Like thousands of black women, I just finished watching the awards show Black Girls Rock! This annual show and national movement is an amazing celebration of today’s black women, our spirit and our accomplishments. In 2012, when African-American women and women from throughout the African diaspora have accomplished so much, it’s easy for many to wonder why a show like this is necessary. Many may wonder why black women feel the need to continually affirm themselves publicly?Believe me, it is extremely necessary. It’s not just that black girls and women continually see negative images of themselves in the media. Yes, that does happen. But more often we don’t see enough images of ourselves cloaked in success. Not in the media and sadly not in real life.This week my husband went to a conference in Boca Raton, Florida. Maya (my daughter) and I tagged along since it was her school’s fall break and my husband’s sessions were only for half a day. It was my first time in Boca and my first time at the resort where the conference was held. Both the city and the resort where we stayed were absolutely stunning. The resort and the gorgeous city were both clearly created for the affluent. There were lots of wealthy families vacationing and having fun. But for 5 days straight, the only black family that I saw in this playground for the rich and fabulous was my own.
Although we had a wonderful time, it would have been even more wonderful if my daughter could have seen other black children having fun with their moms and dads. The experience would have been so much richer if the other black faces she saw weren’t just the housekeepers, hotel staff and resort shuttle bus drivers.
This is not a commentary on the resort. And it’s not a commentary on beautiful Boca Raton or those that are able to afford this luxury. This observation is a commentary that shows that we have not arrived yet, we have not overcome yet and we do have so much further to go to make the dream a reality for all of us – especially those of us with brown skin.
So Black Girls Rock! and other programs that highlight the accomplishments of black women are very necessary. We don’t get to see our own success every day. And when we see it, the world is always too busy to celebrate it.
So I’m thankful for this show that shines a light on the beauty and accomplishments of black women. It helps me tell my daughter that black girls do indeed rock. It’s one thing for me to tell her, but it’s quite another for her to see it with her own eyes.