#BlackWomensLivesMatter – Black Women Need Social Media // An Open Letter.

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Erykah Badu

Black women are placed in an exhibition of glass ceilings. From the way we appear to our characteristics, we are not given much leeway for either. Black women are stereotyped from our core out, boxing us into a narrow embodiment. Black women are either too ‘ghetto’ or too ‘white,’ making the possibility of the intersectional aspect within us as human beings, and women, inconceivable. We are made comparable to any other race but exhibited on a lower scale. We have full lips but our lips are a set back in comparison to the advantage of Kylie Jenner’s pseudo full lips. Those black women without full lips are ostracized from other black women by other races, seen as not being really black because they exhibit a trait not wholly associated with black women. When encountered with a black woman who does not fit within the stereotypes consciously outlined by society, that black woman is praised and lured after because the traits illustrated of us by society, are negative. A black woman who is not loud and riddled with ‘attitude’ is attractive because she deviates from the stereotype. We are cased into not being allowed to have a variation. Our variations when exhibited are made to be defined as good and bad but I have yet to find a problem with a black woman who refuses to be mishandled and speaks up loud. Attitude, fake hair, etc., are not bad and we need to stop caring as to who thinks so. You see, when we are successful, our success is highlighted as a rare occurrence. Congratulations shaped with sermons of how black women can be successful but no, black women are successful. Our success is nothing new so please stop framing it as such. In the workplace we are made to straighten our hair and labor into assimilation so as to maintain an environment with half the respect our counterparts receive. Online, this all shifts. Online, we decide the media we follow and the people we follow. Online we are told that not all black women *blank* but then we see countless black women saying no, some black women do *blank.* We are given this aspect of control, power, and unity, that unfortunately is/can be, derived from our daily lives.

Black women come in all shapes, all sizes, all hair types, all hair styles, all attitudes, all characteristics, all genders, and etc. We are not your stereotype. Online, we are given the power, knowledge, and infallible control, to prove that. Black women are able to unite to debunk the hierarchal gaze that views us as one strict image. Through causes like #BlackOutDay , black women are given the chance to post pictures and captions of themselves, showing us that we indeed come in all the colours of the rainbow, and more. On TV we are shown one normative, the heteronormative, of the black woman, but online we are given so much more. We are shown that there is no ideal for the black woman but to be herself.

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Despite what your reality television shows may tell you, Bad Girls Club and the like, black women were not made to fight with nor be pinned against one another (or other women). With the recent music video release of Feelin Myself (hell yes for this link being up), by Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé, many took to share their love for the video whereas some took to comparing the appearance of both artists. Black women do not want to be compared to other black women because we are Queens equally. Through the continuous engagement in discussions with my other black women online, we have all equally reached this conclusion. Social media has allowed us to debunk and rebuke all that society has told us of who we are and how we should handle ourselves. To my Queens out there, get on social media and follow your fellow Queens. Surround yourself with images of yourself and join me in this life of self love and mutual uplifting. Out there we are under attack but as we put out our own fires (speaking to those still fighting internally), we gain immunity to those fires outwards.

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