By Shantel Rankine
To the Young Black Girl, turned Young Black Woman
“Some say the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice, I say the darker the flesh and the deeper the roots”- Tupac Shakur
To the young Black girl, you are beautiful. Your beauty is not only skin-deep, your beauty comes from the generations of women before you, women who walked with pride and grace. This same pride and grace is within you, however, this world has a tendency to make you ashamed of these traits. There will be people around who tell you that you are not good enough and you have to settle for second best. I am here to tell you that you deserve the best and you never have to settle. Try not losing yourself and strive to be the best version of you – that, you can be.
To society your curly hair, full lips, brown skin and independence is puzzling. As a young black girl the features you were blessed with, you were taught to hate. So you may want to lighten your skin, sew European or Asian hair to your scalp and forget where we came from, just to be accepted. It would be easy if the rejection came from a group of people who do not understand, however, the rejection comes from within your own community. You may realize that embracing who you are is more difficult than you think. The opportunity to see an authentic version of a Black woman in the media comes few and far between.
To the young Black woman, you are beautiful. Although over the years you may have had many moments that made you feel moments of inadequacy, moments where you have felt that your skin was too dark or your hair was just too nappy; at that moment you should know that the uniqueness in your beauty is unmatched. As a young black woman maybe in the corporate world you may feel the need to “turn off your blackness”, but ask yourself “why do I need to turn off a quality I was born with? Then you may remember as a young Black girl you had to turn it off to be accepted.
The struggle of the young Black girl has now spilled over into womanhood. So now you may wear a 22-inch Brazilian weave to hide who you are, or contour your nose to fit the Eurocentric idea of beauty. Underneath all of that, you can still be the young black woman whose majestic pride and grace may confuse many. The strength and your willingness to be the best you can be does not have to be watered down, it should be embraced. So stand tall young Black woman.
To the young black girl turned young black woman, YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND FLY HIGH, there are no stop signs in the sky.