I came across an article recently that described the various reasons why a lot of sistas do not like Solange. The main focus of the article was the fact that Solange is the epitome of the anti-Black girl. In other words she is the essence of what a lot of Black females are not. She does not try to fit in and wear the same fashion, she walks around with colorful feathers and platform shoes, shaves her head damn near bald when hair is an important key to beauty in the African American community. I am an African American women who has also been ostracized during different periods in my lifetime for my being different so I am aware that uniqueness is something that is not always embraced by other African American women. Why is that? Why do we as Black women attack each other for not fitting into the boxes with limits that we often times create for ourselves? It is as if a sista being different from you is cause for anger. “She is always TRYING to be weird. She makes me sick!”. How does someone try to be weird? Why is it not possible that she is being herself, and that self is something different from what you are accustomed to from a peer? Especially when, in all actuality, her life would be much easier if she assimilated in with her peers. She would more than likely be accepted and free from judgment or ridicule.
Why do we as Black women attack each other for not fitting into the boxes with limits that we often times create for ourselves?
There are a few reasons why a unique sister could be considered villainous. One being is what I previously mentioned earlier. Other sistas feel that she is being “weird” on purpose in order to draw attention to herself. Women hate to see other women purposely acting out to garner more attention their way. Since some women compete over attention. This seems to be natural to them and is a concept that is not new and is one that will go on until the end of time. Another reason is that people in general hate things that they cannot figure out. People like to place things and people into categories. By itemizing things/people it helps us to understand them. If something or someone does not fit into the box you prepare for them or what you perceive to be “normal” then that causes confusion for us. Think about how the first Europeans viewed the Africans when they first encountered them. They were confused by their differences in features, complexion, and language. They were something they had never experienced before. Immediately they saw them as a threat. Why is this person acting this way? I cannot figure them out. Now I’m mad and annoyed with them. Lastly, when a sista is being different from the majority then somehow it is assumed that she thinks she is better or more “special” than others. She obviously must think that she is special in some way if she insists on dressing differently from us, acting differently, wearing her hair differently from the majority.
I personally have spent years of my younger life, crying, trying to completely fit in. Feeling lonely and misunderstood by the same people that I yearned for acceptance from. My fellow sistas. Wondering what I was doing that made me be ostracized by my peers/family members. Why was I being called a weirdo by my own cousins? For years I have tried to alter my clothes, feelings, and artistic behavior in the hopes of fitting in with the majority to no avail. I grew up in an urban environment and being unique and artistic was not cool. Whatever complexities I had within my personality needed to be concealed. Even when I tried to alter my behavior I never completely fit in. When I finally did start to feel as though I belonged, something inside me never allowed me to be settled. I could be myself, but only to an extent. I had to hold back many of my likes and or dislikes to assure that I kept my place within my peers. I had to assimilate. I could not say certain things because for sure they would laugh at some of my thoughts. Would they get my off kilter sense of humor? My sarcasm? My artistic behavior? Would they “get” me? When I did allow parts of my true self to squeeze out, it immediately was criticized and picked apart and never fully understood, which made me shut down even more. God forbid I expressed that I liked something that wasn’t the norm for a inner city Black female. Suddenly, I was acting “white” or being “crazy”. I spent the majority of my highschool years and early 20’s, fitting in to an extent but never completely being myself. Sadly, my female peers were my primary jurors. To this day It seems as if sista’s more so than brothas have a problem with other sistas expressing themselves uniquely. Women are harder on other women and quicker to judge and pick apart each other.
This brings me to my adult life, where I try my damnedest to be myself in every capacity. To not give a damn about the opinions of others. To do what makes me happy as long as I am not hurting those around me. Even if it sometimes ostracizes me from my present peers. Those sistas who get me, I appreciate them and in return try to understand them as well. Those sistas who do not get me and rather refer to me as weird or being too different or artistic for their tastes, I accept them as well. I also keep it moving with a smile on my face. I say all this to bring my point back to Solange. I wonder did she too try to assimilate with her peers and ultimately give up? I could only imagine that being the younger sister of a icon did not help her case. Solange and sistas like her have learned for themselves to be happy with oneself. Even if no one else is. The next time you come across a sista with Solange-esque qualities and you feel that she is too different for words, reserve your judgment and hostility. Different does not always equal bad.
For more of La’Juanda “LJ” Knight check her out @ yeahshesaidit.com.