Monday, November 8, 2010

To My Sistas

We live in a world where we have a black president AND a beautiful black first lady Michelle Obama. We’ve got double degrees, our ladies anthems range from Drake’s “Fancy” to Jill Scotts “Hate on Me”. We are well versed in Sanchez, Angelou, Shange and Giovanni. Some of us spend our Saturdays at Burke Williams’s day spas, we shop at Niemans, Saks, and Barneys, and Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin are staples in our wardrobes. Yes there is a shortage of eligible black men *rolls eyes* and many of us are having a hard time balancing relationships and career. (See any and every special on CNN, ABC etc on black relationships) But there’s another issue that’s heavy on my heart.

For all the great strides we’ve made, for all the positive influences we have, we still have this negative attitude towards each other. Scrunched up faces as soon as another sista walks into the same space we’re in. We don’t use smiles when we greet each other. Instead we stare each other down in a way that is more invasive than a rectal exam. Judgment is made based on what we see in a five second glance of a fellow sista from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet. If her style deviates too far from our own she’s immediately dismissed as irrelevant. If her personal style is too similar to ours (Heaven forbid another woman be as fly, smart, educated or pretty etc. as we are) she’s everything but her name.

The chocolate sista with the relaxed pixie cut cuts her eyes at the butterscotch sista with the big natural ringlets in the Carol’s Daughter section in Sephora. The caramel sista with the Howard University sweatshirt clucks her tongue at the ebony one with the UC Berkeley t-shirt on in Peete’s Coffee. The mahogany sis coming out of whole foods with her 100% African shea butter purchase in hand tisks and shakes her head at the mocha sis coming out of the MAC cosmetics store with the 3 tubes of lipglass and 2 shades of StudioTech foundation in her shopping bag.

We walk around with armor thicker than the skin of a rhinoceros afraid to pay one another a compliment because we’ll be damned before we make another woman feel like she is special or pretty. We’ve all been there. Last Friday I wore a cute ruffled black dress to happy hour with black strappy 5 inch heels. It was way more crowded than usual in general, but there were so many black women there of all ages. (Blame it on Tyler Perry) so I approach the security guard and engage him in conversation. I felt the eyes and could almost see the “who she think she is?” And her “hair ain't real anyway” comments going off in the other black women’s heads.

Why do we do this to each other? In this day and age we know better. 2010 has been the year of the Black woman. Beyonce made history with her record 6 Grammys, Monique won the Academy award for her role in Precious and she has her own late night talk show that is doing very well. We have role models like Amy D. Barnett who is the new EIC of Ebony Magazine which just celebrated its 65th Anniversary. BET aired My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop and Beverly Bond’s Black Girls Rock aired on BET last night. Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius, Jill Scott and Ledisi performed a moving rendition of Nina Simone’s “Four Women”. This song is a great example of even through all the external differences that black women in America have we all have struggles. Let’s face it, being a black woman in America still isn’t easy. Why can’t we lean on each other and build each other up rather than tear each other down? I know some people are reading and thinking “I don’t go around putting other black women down” We have to understand its not just spoken words that can be used as weapons. We cut each other with our eyes, and slice one another and ourselves with negative thinking.

And we wanna be the first one's singing out Beyonce's "Why Don't you Love Me?" When we don't love ourselves or each other. But I digress...

So the next time to see a sista, smile and say hi. If you think she’s fly compliment her. It won’t kill you.

Enjoy this video of “Four Women”

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