Black is beautiful. And no one can tell me any different.
When I was growing up, I never saw race as a differentiating factor between me and the girl I sat next to in class. We were never taught that we were different, and as a result, I never really fully understood the cultural barriers until I started high school in a new country. My siblings and I were bullied, our house was egged and kids our age followed us in hordes as we walked home from school. Venturing out without a grown-up was never something we did because we were scared of being on the receiving end of such hatred. We were kids ourselves and we didn’t understand why they weren’t nice to us. We were new to the country that we would later call “home” for over six years; but while we didn’t know anything outside of what we had been taught back home in Zimbabwe; we learned fast.
Being exposed to racism showed us that the life we had grown up watching on our satellite dishes (cable), and in the movies were just all part of a fantasy that so many longed for, but would never see or experience because of hatred and negativity. Life was tough for us, but as we grew and learned, we were able to meet people who didn’t ask if we “lived in huts” or had “lions for pets” because we were black and had gotten off a plane from Africa to try our luck at “the dream”. My favourite to date though is, “Why is your English so good?” LOL. That one though is a doozy, but I can’t help but smile and answer with the best manners I was taught from a very young age. Ignorance can be bliss, but in this day and age, in a world where a child under the age of ten (10) owns a cellphone…come one now! There is no room for such silliness!
Growing up in Scotland and Canada has given me the chance to witness so many different cultures interact on a daily. And while life has been an amazing roller-coaster, it has also been an eye-opening opportunity because despite how great some moments can be, being witness to some of the heinous crimes involving black people is maddening and hurtful. While death, drugs and crime riddles the lives of many black men and women, sometimes it is hard to showcase the good that isn’t a stereotype of what being “black” is as defined by society. But despite all the negativity, being black is a beautiful thing. And it is a privilege that no one can take away from me and the rest of the world. And even when women and men are trying to bleach their skin, being a light-skinned girl is not any easier than a dark-skinned girl. We are all black and people need to accept this. Being any shade of black is a blessing because so many people had to go through some great hardships for us to even be here. With #BlackHistoryMonth having just ended in February, being black should not be something that is celebrated for one month out of the year. Black history should be showcased 365 days in a regular year, and 366 days in each leap year. As a race, those that have come before us saw and experienced things that would make us – our generation – quake. If we think life is hard now, I can only imagine what life was like back then. We are given glimpses of what life was like in movies like “Selma” and “Ghosts of Mississippi” and the recently released miniseries, “The Book of Negroes” which is based on the novel by Lawrence Hill. They glimpses are based on actual events that took place, and they convey the truth of what was, and how we came to be. We are a very visual generation and creative geniuses are trying to showcase the struggle that took place many years ago – a struggle that is still very much a part of our struggle today in many instances. These movies and series’ are just the tip of the iceberg and there are so many out there I will recommend to you in a follow-up post because I find them to be stories that are beautifully told, and that everyone should at least watch once or more than once. We are being educated about the truths of life, and despite how ugly it was and is today, being black should not be something we should run from, or be ashamed of. We must celebrate and educate each other on what being black means. We have to accept who we are and show the world the beauty in our black – despite the ugly portrait it can be painted to be.
Black is beautiful. I celebrate it everyday with a smile and an open heart, because no matter the ugly the world might personify black to be – we matter.
#BlackOutDay is a great campaign that YouTube personality Frenchesca Ramsey created, that I strongly support. “It’s a celebration of black beauty and our individuality”. My sentiments exactly. Thank you Frenchesca!
#BlackLivesMatter everyday. We are#BlackBeauty.
... N. xo