In 2016 there has been this new phenomenon or term that coins and pertains to so many African American women, and that term is black girl magic. I thought to myself, "Well what exactly is black girl magic?" The term describes the excellence that us African American women achieve that is not recognized without our community at times but also within our society. This term is best used to describe individuals for their contribution to society whether it is academically, athletically, socially, etc. The best example that most people use the term for are individuals such as Beyoncé, Simone Biles, Mikaila Ulmer, and Misty Copeland. These are all known African American women who have achieved some form of excellence within our society while still obtaining and preserving their roots as a black woman.
I myself have used the term to inspire not only myself but rather other young black women to know and understand their worth. The purpose of the term is to get young black girls to believe they can be more and achieve anything without limits due to their skin complexion. My definition can appear within social media in the aspect of a photo with a simple hashtag. Something oh so simple that recognizes the true beauty that we as black women possess. The concept employs us to accept who we are without consequence.
After fully understanding, accepting and practicing this concept, imagine my surprise when a young black man challenged it by informing me that he hated the term. Of course, my natural reaction was to defend and attack because I just couldn’t comprehend why a black man couldn’t get behind a term that supported a black woman. I was more than ready to engage in a topic of discussion that ran deeper into the idea that we black women continue to be failed and lack support from our African American male counterparts; however, I decided to listen and hear a perspective that didn't seem to reflect my own.
His reasoning for hating the term actually peaked my interest and inspired me to challenge the term myself. The young man to my surprised explained to me that he believed the term " black girl magic" actually negates the fact of how dedicated and hardworking black woman actually are but rather reduces us to something so simple and unrealistic as magic. He went on to explain that women like Simone Biles, Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé did not achieve the monumental things they have done because they are black and magical, but rather because they were dedicated, hardworking, and believed in their craft and that's what makes them successful. Society should appreciate that black women obtain these attributes and celebrate them rather than just labeling them magical like a fake majestically creature such as a unicorn that obviously can't and shouldn't exist.
After hearing that how could I not, as a black woman, relate and somehow support what he was saying. His thoughts eliminated my own about appearance but rather appreciation to how hard working these women are. Not to say the term doesn't necessarily coin that we aren't hardworking but it does reduce it to something less powerful and intriguing to watch such as magic. Magic is used as a form of entertainment through performance. Our excellence should never be a form of entertainment but rather a topic of inspiration and appreciation. This country wouldn't be where it's at without our assistance and yet we still treat our accomplishments as something that should be intriguing.
Does the term black girl magic really give pride or does it have a deeper meaning that perpetuates negativity? Granted, of course, I could be reaching and interpreting things too deeply, but in the society we live in today it is not a secret that black women are the most underrated and underappreciated people in the world. We lack support and positivity from the environment in which we live. So if “black girl magic” is not a term we can use to motivate and inspire then what can we use? That answer, of course, is still to be determined. However, until a new term is created I think I will stick to being called magical because as shallow and weird as it may seem it still makes me feel special and appreciated. In a time where the majority of people in the world still view women of my complexion as invisible it is nice to be a magical unicorn among a herd of horses.