or black children to be specific. And it pisses me off. What about you?

What you can do:

Donate to cover the girls’ legal fees

Contact the good senator

peep this: in case you thought we were post-racial

There really isn’t much to say, as the video speaks for itself. Colorism in the black community is as much a symptom of racism as is white privilege; both stem from a belief that the whiter, the better. While we can applaud that more black faces are being heralded as beautiful, the truth is that lighter skinned black women with longer, less nappy hair is considered to be more beautiful than darker-skinned black women with shorter and nappier hair.

If you don’t believe me, watch the video again.

The question becomes: what do we do about it? Do light-skinned black folks have some affirmative duty, like we call on white folks, to call attention to their privilege in order to denounce it? I don’t know if I “qualify” as light-skinned (that sounds so ridiculous); at various points in my life people have said yes, and others have said no. But I’ve experienced some of what these kids are talking about in the video. I remember a boy saying that he liked my knees because they weren’t dark!

Whatever my classification, I’m pretty sure, according to my sources, that my children are considered light-skinned. And they have less nappy hair (although you wouldn’t know if the way they carry on.) And I already see the privilege that is conferred on them because of it. I’ve heard the comments about their “good grade of hair” and how “beautiful” they are; I don’t remember anyone saying I was beautiful as a child. And while I can’t really stop what other people say, I’m trying hard to make sure they don’t internalize the messages; I try to have every shade of black represented in their books and toys, and talk about how gorgeous all the colors of black are. Both of their grandfathers are darker-skinned, but it doesn’t help that we aren’t particularly close to those sides of the family.

Yet on the other hand, I want to be able to tell my daughter that she’s beautiful. I want to be able to do her hair in her ponytails and say, Little A, your hair is so pretty. I hope that she understands that I am making an individual judgment about her, and that my hair being loc’d reinforces that black hair in its many configurations can be beautiful. But I also don’t want her to grow up with a complex about the whole light-skinned thing either, just like I’m sure white folks don’t want their kids to grow up with a complex about being white.

Ya feel me?

Do Black Mothers Raise Daughters, Love Sons?

I’ve seen and heard the saying, “black mothers raise their daughters and love their sons” repeated enough to know that some people actually feel this way. Sonja Norwood, mother of Brandy and Ray-J, even weighed in on the question for Essence last year.

My 14-year-old daughter has accused me, on many occasions (usually when being denied something she wants), of liking her little brother better, or loving him more. I would be lying if I said I never treated them differently. I never thought that saying applied to me, though, because I think that I treat each of my children in accordance with their particular needs. 

But a recent conversation with a woman I know gave me pause. My friend admitted that she does more for her son than her daughter “because he needs more from me.” She asserted that her girl is more self-sufficient, more reliable than her son, even though he is older, and that her son “needs her more.”

That may be true. But is it fair?

Maybe girls are just more responsible than boys, period. My daughter is more responsible than my son, but I assumed it was mostly due to their age difference. My daughter is almost 5 years older than my son. She’ll be a freshman in high school in the fall, and he’ll just be entering 5th grade.

Truthfully, my daughter was more responsible at 10 than my son is now. For instance, at 10, my daughter started riding the public bus to school by herself. She had paid close attention to how we got from point A to point B on the buses and subways. She didn’t need instructions on how to get to school. She needed instruction on how to avoid trouble on the bus. I told her, “Sit near an older black lady, in the front. She’ll make sure nobody messes with you.”

My son, however, freaked out the one time I thought I would have to put him on the public bus to go to school. His school bus didn’t show up, and I couldn’t take him to school because I had an early morning meeting. It’s a straight shot from our house to his school on the nearest MTA bus, just as it was for my daughter. I told him all of this.

He cried.

“I’m not ready!” he shrieked. I sent him to school in a taxi instead.

Because my daughter is more responsible than her brother, I expect her to be responsible all the time. When she’s irresponsible, I get angry because “she should know better!” When my son is irresponsible, I chalk it up to his immaturity. When my daughter is petulant, whiny, tantrum-prone and defiant, I can’t stand it. When my son acts that way – well, he’s still a little boy. My daughter feels and deeply resents the difference.

