It’s all over the news. #BlackGirlMagic. It hits home for me. I’m black. I’m a girl. I work for a radio station called Magic. Let’s look at what this trending hashtag is all about and what some others have to say about it all…
Created by CaShawn Thompson two years ago to celebrate the power, resilience and beauty of black women, the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic has taken over social media. Essence dedicated three fierce February covers to the phenomenon and Teen Vogue’s issue featuring Amandla Stenberg is most definitely all about the hashtag magic.
Speaking of Amanda Stenberg, who plays Rue in the Hunger Games, if you haven’t seen it already you need to check out her video, Don’t Cash Crop on My Cornrows, that went viral in 2015.
Even Barack Obama has an opinion. In an Essence article, President Obama and Misty Copeland Talk Black Girl Magic and the Importance of Social Movements. TIME reporter Maya Rhodan sat down with President Obama and principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland, to discuss the impact of social activism and movements like Black Lives Matter and Black Girl Magic.
“Social media is obviously the way in which young people are receiving information generally, so the power of young activists to help shape culture and politics through things like Black Lives Matter, I think, is hugely important,” said President Obama.
“I think it couldn’t be more positive for a young Black girl to see that it’s okay to be yourself, it’s okay to not have to transform and look like what you may see on the cover of a lot of magazines. That you are beautiful, that it’s possible to succeed in any field that you want to, looking the way that you do. With your hair the way it is,” said Misty Copeland.
Here in the UK, women of color such as Color Purple actor Cynthia Erivo and Britain’s Got Talent’s Alesha Dixon have been outspoken about inequality in the entertainment industry.
I salute Alesha Dixon for being so open about her experience.
“Sadly, I’ve learnt that prejudice still exists in parts of the entertainment industry – I did an interview with a magazine once and the journalist quite openly said they wouldn’t put a black person on the front cover because the magazine wouldn’t sell,” she said. “It made me angry because it shouldn’t be about the colour of the person’s skin, it should be about the person.” – Alesha Dixon
Cynthia Erivo puts it very succinctly “they don’t make roles for us”.
“The thing that disturbs me the most, being in England, is that on the screen we don’t see very many of us – there aren’t very many black girls. They don’t make the roles for us, or they don’t see us in those roles.” – Cynthia Erivo
I absolutely love the way Huffington Post editor Julee Wilson defines Black Girl Magic…
“a term used to illustrate the universal awesomeness of black women. It’s about celebrating anything we deem particularly dope, inspiring or mind-blowing about ourselves.”
Which is exactly what this movement is all about. Celebrating who we are and leaving a legacy for our daughters… to celebrate our Black Girl Magic and love who we are!
How do I encourage my daughter, who loves performing arts, but asks “mummy shall I do this? I don’t see many people looking like me on television, in the theatre or in magazines”
This is a question I ask myself from time to time and I know I don’t want my daughters asking the same kind of questions.
So I say to all those beautiful black women, who have been positioned within the media, the arts, positions of authority, with our variety of skin tones, our variety of body shapes… don’t give up. Keep shining your light.
Every time you think about giving up, there is a young girl watching you, admiring you, drawing strength from you.
Don’t spoil her vision of you. Show them that black girls are MAGIC.