Sisters Belong At the Table
Who knew that in the last week I would experience a sister-girl-high that made me an extra proud owner of all my lady parts? Who knew that binge watching a TV show, downloading new music, and a trip to the movies on 5-dollar Tuesday would leave me floating on a cloud of Black Girl Magic swinging my braids side to side singing, I’m Every Woman……It’s All In Meeeeeeee?!
I didn’t expect this high, but that’s just what happens when black girls like Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Solange Knowles, and Phiona Mutesi fearlessly share their gifts with the world!
Fearlessly, I said!
See, we must understand that a black girl sharing her gifts with the world is no small thing!
Black girls sharing gifts with the world means they had to do so over and against the world telling them that their gifts are useless, needless, and undesirable! So when a black girl shares her gift, it’s magic!
Black Girl Magic!
It’s like eating the best sweet potato pie you’ve ever tasted.
It’s sweet and satisfying!
It’s savory and a little bit spicy!
It’s delicious and delightful!
It’s the kind of goodness that makes you slowly close your eyes with the fork still in your mouth for a brief moment of mediation!
In fact, black girl magic is so scrumptious that it makes you wonder how the world ever made it without such sweet, satisfying, delightfulness!
But then again we have been here all along spreading magic…..just without credit!
And so, when I binge watched the TV series, Underground in two days, and then downloaded the new music project, A Seat at the Table the next day, and then took a trip to the movies to see Queen of Katwe the very next day, I found myself lifted, inspired and reminded of the greatness that lives in black female skin!
The week left me floating and fanning the flame of my black girl magic at the same time!
And just what was it about these three works of art that set me ablaze?
Glad you asked!
It was the evolution of Rosalee aka Jurnee Smollett-Bell who blossomed from a shy and fearful “slave girl” to a fearless freedom fighter in the TV Series, Underground. It was the message from Solange Knowles’, A Seat at the Table, that reminded black women to pull our chairs up to the table, invited or not! And it was watching Phiona Mutesi, played by Madina Nalwanga in the movie, Queen of Katwe become a chess champion in world that didn’t think she belonged!
But she belonged!!!
We all belong!
But black women have to continue to say and embody it because the world has not caught on! The world overlooks and undervalues black women. Black women are the most disrespected, unprotected, and most neglected of all people on the planet!…….Thanks Malcolm X for telling us this way back when!
And this is why the creative and artful genius of these three women ignited my black girl magic flame into an inferno!
Match! Fire! Blaze!
See black women may be viewed as the most dejected demographic, but if you take a closer look you will see that we are also the most determined! We are determined to show this world that we belong!
“Belonging” kept echoing through each TV episode, each song and the movie! It kept whispering and reminding me of the black woman’s contribution to this world and the void the world would feel if black women didn’t sprinkle their magic to share their genius and greatness!
But what these works also prove is how hard black women have to fight just to share!
Black women aren’t often afforded opportunities to freely share their genius and greatness with the world. Opportunities for sharing often come when our choices are too limited and we have to dare to be brave or die!
These are too often the limited choices for black women!
But we are often up to the challenge much like Rosalee in Underground. She dared and refused to die! And Rosalee fought and won freedom that not only unlocked chains from her body, but chains from her mind and spirit.
That’s where true freedom lives!
You see, freedom from chains frees one externally, but freedom of the mind and spirit brings internal freedom…..it brings true liberation! And true liberation opens your mind and spirit and tells you, you’re enough, you’re worthy, and yes, you belong! And this freedom was not just evident in Underground, it was evident in Solange’s music, A Seat At the Table!
Just hearing the title alone lit the match that set me on fire!
Thank you, Solange! ((hugs))
The title boldly compelled black women to come and have a seat! It said, “don’t wait on the invitation…..just come!”
See our invitations always seem to get lost in the mail, and Solange reminds us to not bother looking for it…..just show up! Show up with our black skin, tight curls, and wide hips! Show up in every way that is us! Show up and grab your own place mat, arrange your own flatware, pull your own chair right on up, and sit down!
And certainly there are those who will try to deny our place and think we aren’t worthy to share space!
Rolling my eyes as I type……But what’s new about that?…….
Walks over haters and keeps moving!
We not only belong at the table, but like Phiona in the movie, Queen of Katwe, we will run and eventually own the table!
Phiona, a young girl living in the slums of Katwe, Uganda did just what Solange suggested! She pulled her chair up and not soon after she owned the…..a chess table at that! Phiona, an uneducated, yet gifted young woman learned to play the strategic game of chess with the skill of a Chess Master! She was able to see eight moves ahead, which is a rare gift in chess!
But be not surprised that Phiona became champion of such a strategically played game because for black women in Uganda, America, and all throughout the Diaspora, being strategic is the only way we advance in a world determined to keep us cleaning and serving tables instead of seated at them.
Junree Smollett-Bell, Solange Knowles, and Phiona Mutesi…… THANK YOU!!!
I’m so grateful for sisters who use their art and their gifts to remind the sisterhood that we are magic! Thanks for whispering to black women and girls across the globe that we belong! Thanks for reminding us not to wait for an invitation to the table!
Just Come, Sit, Slay!!!