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.
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  • RoMo

    “We will tell our stories” holds such power in this manifesto.

    It is my hope that truth be brought to that power as we continue to have “moments”. True enough to our standards of behavior that we will not only call out those dominant drivers of the images that are projected of our womanhood but those too that are self projected when they diminish and denegrate. For example:

    Basketball Wives….Really??
    The cringe inducing season openner left this sister sad. Sad to see that this is the best that we can do with an opportunity to project our image as people of considerable financial resources, social standing and global, yes I said global, exposure.

    Sad to see women of color particularly and women in general dripping in the visuals of ” the good life”; designer dress, new and improved chest, flat belly bare and lots of somebody else’s hair, punctuating and perverting many a young sister’s aspirational ideal…being the wife of a star athlete…with heaps of profanity and hair pulling catfights.

    Sadder still to see that this season’s slap and cuss fest is to be played out in the presence of the teenaged daughters of the newest ex-wife.


  • Inspired

    I really love this article. For those who are complaining about “loving & embracing” outside of “our race” -remember what DR. KING wanted to judged the content of our character and the color of our skin!!!! So if I find a man who is white/latino/asian/middle eastern (etc) then I am LIVING his dream. Who said that “we” have to STAY within on “our group” to be happy- that is just as bad and as those ignorant racist who call(ed) for segegration. I like/love people according to how they treat me not by the color of their skin. It almost 2011 and we are still having to fight within our own communities to be accepted for living and loving on our own terms- kind of sad when you think about it!!