The Rise of Strong Women of Color!
This month I wanted to focus on women’s strength, defiance and power!
As we just celebrated International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018), along with with the momentum of the “me too” movement (started by Tarana Burke) brewing, I say we women have a lot to celebrate, particularly women of color. I feel we have come a long way since the days 50 years ago when we weren’t allowed to vote. Now, we are …
- Setting box office records (the women of Black Panther Film: Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright…if you haven’t seen the film go see it!)
- Running for office and breaking voting records (Alabama: black women were the majority voters for Doug Jones)
- Breaking many musical records (Beyonce)
- Becoming self made billionaires (Oprah Winfrey)
- Holding, for the first time in history, strong positions of power (Michelle Obama).
I celebrate this pivotal moment with you ladies. Even though my name may not be in the lime light, I share stories with you and commemorate these highlighting moments in history with you. I believe, we will take over the world and our stories will be heard.
Becoming a Strong Woman…
My story is one that is unique indeed as I write in my latest book (Strengthening Your Identity While the Shadow is in Front of You), the intersectionality is projected through out my life. Throughout my life, I have been put in a class of being dark skinned first of all, from Africa second, a woman third, and now diagnosed with this illness of bipolar fourth. I had one thing and one thing only that propelled me to compete in the world; that was my education. For as long as I can remember my parents have instilled the value and importance of education. That principle has stuck into my brain for as long as I can remember. My parents used to say “it’s your meal ticket, your back bone, your path to the world out there.” Education is how you stay afloat in the world!
From a young age at about 6th grade living in Australia, my teacher had hooked me on writing by showing me Australian authors such as Paul Jennings. I was mesmerized at the way he described events, names and places in his books. I think that was when I decided to start writing seriously. I knew the road ahead of me would be tough, but little did I know how tough the world would be in order to achieve that goal with my diagnosis later on. But, I know I wanted to move the world with my words and I’m still on that “mountain climb to the top of Kilimanjaro.” As a
dark skinned young girl, I faced a lot of discrimination and oppression living in Australia. My classmates would laugh at me as I read my stories that would be later published in local newsletter. But I kept on persevering. It was 1996 when I saw Oprah on TV and my world changed. I thought here she was a black woman like me motivating the universe. How great if I can do that too! So I worked hard and when I finally moved to the US in 1997, I worked hard, even harder, despite my struggles with bipolar. I graduated from the University of Washington and I am doing what I love, motivating people with my story.
Black Women of Prominence…
I was watching a video on Youtube, which featured the cast of Black Panther, Lupita Nyong’o who I admire as a strong black woman, commented on how womanhood and feminism were infused into the film. Lupita mentioned how, for the first time, you not only see a black man as a superhero protagonist in a leader role, but you see women, black women, in positions of power, such as a leader of an all woman army (Danai Gurira’s character “Okoye”) or scientists (“Shuri” played by Letitia Wright). She also states in the interview, which I strongly agree with, that if men would only allow us to lead in the real world, it would be great to have these two genders equalized. I would also add, that there would be a social equilibrium which would be constant and firm enough that women wouldn’t have to have the need to compete against men for positions of power.
The only problem besides oppression from the world that women face from this uprising, which is becoming a reality, is women competing against each other. If only we can be a witness to our sister’s dream and be a part of its manifesting process, then we can have this reality exist.
The rise of Black Women…
For me, I realize that there is this uprising for black women, which is happening now, there is a movement that rumbles and vibrates the heart. I feel it is our time for all women, of all faiths, cultures, disabilities and illnesses. I feel this is our time that has been ignited to change society for our children. But we have to first take care of ourselves before we take care of others. I would often look at the scenario that air hostesses often give you when demonstrating the safety features in the air plane. They often say “in an event we lose cabin pressure please put on your mask before assisting others.” They say that because you have to take care of yourself first if you’re going to take on anything in life including helping others. Whether it be taking on mental illness or starting a business, you need to be that good healthy example. It took me a while to realize and formerly grasp that concept. But once I listened to other people about my illness, other people who were maybe wiser than me, to seek regular counseling, take my medication on time, eat right, research about my condition and be active…it was a magical moment. You often hear people say if you talk that talk, you have to walk that walk. Meaning if you say you’re about something and are trying to prove that, you have to be mentally clear and consciously centered.
I feel by sharing my journey I am able to stay afloat myself. It’s therapy for me to share all these stories about my life. The reason I wanted to go public and announce that I have bipolar is that I know that so many young girls, young black girls may be reading this and going through the same situation; the depression, mania and seclusion. Another thing that is prevalent in society today within the black culture is that mental illness is seen as a taboo subject. Often times, it is seen as being weak and something you should be ashamed of. First we are labeled as black, a woman, and adding mental illness can be too much. But I’m here to say, once you get help and come to terms with it, it gets easier because now you know what you’re up against. I’m not saying announce to the world that you suffer from an illness, but if you feel like something is wrong… get help, you will breathe better than if you keep quiet.
When I finally got help for bipolar, it formulated into the indestructible force for my temple. Bravery, courage, faith and fight were all the ingredients I needed to pull me forward.
“I hope you live a fruitful vivacious life and find your spiritual essence as a woman on the rise in the midst of all the madness!”