‘Black Girl Magic’, a phrase, a concept, a movement – created by Cashawn Thompson, with the purpose of celebrating and empowering black women. On any social media platform it’s likely you have seen ‘#BlackGirlMagic’ at some point. Solange Knowles, Amandla Stenberg even Barack Obama have spoke of and acknowledged the brilliance of this new phrase.
The three words can be used to demonstrate solidarity and recognition of the negativity and prejudice black women face.
In Western culture black women can be stereotyped, their beauty and achievements ignored or belittled. These three words connect and unify millions of women, and as this happens these women are uplifted.
There are those that argue that Black Girl Magic continues the same narrative that many black women want to disassociate themselves with. Linda Chavers wrote in Elle magazine that ‘Black girls aren’t magic, we’re human’. She explains that the connotations remind her of the repetitive archetype of a ‘strong, independent black woman.’ Chaver’s views this narrative as counter productive rather than positive. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more.
If you’re unsure whether ‘Black Girl Magic’ is doing more damage than good, I ask you to momentarily forget about the deeper connotations about society, oppression, prejudice or inequality. Sit down and search #BlackGirlMagic on Twitter or Instagram. You will see so much pride, so much joy, and self-celebration.
You will see a tweet congratulating the new Miss USA Deshauna Barber. You will see a tweet with a link to an article about how black women have become the most educated group in the US. You will see black women coming together to praise each other. Now search the hashtag on Instagram, alongside #BlackGirlMagic you will see #MelaninPoppin and #CarefreeBlackGirl. You will see hundreds of images of young black women celebrating their beauty with images of themselves and their friends.
Being mixed race I find this movement affirming. Affirmation is so crucial when mainstream media fails to represent you, encourage you or empower you.
When you have to actively seek out media that represents you, that isn’t a dull one dimensional stereotype you become disheartened. What is worse is when you see some representation and it is the same character, the same storyline. Black Girl Magic is like turning to mainstream culture and saying we know we are magic and there are so many reasons why. Black Girl Magic isn’t just wanted by women who have those experiences but it is needed and it is beautiful and it is magic.
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