Black Girl Magic

“Black Girl Magic” developed by CaShawn Thompson in 2013,

As she told The Los Angeles Times in 2015 about her use of “Black Girls Are Magic” since 2013, “I say ‘magic’ because it’s something that people don’t always understand,” she said. “Sometimes our accomplishments might seem to come out of thin air, because a lot of times, the only people supporting us are other black women.”  Black Girl Magic is the personification of Chaka Khan’s song “I’m Every Woman“. The song goes on to say, “it’s all in me.” CaShawn’s quest was to call attention to the dynamic and resilient beauty, grace, strength, innovation, and intelligence of African American women. From Black Lives Matter to the Me Too movement Black Girl Magic is on the rise.  

Michelle Obama recently expressed her feelings about experiencing low-grade depression. This admonition sparked differing reactions across the board. Of course, critics of Obama, like Bill O’Reilly and senior Trump legal advisor Jenna Ellis, reacted to her statements respectively by laughing at her on national TV and tweeting that the former first lady should simply go to church if she feels blue.

Article From Free Times, entitled Further Consideration: No wonder Michelle Obama is depressed. Why aren’t we all? 

By Cindi Boiter Aug 12, 2020 

Therein lies the conundrum of being the strong black “Super Woman” v. the realities frailties of being black, beautiful, and feminine against the backdrop of life while under more melanin. The unfair attacks on Michelle Obama sound like persistent attacks waged against many black women. Time and time again, these bedrocks of African American families have been forced to fight a multi-front war against racism, misogyny, and sexualization. The war persists in the face of keeping the family and themselves encouraged. 

Stereotypes such as She’s tough, sassy, or has too much attitude persist and leads to disrespecting generalizations. The sexualization of African American women roots extend back to the plantation, and is well documented. Today’s rationalization of disrespect manifests thoughts such as,” she can take it,” or “she’s mean, so let her have it,” and “she deserves it.” The angry black woman stereotype has persisted long after the literal shackles have fallen off, as in the portrayal of many black women from the Amos and Andy show, Love and Hip Hop, Potomac, and Atlanta Housewives. More so-called angry black women include Serena Williams, Jemele Hill, and Shonda Rhimes, among others. These kinds of assumptions would be unacceptable if the women were white. 

which examined perceptions of black women in media, found that 72 percent of the black women perceived depictions of themselves in the media negatively compared to 46 percent of white women.” The survey was coordinated by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and professors at the University of Missouri.

We could dismiss Pam Grier’s Foxybrown character being abused by her white captors in a 1970’s black liberation film could if it were not sadly accurate in history. The sexual abuse and rape that black slave women suffered at the hands of cruel slave masters were loathsome. The violation of these women was encouraged through a system of warped masculinity dedicated to breaking down their stock. 

These acts of cruelty still resonate today, from Sandra Bland to the African American woman beaten on the freeway by a California Highway Patrol officer. If not literally, these acts occur communicatively. All the while, the soft and sensitive celebration of femininity remains for white women only. It is well understood that white women are victims of misogyny. However, there is a different reality they face by comparison. 

Harriet Tubman suffered a nearly fatal blow to the head that affected her for the rest of her life. Yet she found a way to overcome and lead many slaves to freedom. She also became the only woman to lead a military operation. In the same way, we can celebrate the first African American Millionaire Madam C. J. Walker, Vashti Mckenzie, The first woman to be elected as bishop in the African Methodist Episcable Church in the denomination’s history. Condoleezza Rice was the first African American woman Secretary of State in U.S. history. Other political figures include Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, and now Kamala Harris as the first Black woman to be nominated as the vice-presidential candidate of a major political party. Black Girl Magic displays power in these and so many more. 

From the single mother raising her children by herself with strength and grace, yet prevails in victory every day. In 2020 Black Girl Magic will have much to say of who is in charge from the kitchen table, the boardroom, the newsroom, to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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