My daughter says I “baby” my son and that I “forced” her to do more at his age than I force her to do. I deny it. But maybe it’s true. I admit I sometimes forget she’s still a kid. Or that I, too, can be petulant, whiny, pouty and tantrum-prone. Maybe my standards for her are a little higher than they are for him. That’s a balance I need to evaluate and correct if necesary.

I don’t think I “raise” my daughter and “love” my son. I do make distinctions between them based on their age, what I perceive to be their respective level of maturity, and their personalities. I think it would be unfair if I did anything else.

I check myself to make sure I give them equal time and affection. And as my son approaches his 10th birthday, I am giving him more responsibilities, such as household chores. He is fast approaching his teens, and I know it’s time to stop treating him like the baby of the family.

Still, I suspect there always will be an imbalance of some sort. Imbalance doesn’t have to mean unequal or unfair. The burden is on me to make sure that even if I’m not treating them the same, that I am nonetheless being fair.

“for colored girls”? Nope.

I really had/have no intentions of critiquing “for colored girls” by hurling the usual at Tyler Perry. How he hates black women, has mother issues, is a closeted homosexual, etc. Other folks can and have done so. I also really don’t intend to write a review of the movie, which I saw this afternoon. What I do want to do is reflect.

When I first read “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” I was 16 years old. I wasn’t a lady in blue or red or green or purple or orange but a precocious black girl who

usedta live in the world / now i live in harlem & my universe is six blocks / a tunnel with a train / i can ride anywhere / remaining a stranger

except my harlem was philadelphia and my train was the broad street subway. I’d never left my city, except for a girl scout trip to Savannah, and my knowledge of the world outside were through books like “for colored girls.”

When I read “for colored girls” the first time I cried. At 16, I’d established myself as a singer with a voice. I’d performed in assemblies, choirs, solos. But when, at 16, I had my first major depressive episode, “for colored girls” voiced my

black girl’s song / bring her out / to know herself / to know you / but sing her rhythms/ carin/ struggle/ hard times / sing her song of life / she’s been dead so long / closed in silence so long / she doesn’t know the sound / of her own voice / her infinite beauty

In high school, I was passionate about women’s sexual health issues. I chaired our peer health group, which provided peer counseling and peer sexual education. I remember meeting at a Planned Parenthood downtown for a workshop on sexual violence; all of us teenage girls learning about sexual violence and sharing our stories of sexual violence. At the time, we all learned that

a friend is hard to press charges against / if you know him / you must have wanted it / a misunderstanding / you know / these things happen / are you sure / you didnt suggest / had you been drinkin / a rapist is always to be a stranger / to be legitimate / someone you never saw / a man wit obvious problems

yet that date rape is real and we must protect ourselves and almost all of us in that room in the mid-1990s had been a victim of some form of sexual coercion by someone we knew. I remember that session vividly, for the tears and support, the hugs and the empowerment.

I even remember thinking I was one of a few virgins left in my group of friends, and feeling this pressure to not be a virgin anymore. Sexual tension is so high in high school, it threatens to overwhelm. And it’s not just social pressure – I had a boyfriend for which my body exerted physical pressure. So the summer after high school graduation I was

doin nasty ol tricks i’d been thinkin since may / cuz graduation nite had to be hot /& i waz the only virgin/ so i hadda make like my hips waz inta some business / that way everybody thot whoever was gettin it/ was a older man cdnt run the streets wit youngsters /martin slipped his leg round my thigh / the dells bumped “stay” / up & down—up & down the new carver homes/ WE WAZ GROWN WE WAZ FINALLY GROWN

At 16 I learned about abortions when a friend called in the early morning hours about how she couldn’t go through with the procedure because of the

tubes tables white washed windows / grime from age wiped over once / legs spread / anxious / eyes crawling up on me / eyes rollin in my thighs /metal horses gnawin my womb /…./get them steel rods outta me/this hurts/this hurts me

and while I sat in Planned Parenthood waiting rooms trying to get birth control so the same didn’t happen to me.

While I can’t go through what all the poems taught me and left a lasting imprint on my life, what I can say is this: Ntozake Shange’s original poem was truly “for colored colored girls.” The ladies in their various colors were meant to symbolize the many colors of the diaspora; the namelessness of the characters (with notable exceptions) to symbolize the universality of the experience. The title suggests that the concepts are aimed at colored girls – aimed at telling colored girls stories, from their point to view. For colored girls can be described as a healing safe space to share their pain, without any shame, without any further infliction of pain. For colored girls was for us, by us, in a language that only our souls could understand.

