14 Things I Do To Actively Love My Blackness

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For the past month, I’ve spent my time in San Antonio participating in a program titled the African American Literatures and Cultures Institute under the supervision of the incredible Dr. Joycelyn Moody and Dr. Howard Rambsy. Through the program, I’ve made a pretty tight clique of young scholars on the path of reaching greatness in Black Studies. Through all the immense gains I’ve gotten this summer, I can’t help but to admit that my Black progress has been juxtaposed with a summer of Black pain and suffering on a national and international scale. This summer has been characterized by more incidents of police brutality against children such as the pool party in McKinney, Texas. Racism reared its ugly head and manifested itself in Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who took the lives of nine Black churchgoers at the historic AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Dominican Republic is currently in the process of deporting an estimated 500,000 residents of Haitian descent, demonstrating with immense clarity how institutional colorism and classism operate. Don Lemon continues to exist on our television screens, unfortunately, with few moments like him being called an “Uncle Tom” on cable serving as dim lights down his path of darkness. Lastly, [name deleted for irrelevancy] woke up and decided she was Black, sparking a nationwide debate on why transracial should be a thing if transgender is, right? (No.) Moments like this serve as reminders that self-survival and self-love, my re-interpretation of the concept of self-care, are important to our very existence as Black folk.

To offset the foolery, here’s a list of things I actively do to survive and love my status as a Black woman. Hopefully my list can spark a light within someone else as well.

  1. Create booklists of works by mostly queer Black women. Sometimes intentional, mostly accidental.
  2. Explore Spotify’s Discover section or check out music recommendations from friends. Then giving up and continue listening to Alabama Shakes on repeat.
  3. Take social media breaks and mute that girl I never liked anyway on Twitter.
  4. Splurge on Godiva or Ghirardelli chocolate. You’re worth it, boo.
  5. Plan my outfit for when Beyonce and Nicki finally invite me to perform “Feelin’ Myself” on stage with them.
  6. Detangle and deep-condition my happy, nappy fro.
  7. Write affirming words in my journal.
  8. Take selfies outside. Under a tree, perhaps. Maybe amidst some flowers.
  9. Work on Black mermaid aesthetic. Learn how to swim.
  10. Spend time with little Black children. Seriously, being around four year olds that hold twenty minute conversations where they flex their knowledge on the insect world or ten year old dance prodigies does so much to one’s feelings about the future.
  11. Have loud conversations about white privilege in public venues.
  12. Watch Steven Universe and subsequently plan Garnet Halloween costume.
  13. Listen to Gradient Lair’s Womanist Mixtape and get my life.
  14. Surround myself with beautiful Black people that I can give all my love to. Telling them as often as possible that I love them and that their lives are valuable. Finding my strength in the strength of other Black folks. Actively challenging white supremacy hand-in-hand. Loving.

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