So much about being a Black woman in America is denial. Denial of your womanhood because being Black is considered more important than being a woman. Denial of your sexuality because being chaste and pure is considered more important being sexually free. Denial of anything that will make the Black male gaze disappear although these men get on the Internet daily and declare to the world how little they respect any Black women, whether she is clothed from head to toe or buck ass naked. Miss Priss or Lady Freakaholic.
But there are a group of women who live their lives proudly unaffected by the patriarchal poison that has permeated our culture. These women are considered outcasts, rebels, insubordinates, mutinous because they will not be tamed. Often paying a high psychological cost for this freedom, these women are unrepentant and are tired of living in the shadows of a male dominant society. These wild women are coming out roaring and it is scaring the shit out of the respectable ones. They are the hood rats, the bust downs, the women of dubious reputation and their stories need to be told.
They are the women you see daily in inner-city neighborhoods throughout Black America. They are your neighbors, the women who bought a dish over after the death of a family member. The women who don’t have a problem with walking children to school not their own and picking them up. The women who did something strange for a little piece of change to help some bills. The women who don’t mind sharing her food stamps if it means another child will eat. Yes the Undesirables of The Black community. Scorned on a daily but they still manage to rise on a daily basis. Beautifully brown in shades of the deepest chocolate, caramel and vanilla latte. Full and voluptuous to willow slim. Powerful and rising. Phoenixes.
But it took a lot of pain for these women to get to this point of not giving a fuck about respectable Black folks and their opinions. To be able to find their voices in a culture in which Black women are continuously shouted down and silenced. They have literally stared into the fires of hell and managed to survive, dealing with issues of sexual child abuse and beatings, neglect, poverty, a piss poor educational system, and men who did everything in their power to spiritually destroy them.
How do I know all of this? Because these women are me and I am them. I have been called everything but a child of God in my existence on this planet and as Celie said in The Color Purple, “But dear God! I’m here! I’m here!” To tell my tale and encourage other women to find their voice. And I am not alone.
Many women like me who have thrown off those chains and feel so free sometimes I cry. For those sisters still living in the shadows, it is okay to come out and shine. The chains that are enslaving you are not real; just a social construct. Find some joy and live your lives. Really live. Without fear of judgment. With love.