Yet this movie destroys this concept of being a safe, healing space for colored girls to share their pain without having to consider other people’s pain, to be a mother, sister, friend, without having to take care of others without having to consider others without having to take responsibility without having to be the superwomen that others think is a compliment but that is really killing us with the weight of the burden.

Without “giving away” the movie, in typical Tyler Perry style, he wants colored girls to “take responsibility” for their condition, understand the men in their lives and why they do the things they do, to explain some of the complexity of black relationships. And that’s al well and good. But that’s not what “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow was enuf” was about. Because understanding the complexity of colored girls and their pain is enuf. Its enuf to say that I’m in pain because

i stood by beau in the window/ with naomi reachin
for me/ & kwame screamin mommy mommy from the fifth
story/ but i cd only whisper/ & he dropped em

without having to also “consider” beau’s pain and why as an abused partner and mother she didn’t leave him before. Its enuf to be in pain because I was date raped in my home without also visually suggesting that my clothing was actually suggestive. Its enuf to be in pain because my husband sleeps with men without having to also understand the “plight” of black men on the DL.

Why can’t I have a movie where being and feeling and living as a colored girl in this society is enuf, where I don’t have to consider everyone else’s feelings and being and lifestyle when nobody else is considering my feelings and being and lifestyle?

are we ghouls? / children of horror? /the joke?
don’t tell nobody don’t tell a soul / are we animals? have we gone crazy?

It’s a good thing that

i found god in myself / & i loved her/ i loved her fiercely

before I saw this movie. Because I feel sad for the multitudes of colored girls who will think this is what “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf” is about. For unfortunately, this movie is not “for colored girls.” Its just another way for TP to tell us how fucked up our lives are and how we need to take responsibility for it.

But I’m here to tell you that being a colored girl is enuf.  You don’t need to always consider others. Other people are sometimes screwing with you, and its NOT YOUR FAULT. If you’ve been date raped, ITS NOT YOUR FAULT. If your partner is beating you ITS NOT YOUR FAULT. If your partner is cheating on you, ITS NOT YOUR FAULT.

& this is for colored girls who have considered / suicide/ but are movin to the ends of their own / rainbows

All quotes from Ntozake Shange, (1977). “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf”

Black Girl Pain…

Sometimes I’m at a loss for words when I contemplate the world our children face.

Sometimes I’m at a loss for words when I consider the realities of raising Black children in a world where their image and likeness once idolized and adored has become the source of scorn and sorrow.

Being a Black adult is a trip – few of the subtleties of racism and the backhanded compliments  are rarely lost to us…I’ve become immune to the “you’d be pretty with straight hair…”  and the implications of   “you got light eyes…”. I feel sick and in those moments wish I could swallow a melanin pill and turn myself Blacker than midnight with wilder and woolier hair –  maybe even like Medusa with snakes releasing venom into the heart of those who don’t know the Beauty of my people in all of our glorious shades….

But being a Black kid?

Having to constantly PROVE that you “want” to learn, that you “aren’t like” the prevailing stereotypes…

Being a little brown girl and seeing that the other brown girls who are SUPPOSED to represent you look NOTHING like you.

Oh where or where have all the brown girls gone oh where. oh where could they be?

I think I first realized it when I saw the “Living Single” billboards. I KNOW that the sistahs (Joan and em) represented the diversity of Black: from mocha latte to lovely chocolate…. yet I remember slamming my breaks, and going back around the corner when I looked up and saw the advertisement. Staring down at me was a group of women, all  the same muted, palest shade of beige… As yellow as I’ve been called, I was offended.

And it has continued…the women and girls becoming lighter and lighter and lighter…leaving me to wonder : oh where or where have all the Black girls gone, oh where oh where can they be…

There are a few these days I’ll see, but certainly not enough to inspire our young daughters and sisters and nieces to look in the mirror and REVEL.

Not enough for our sons to proclaim Black is beautiful: from red bone to midnight…Black is BEAUTIFUL.

SO we must. By embracing ourselves and Each Other.