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A Black Woman’s Interlude.

Teisha Wilson
Author Egypt Terry, outside in her element, being a black woman.

This is my ode to black girls, like me. To the ones who don’t wear makeup, or do. Or the ones who wear their hair short or down their back. Or the ones who prefer sports bras over push-ups. This is to the ones who aren’t “fully” women- whether ripped from them or gracefully chosen.

I remember growing up and identity possessing much significance, especially when it came to who I was to become. From young, I was labeled. Young black girl with a twang to her talk, a snap to her neck; I was ‘sassy’ and ‘grown’. Young black girl whose tongue tickled preciseness and articulacy; I was a ‘fraud’ or ‘a wannabe’. I’d sit and wonder how the shows depicted my kin. Wigs foreign to the ancestor, sewn tight to their scalps and their skin powdered and highlighted bright. They spoke, and exuded foot prints from their backs and hands directing their mouths that held years of caricatural behaviors. Ones I had believed were bred from my cultures own liberation and comfortability. I was conflicted on how I must present, and who I must become in a world that tears people like me piece by piece to fit their needs. A world of subtle subordination and degradation.

Going into middle school, with the introduction of expression in a mass presence, I became even more conflicted on what it means to be a ‘Black Woman’. Some days I’d wear my hair short or my clothes baggy, sometimes I’d love to let my braids hang past my shoulders or my gold dangling from my ear lobes. Consequently, I was reduced to names and references like a ‘bird’ or a ‘hoe’ or a ‘dyke’ or ‘confused’ and it even further caused uncertainty in who I am. The girls who were considered more attractive, or even ones worth listening to without having to lift their necks, wore feminine clothing and were of a brighter complexion and hair the texture of what’d be presumed clouds. 

That wasn’t me. 

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My hair stuck to my scalp, and coiled at the touch of a water droplet and my skin bore out my 400+ years of African American ancestors. I had to discover my own idea of what it means to be a ‘Black Woman’. Without the sole baseness of the sweetness of my tongue, or the softness of my hair but instead on what I chose to believe, say or accept.

I now identify as a non-binary Black Woman. My reasoning being the way my body exudes femininity and centuries of child-birthing and braided scalps and cracked hands but my insides reflect my fluidity. I don’t attach myself to a presumed label. But I know how I am viewed, and the experiences I share with my sisters that cannot be replicated or familiar to the outside. I honor the nuances of what it means to be me, to the outside and within myself and my own social encounters. In my work through Black spaces and constant conversations I have with loved ones, I expose how the Black Woman isn’t a monolith. It isn’t something to be found or exchanged. We speak with slang and wear nails as long as a number two pencil, which we use to write novels or lyrics. We can wear hair just above our ears or low below, blur out the world with headphones or constantly engage.

Black Woman, it is true to who you are and how you chose to carry through the world in yourself, along with the generational legacies that lay before you. 

And Black Woman, you are enough.

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About the Contributors
Egypt Terry
Egypt Terry is a senior journalist at the Urban Assembly for Media Studies. They enjoy vlogging their adventures, talking everything Black and Teen culture, and creating content for their blog.
Teisha Wilson
Teisha Wilson is a senior at the Urban Assembly for Media Studies. She loves to play basketball, exploring controversial topics, and enjoys listening to music.
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