An Ode To The Black Woman
I was twelve when I discovered how the world felt about the black woman. For years my father had carefully held up a shield adorned with compliments on my dark woody skin, praises for my thick coily hair and stories dipped in honey, full of witty princesses that looked just like me. One day I peeked around that colourful shield and…
Oh. This is how the world sees me?
It hit me hard. A slap of brazen remarks, malicious stereotypes and an open dispute about my very own humanity. The sting pricked against my skin and I felt the heat from the flames of those who could never truly see me. I understood. Yet I did not.
Surrounded by black sisters, by blood and by choice. Beautiful woman entangled in complex stories and intoxicating personalities. These were the women that they ridiculed? I found the black woman and she was dripping in organic insight. Creativity seeped out of her deep skin. She spun discarded scraps of straw into brilliant gold, so bright that others would claw it from her hands and claim it as their own. These were the women that they ridiculed?
I knew the black woman to be soft, as soft as Ntozake Shange. The lady in orange whose soft words circled around many hearts, gripping them and refusing to let go. She is unwavering, as unwavering as the woman known as William Brown who in the 1800s joined the British Navy under the guise of a man. She would take the world by storm, unmatched in her skill, she would come to lead the best of men through harsh winds and unforgiving seas. She is funny, as funny as Nicole Bryer whose infectious giggle and intelligent jokes tickle at your insides and leaving you warm and delighted. She is militant, as militant as Rosa Parks, who history now paints as the sweet tired old woman. Yet it was her rage that made her rebellious. It was her anger that fueled her work towards “the strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade.”
I know the black woman to be Oya. A dark warrior goddess who commanded the winds and storms. She is devastatingly strong. Her heavy tears pour down, fat, wet and loud. High-pitched bells and rings, a song that feeds the river and all the oceans. She is Ala, a creator of life and virtue. She births life through her art and womb. She is Oshun. Beautiful and regal. She is created for luxury and pleasure.
The black woman is a force. She cries, she laughs, she is sensitive, she is delicate, she is strong, she is stubborn, she is calm, she is sensational, she is wild. The beautiful thing is that she is all of this, and she is none of this because she is simply her.
Background Research Material: The Black History Facts App & At The Dark End Of The Street by Danielle L. McGuire