Every woman is powerful, so by extension, every black woman should be considered to be the same. Instead this phrase “Powerful black woman” is bestowed on a chosen few , who refused to accept the label of “angry black woman”, in their relentless pursuit of running from the daily reality of being a black woman.
Black women are born with two strikes against them. The first strike is being female and the next is being black. As little girls, we are told, “Ladies are seen and not heard.” When in fact, most times, black ladies are not seen, so they have no choice but to be heard.
The most popular reaction to a black woman who is intelligent, confident and who embraces her color and race, is resistance. A resistance that comes from members of other races but, mainly from her own. The ” Who do you think you are” resistance is the first protest she faces. It usually comes from her tribe.
When she refuses to be silenced, she is confronted by another group of protesters. This group calls her,”The angry black woman.” Many of the women you once misunderstood to be “angry black women, or who you once felt think “too highly of themselves” , you now consider to be “powerful black women.” Among them are First Lady, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey. Maya Angelou, Beyonce, Serena Williams, Rosa Parks, and the list goes on.
Before we become powerful, we have to be heard. We have no choice but to demand a seat at the table because we are not offered one. (Ask Rosa Parks). When I was growing up in the Caribbean, black girls (especially dark skin black girls) were not considered beautiful. (I said it!) I am grateful that such a stigma did not register in my brain. I was told on many occasions, ” You are very beautiful for a black girl.” Those “back handed” compliments never got me down.
I remember a time that not only our attitude was an issue but our features like our thick lips, our wide hips and big butts were also critized! Today, black features cost money, honey!Cosmetic Surgeons are making millions providing female clients with those highly demanded physical features that were once criticized on black women.
I have come to realize that the reality of being any woman can be difficult, but that of being a black woman is twice as hard. Things will not change for the better until we embrace our true beauty and power within. The first acceptance of who we are must come from within. We are worthy and we must see and accept ourselves before the rest of the world does. Believe that!