Black women are having a moment. In fact, we had several in 2010—not always positive (think Proenza Schouler’s “Act Da Fool” short and Gabourey Sidibe’s subpar ELLE cover), but almost always insightful (Sesame Street’s “I Love My Hair” video).
Whether it left us shaking our heads in disdain or nodding in agreement, we, without a doubt, had some much-needed discussion (e.g., Madame Noire’s “8 Reasons to Date a White Man” article and Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls”) and mobilized in ways that we hadn’t for years (from Philly-based designer Shavonne Deann staging a guerrilla runway show, to the “Fashion In Action!” march in protest of the lack of Black fashion directors in the magazine industry—both during fashion week).
It’s up to each and every one of us to keep the momentum going right into the next year . . . and beyond. Here at CLUTCH, we’re issuing a public declaration of our rights, demands, and just shit we will not stand for anymore.
- We will tell our own stories. There is just something to be said about Black women directing movies about Black women or Black women conducting studies about our own struggles. Perhaps it’s authenticity. Instead of complaining when we see distorted representations of our experiences, we vow to seek positions of power and/or find ways to support other Black women to do so, so that we can write our own narratives—not men, not Whites, not anyone else.
- We will not rely on the Internet (or any other form of media) to be our relationship mediator. One of the main reasons that the viral videos and special news reports on the state of Black relationships hit such a nerve is not because they perpetuated stereotypes we already knew existed, but because we weren’t already having these conversations openly, honestly and constructively with one another (i.e., men with women).
- We will feel safe in our neighborhoods. When did it become acceptable for us to be afraid to walk home after dark? When did we become naturalized to the random acts of violence committed against us each day? It is not okay. And we will no longer let another catcall or invasion of our personal space go unaddressed—whether it’s speaking up to the perpetrator or alerting the nearby authorities.
- We will remember that we are human. Contrary to popular belief, we are not the mules of the world. We are not superhuman. We will allow our selves to hurt, so long as we allow ourselves to heal.
- We will whip our hair. No matter if it’s long, short, permed, natural, or weaved, we will nurture what’s underneath. We will not pit women against each other because of our hair preferences. Hair is like religion. We each have our own rituals. We vow to respect each other’s rituals.
- We will open our minds and hearts to love. We will embrace the possibility of finding a mate who is outside of our race, income bracket or height range. We will remember that these attributes are not measures of one’s character or compatibility.
- We will love ourselves and each other. We pledge to speak positivity into our lives and the lives of others. We will mentor other Black women and uplift them. We promise to acknowledge other women with a smile or a simple “hello” . . . and mean it. Sisterhood is essential for our survival.