Since kindergarten, I longed for straight hair in place of my coiled tresses. And during a heated
debate in elementary school, my classmate’s final rebuttal to me was simply, ‘at least my
skin isn’t brown.’ Today, I can laugh at the absurdity of that comment (and think of a several clapbacks) but at the time, seeing so few black girls at my school and in the media caused me to view my curls, complexion and culture as plagues to overcome, rather than qualities to embrace. Thankfully, I grew comfortable in my own skin and realized that it’s okay to stand out. More importantly, I learned that I’m not alone via a sense of unity established on social media. But when CaShawn Thompson coined
#BlackGirlMagic, the hashtag inspired some and angered others. A select few, namely Linda Chavers of Elle.com, bashed the entire movement, believing it to be dehumanizing (Really, girl? Really?) Meanwhile, others felt that it wasn’t inclusive enough to all minorities. The uproar in response to #BlackGirlMagic
proves why the movement is so necessary. In addition to the bossy stigma that discourages women from stepping up and speaking out, women of colour are also burdened with the ‘angry black girl’ narrative. “Amandla Stenberg and Beyonce are prime examples.”#BlackGirlMagic revitalizes black women by celebrating
us on the same medium that tells us that our features look better on white skin and that our beauty only merits secret fetishization. Instead of calling us out on our flaws, the hashtag changes the narrative and calls on us to slay in our own way.
Written By Sumiko Wilson