#BlackGirlMagic: Living and Breathing And Claiming It

I’ve had this thought about what I love to call the “Magic of Black Women” for a very long time. Many years. But I’ve never been able to articulate it. I know it when I see it. I know it when I feel it, but it is such a phenomenal state of being and doing, that words always escape me when it comes time to write or talk about it. How does one describe something for which the definition is a visceral knowing and understanding of oneself?

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Magic is defined as “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.” Another definition describes it as “wonderful and exciting.”  Special power. Influence. Skill. Exciting. Wonderful. If that’s not a Black Girl, I don’t know what is.

Magic is what I see in the look my Mother The Educator gives over the frame of her glasses that moves mountains, the entire population of her household and reminds her students of their purpose, all at the same time. 

 Magic was in the soft whispering of my then 2 year-old daughter of a time she’d seen before she came here, where “Grandma’s name was Iyanla and we lived in a house made of dirt.”

 Magic is what I see when my sister braids hair with such dexterity and skill that it appears to be slight of hand.

 Magic is what I hear when my Aunt Mary holds court in her kitchen at family gatherings, masterfully weaving tales of years gone by that captivate us all.

 Magic is the healing touch in the hugs of forgiveness and “I still love you” between me and my best friend after an argument.

 Magic was my Grandma baking her sweet potato pies.

Black women and girls influence world culture like no other. We are consulted first on everything, even if they won’t admit it. They ALL look to us, waiting to see what we will do next, not understanding we are already light years ahead. The first Black woman tapped her toe ever so gently on the continent of Africa and the reverberations are still being felt hundreds of thousands of years later all over the world. And in outer space.  We are often imitated but never truly duplicated in the attempted siphoning of our Magic. The unwilling, indignantly obtuse and ungrateful often choke on it and curse us for it, but we are indeed the Living Water.

We who literally bring forth The Cool through our very bodies,  take what appear to be insurmountable amounts of abuse from every direction yet we are still here. This Magic that we are, people don’t understand it and people tend to hate what they don’t understand. Folks don’t understand how they can destroy a thing and that thing keeps getting up.  Our humanity has been discarded, discounted and ignored time and time again, but the fire has never been extinguished.  Even those of us who fall and perish use our very last breath to scream out “Keep going! Keep going!”

And we do. We keep going and we pass the magic along, teaching our daughters and our Other Daughters and holding up our Sisters and placing our Queen Mothers on thrones. We kept going and now we have Toni Morrison, Michelle Obama, Oprah, Lupita Nyog’o, Beyoncé, dream hampton, Melissa Harris-Perry, Janelle Monae, Jamilah Lemieux, Renina Jarmon Feminista Jones, Melanie Dione, Risikat Okeydei  and DJ Cleveland Browne. We have my Mother, my sister, my aunties and my daughter. And me, we have me here making this declaration and claiming it and chanting it. Living and breathing it.  Black Girls Are Magic. We are.



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