Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Black Girl Magic is Real: Part II

When our powers are used for good, which is usually the case, the results are nothing less than spectacular! So in the second installment of this piece, (which got delayed a bit as I have been writing a LOT lately) I want to call attention to several ways in which the world continues to be enriched by #blackgirlmagic.

Serena Williams
I mean, is she not more phenomenal than words can express? Let's just put aside the fact that she is the G.O.A.T. in tennis, and perhaps in all of women's sports...because she wins and slays and does the most in a sport she learned on the concrete public courts of Compton (which ain't nowhere near the private-tutored courts of Beverly Hills or Malibu).

And is it not BANANAS that Serena competed in and WON the Australian Open during her first trimester of pregnancy???!!! That is not just something you casually do. Mere mortal women manage to push through those first few weeks in spite of morning sickness, which can include nausea, exhaustion, vomiting, etc. We already knew Serena is no mere mortal, but damn. Damn. DAYUM (in my best Florida Evans voice)!

But the real magic has been how Serena, and her sister Venus, have been beyond gracious in response to every sling and arrow hurled at them since their debut as young girls hailing from those concrete public courts in Compton. Every move they've made has been scrutinized and critiqued from their hairstyles as teenagers to their over-bearing father's personal issues to their off-court ambitions. Serena, the reigning champion, has had to debunk comments she allegedly made about dating and marriage, only to face renewed criticism about her life choices when she announced her engagement to current beau, Alexis Ohanian.

So when former tennis champion, Ilie Nastase, made a stupid remark about the potential skin color of their unborn child, and Serena clapped back with such grace and aplomb, it is only because of that #blackgirlmagic. We already know her backhand is not to be underestimated...

Celebrity Philanthropy
I have already written about the announcement of Beyonce's scholarship gift as it relates to Spelman and Howard, and I run the risk of stepping on a few toes in making this request: But please can we just hit the love button and get out of our feelings about who got left out or overlooked? Because the #blackgirlmagic of this gift is not about who receives the scholarship, but in how WE decide to replicate this effort to bless even more people.

I am serious. You don't need Beyonce's money to provide support for a struggling student. You don't need Beyonce-level publicity to draw attention to the fact that you did something for your alma mater. You just need to do something that will inspire others to follow your example.

So, I am starting a campaign to encourage support for a different HBCU several times a year. I will announce the first school next Monday morning on my FB page and Twitter. I hope to inspire a few people to make a modest donation, then encourage them to keep it going by inspiring a few more until we can reach a certain amount. More details to follow... 

Real Girl Magic
A FB peer posted a long message about a young homeless woman she encountered on the street, and how in spite of overwhelming odds against her, this young woman possessed the #blackgirlmagic that we only seem to believe exists among the high achievers. We miss the everyday sparkle in someone who barely survives...

Honestly, that has been part of my reluctance to embrace this term until now. We want #blackgirlmagic to inspire us to greatness while ignoring the fact that greatness is relative. One day, it might be achieving one's personal best; on another day, it might be just making it out the door to try. All of us have the magic inside if we have made it through life's storms--sickness, grief, racism, sexism, depression, violence, ignorance, etc.

I don't always feel magical. I'm sure you don't either. But if magic was just about the extraordinary, then most of us wouldn't believe in its existence. Go back to read the paragraph about Serena Williams and how she and Venus got started on the concrete public courts of Compton. Their magic isn't in what they have achieved since, but in the fact that they believed enough in themselves to try.

I can't promise that you will achieve all of your dreams because that isn't what this is about. #BlackGirlMagic is about having the courage to believe in yourself and trying anyway, even when the odds of success are improbable.

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