When I think of all the things that my identity circle entails, the top two that play a pivotal role in my life are being black and being a woman. Black womanhood, imagine that. Just those two things alone of my identity make me an oppressed being. As a black woman, I am on a daily quest of fighting for the same opportunities and recognition as my male counterparts, while still pushing for the world to see the injustices I face because of the color of my skin.
As a black educator, I wake up every morning striving to have a purpose in this work. It has become my duty to help my students see that their future can be as bright as they imagine if and when they are brave enough to be responsible for their own education. Every day I walk into my classroom praying that that day will be the day they will understand why being in those very seats can open up a whole new world of opportunities. I tirelessly advocate for my students whom most teachers have given up on because I know that deep down they want more for themselves, even when they don’t show it. It has become my business to stand before them every day and teach them to be advocates for themselves and their futures.
As a black creative, I know I am one in a million. I know that I am often times misunderstood. I have learned to use my platforms in the way that I choose to do so. I have decided to take action through my creativity and self-expression and if that doesn’t excite the masses, I really don’t care. With the help of pen and paper, my dreams become a reality. The craft of dance sends a special healing through my soul. I use the Arts as my support system through the struggles and stresses of the world.
As a black student that attended a PWI, I am aware that I am not as aware of many things as I would have been had I attended an HBCU. My first semester on campus I was welcomed with a warm, “take your ass back to FAMU”, as if my 3.9 high school GPA (that didn’t even afford me Cum Laude) and 26 on the ACT weren’t worthy enough. I didn’t have to take mandatory African American history classes, but my blackness still reigns supreme. I know what it feels like to be the involuntary spokesperson for every black person because I’m clearly the only one in the class with that point of view (like seriously?). But I also know what it feels like to be surrounded by a small community of blacks, driven to make a change and leave a legacy. I know that I am a threat to the world and I know the road to success is filled with many naysayers (in all shades).
Keyword: valor |ˈvalər | (n.): great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle
As a black woman in America, every day is a battle. Every day I fight with great courage for my rights, for my voice to be heard. I have made it my personal business to seek understanding when I do not understand, as well as take the time to listen to various perspectives in order to live a life not filled with ignorance, rather insight. While we have many commonalities, being black does not look one specific way and I appreciate that.
I asked each and everyone of you how you defined your blackness and the response was unreal. So here we have it. Our black is Royal. Essential. Beautiful. Fearless. Magical. Brown. Poetry. Extraordinary. Resilient. Phenomenal. Sensational. Americana. Saucy. Captivating. Radiant. Unwavering. Inspiring. Immaculate. Iridescent. Undeniable. Unapologetic.
We are a strong people. We have been doubted for centuries and the reality is, we have so much to offer our communities and hell, even the world. We must stay focused and forever walk with valor. The battle of this here life is far from over, but it is important to know that we all can win. Each and every one of us can win.
Hey, I’m black. I’m lovin’ it,