Last month in my Instagram stories I had the novel idea to highlight a powerful black woman each day. It would be a woman that I admired or inspired me in some way. And like most of my last minute ideas, it didn’t work out as planned. I didn’t think through how I wanted to post the content, so I quickly realized that I had to switch how I wanted to present these beautiful women to the world. March is Women’s History Month, and I decided to table the idea of just sharing a photo and a quote from each woman, but to share WHY I think of these women as a collective and a powerful force in my life.
She is Bold.
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I am drawn to women that can command your attention without opening their mouth. A woman that can draw you in with the sway of her hips, her smile, her style. A woman that when she speaks, the room stops to listen. Women that are unapologetically and consistently themselves. Women that share their words, their voices, and their talents with the world and encourage others to do the same.
Something that I am personally working through is finding and using my voice. I’ve spent years playing the background, or showing up in a way that was expected or safe. I’m want to emulate the women that move through this world as themselves, unapologetically.
She is Giving.
I grew up in a strong matriarchal family of givers. My Grandmother, Aunts, and Mother showed me through their actions that “to whom much is given, much is required.” They sold dinners, watched the children, and held prayer meetings. Anything that their family or community needed. They wore their gift of giving like a badge of honor.
Through their example, though, they inadvertently showed me the importance and the need to make sure in all of my giving, to add myself to the top of the list. They’ve shown me that is imperative that I don’t give to anything or anyone that isn’t giving back to me. To make sure to refill mine and my sister’s cup.
She is Beautiful.
“I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay.”
– Tracee Ellis Ross
Black women are beautiful. Not only aesthetically, but our spirits, our energy provides the world with unmatched beauty. We are trendsetters. We are icons. We are resilient.
My mom used to joke that “Shanetra didn’t realize she was black until she went to college.” And sadly, she was right about that in some regards. Growing up, of course, I knew I was black, but I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty associated with it. I wanted my hair to be straight, my nose to be more narrow, my thighs to be smaller. I wanted to be more like the women whose beauty was celebrated by society than the women I was surrounded by in my day-to-day life.
Today, not only do I appreciate the beauty of black women, it is by far one of my favorite things to celebrate.
“Okay, polka dots!”
She got her Own.
Tell me how you feel about this
Who would I want if I would wanna live
I worked hard and sacrificed to get what I get
Ladies, it ain’t easy bein’ independent
– Destiny’s Child
I think we all can agree that we have a love-hate relationship with social media. It can be a time suck or a place where we battle our self-esteem or fight the desire to compare ourselves to others. But one of my favorite parts of social media is connecting with other black women that are building their business online. Natural living, clothing lines, makeup artistry, YouTube channels, black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. (Turn up!)
I am inspired by the women that are using their gifts and talents to make their mark on the world. She may have a husband or partner, but she isn’t waiting for them to save her. She is working to build the life she imagined. She is building a legacy for her children and family.
I look at her and it makes me proud
There’s something about her
The older I get, the deeper my adoration of my culture grows, especially my love for black women. This is not a slight to any of my friends of other races, but I’ve found myself within my community and my heart is full because of it.
So tell me, who inspires you? Mrs. Carter? Mrs. Obama? Cardi B? Can I also take a moment and express my love for the diversity that is black women? We are MULTI-dimensional.
Love you, ladies.
Photo header caption (clockwise)
Henrietta Jeffcoat – My Mommy, Pitbull in a skirt, Fashionista
Francheska Medina (Hey Fran Hey) – Influencer, Podcaster, Wellness Advocate
Sarah Jakes Roberts – Pastor, Founder of Woman Evolve
Tracee Ellis Ross – Actress, Director, Fashion Icon
Maya Washington (Shameless Maya) – YouTuber, Influencer, Actress,
Jackie Aina – YouTuber, Beauty Guru
Gabrielle Union – Actress, Mommy, Fun Wife