Every year, the Essence Festival attracts more than 450,000 visitors to New Orleans to participate …
The month of February is one of special significance for me. Not only is it my birthday month (flips hair), but it’s a month showered with Black History celebrations, new beginnings, and the quintessential offerings of love. Zoom past the superficiality of flowers, chocolates, and the expected dinner for two — and this February proves to be more than what it has symbolized in the past.
Recently, the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic has surfaced sparking nationwide debate and controversy from what was intended to be a source of inspiration, empowerment, and positivity. Targeted towards African-American women who are making courageous and powerful moves within society, the #BlackGirlMagic movement is one synonymous with the annual markings of Black History Month, but a movement to hopefully transform the way black women are targeted, viewed, and represented in American culture.
As an African-American woman, I was thrilled and empowered to tap into my own individual #BlackGirlMagic. The ultimate transformation for me began with my hair.
Five years ago, I was inspired by a close girlfriend of mine to stop processing my hair and to wear it in its natural state. Naive and unassuming, I was largely wanting to have healthier hair, beautiful waves, and to curiously see what lied beneath the lies of “permed” hair.
Once I braved the will to tap into the natural hair journey and pushed back the frustration with frazzled edges, unruly curls, and thick roots, I became angry.
Angry that I was conditioned to think that straight hair was beautiful; angry that my hair was called “nappy” in its natural state; angry that the destruction of my hair — our hair — by chemicals and processing was birthed out of what someone else had dubbed to be beautiful.
After I pushed past what I believed to be strategic and calculated brainwashing, I began to rediscover what was beautiful. This began with my hair, but then propelled powerfully to self-love and appreciation of my curves, my skin, and the resilience of the black community as a whole.
An entire history lesson can be taught on this concept alone — how as a black community we were taught to hate ourselves, our skin, our hair, and all of the unique qualities that make us who we are.
Kanye West colorfully described the scenario in “All Falls Down” off of his debut album. I’ve always thought that this was one of his greatest masterpieces, and one of the best descriptions of the black community’s plight.
She had hair so long that it looked like weave, then she cut it all off now it looks like Eve; she be dealing with some issues that you can’t believe, single black female addicted to retail
They make us hate ourselves, and love their wealth…
We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us, we trying to buy back our 40 acres…
And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
So for those with an ill-intent to tarnish what is so inspirational and positive with the #BlackGirlMagic movement, just know that this is only the beginning. In channeling the new lyrics of Beyonce’s anthem “Formation:”
“I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros. I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”
Although February is isolated in its celebrations of Black History Month, this year and for the next several weeks, the Inspire N Style mission is to promote self-love. An appreciation for self, one’s value and one’s worth will then pour over into healthier relationships, and an avid zest for life. We will still focus on Valentine’s Day and movers and shakers within the local black community, but we will also dig deeper into community bonding, and pushing past negativity.
Through the highlighting of local #BlackGirlMagic leaders, tips and tricks for boosting inner positivity, Inspire N Style will lead the way in its inspirational #Formation.