Meet the black millennial female. She’s making money moves, smashing the patriarchy, and proving black girl magic is more than just a hashtag or catchphrase.
These women, from Cardi B and Serena Williams, to Lauren Underwood (youngest black woman in Congress), know their voice matters, that their stories and perspectives are important, and how they are indeed supposed to be in the room, on stage, the tennis court, or in the Senate and the House.
Despite African Americans only making up about 14 percent of the millennial population, melanated women are sprinkling black girl solid gold in the entertainment industry, the political system, and in sports.
The representation of black women is everything… but there is also a pain associated with millennials and their superpowers. The witness and rise of police brutality, tragedies of injustices, and racism have all been at the forefront of this generation; a generation, which continues to face challenges in employment, wages, and education, in comparison to white counterparts; a generation stereotyped as too bossy, too bourgeois, too stern, too strong, too difficult, and too demanding.
In the sports world, we have seen the controversy surrounding Serena Williams and the cartoon which portrayed her as the “Angry Black Woman.” Drawn as a temperamental baby with exaggerated, grotesque features, the cartoon insinuated Williams was having an adult temper tantrum over tennis code violations and losing the match. But let’s be honest, instead of Williams being seen as the badass black woman, mother and champion she is, who found a referee’s call upsetting and reacted, she was ostracized and condemned in ways dissimilar to how other tennis players are typically treated. Williams has been in the game a long time. She has a confidence about her that is admirable. She stands up for herself and isn’t afraid to speak her truth. That should be praised!
Lauren Underwood spoke her truth, used her voice, and is now sitting pretty and purposefully in The House of Representatives. This former nurse had to jump through hoops amongst the white and wealthy of the political system to get to where she is, but she got there. She is now using her position to fight for the right of health care to belong to everyone. Yes! Magic for sure.
Cardi B’s come up is something to be recognized as well. Whether you care for her music or not, she went from being an exotic dancer to a Grammy award-winning musician and performer. Her story matters. Again, the road wasn’t easy but here she is “drippin’ in finesse.” Either way, hustle is hustle. Give credit to where credit is due.
Existing in a society that stamps stereotypes and forces labels onto black females, whether in the limelight or not, it is an exhausting experience to constantly deal with and leaves no room for the most minuscule of mistakes. However, as long as we do not sit down or shut up (because we don’t have to) our passion, purpose, and even our pain matters. There’s a stark reality that the Becky’s with the good hair is being praised, getting the job done, progressing in love and life and can never do any wrong in comparison to the likes of the Cyntoia Browns of our time. The struggle is real in these streets and so is the side eye we’re not supposed to show.
Society needs to acknowledge the illuminating glow of a black woman, minus the stigmas. Truth be told, honoring our progress should be celebrated and embraced, loudly and unapologetically.
We have known for centuries that the culture has been dealt a deck of some pretty dirty cards, but our ancestors did not sit at the back of the bus, did not fight for the opportunity to rock the vote or endure bleeding hearts, minds, and bodies in a field of cotton, so we could simply say, “It is what it is.” Nah.
What it is…is going to be us playing the Hell out of the cards we were dealt, moving mountains with our magic, and not looking back, because listen and watch closely, the black millennial females aren’t going that way. We carry resilience in our blood and do not crumble at the rocks that have been thrown at us, instead we are building from painful experiences and turning setbacks into progressive comebacks.
This feature was submitted by Jasmín (Jazzy) Nelson
Jasmín (Jazzy) Nelson was born a Jersey girl, raised in San Diego, and now lives in Orange County. She is a true “Jazzy” of all trades. This multifaceted mother and girl boss keeps busy as a freelance writer, photographer, Life Coach, independent paralegal, and Juris Doctorate candidate. When she’s not advocating for justice, self love, and practicing winning arguments in the shower, you’ll most likely spot her doing yoga, catching good vibes, or riding waves at the beach with her son.
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