I Am Still Black And Proud

Featured Artwork: Amika Cooper

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These past few weeks have been stifling. From dealing with friends that ooze of white guilt to dealing with my own identity issues, I feel drained. As someone who is extremely unapologetic about my blackness and how I choose to live out that part of my identity, the sentiment of being Black and proud still rings in my empathic ears.

The goal of many cisgender heterosexual white individuals that feed into the idea that the United States is the prime example of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is to erase the culture off the backs of those that built it. My blackness, your blackness can never be erased. They tried to do it in history classes and they tried to do it in culture, but the fact of the matter is, Black is so powerful and in continuous flux. No matter how hard they try to make us believe that our lives do not matter, we continuously show up and fight back with righteous rage from the blood of our ancestors to make them understand otherwise.

I refuse to be a silenced voice.

The empty words of the oppressor fall upon deaf ears when their words are full of condemnation because they do not like the shade of our skin. Did we ask their opinion on our blackness? No. The power complex in the United States specifically inhibits Black people from all backgrounds access to upward mobility, thus making those that benefit from the system believe that their opinion of us matters. It denies us the security of being completely and without a doubt free, but it does not deny us the right to be heard.

The constant and vibrant disposition of white privilege is splattered on the streets of this nation. Are we supposed to be ashamed of our skin, then? Ashamed of our gorgeous curls, body types, names, music, food, vernacular, etc.? The answer is no.

The events that have been unfolding have made me even more determined to be completely myself. Waking up every day knowing that my skin is either fetishized or something that I can be killed over is grim. Although I am still Black and proud, I am also Black and tired. I am so tired of arguing, losing sleep, not eating, or not being able to engage in any type of social media because of people’s opinion that my skin is inferior or of less value. It is so important to remember that we are still human and we too need a break. Ancestral trauma and other things that we carry can become too much to bear. Take it easy and honor all parts of yourself.

I just want to be ok. I think we all just want to be ok.