Welcome or welcome back to Discussions with Dede! In honor of it being the last week of Black History Month, I will be double-posting. I hope everybody’s BHM was eventful, positively of course. I have been trying to buy from my beautiful black-owned business, and read books written by black authors. I have enjoyed celebrating black excellence in all these different ways. I love seeing all my beautiful black queens and kings thriving in their field. When I was watching the inauguration in January, Amanda Gorman made me so happy. I was so excited to see a fellow black writer/ poet speak so eloquently and gently. She made history as the youngest inaugural poet. EVER. A BLACK woman did that, y’all. She is so graceful with her words and her presence. I want to be like her: calm but powerful. The next week I watched a video of Nia Dennis. She is an amazing UCLA gymnast, and she is #BlackGirlMagic. She has so much confidence, flair, and attitude! That woman is fierce, ok. She knew her routine like the back of her hand, and she represented our culture so well. She had everyone doing her routine with her, even the audience! She almost had a perfect score, the judges were just hating imo. Both of these black women are killing it at what they do, and they are making us black girls proud. They both exude so much confidence and gracefulness, but in different ways and fields. We are all different, but we are magic! Some of us are loud, some quiet, some curvy, some skinny, some short, some tall; that’s what makes us unique, sis. I love us, as you can tell.
I feel like as a group, we just get stuff done, like it's unreal. We have to deal with a lot from society being black and a woman, but we do not let that get us down. There are alot of black women I love and respect, and they inspire me to do better and dream big.
There are a couple of black women I want to highlight today in no specific order:)
First we have the beautiful and extremely talented Issa Rae. I’ve been rocking with Issa for a minute, and I love everything about her. Until Insecure, I had never related to a black woman on present-day TV. Most of the black leads I saw were super confident, sexy, ya know. Issa is definitely all of those things listed, but she is also pretty awkward and sarcastic. She gets easily tongue- tied, and she talks a lot. She’s quirky, and I love that. Being an awkward black girl is super weird, because society has a “mold” that black women should fit into but some of us don’t. She trips over her own two feet, and sometimes she says things at inappropriate times (which is hilarious btw.) For the first time, I saw myself in the media and I felt so validated. Again, not all black women are the same and this show depicts that perfectly. Not only is she an amazing actress, she’s also an amazing person (from what I’ve seen). Maybe it’s just me, but I love celebrities that live in silence. I love those celebrities who live in some sort of anonymity, but still do projects and interviews. They show you what they want you to see, but they keep the rest to themselves. If I was a celebrity, I would definitely be the silent one. I don’t really like to talk to alot of people anyways, so it's a win- win for me Y’all only gonna see me when I want you to, but if I don’t, you won’t. Issa is a perfect example of this; sis is probably engaged or married but she hasn't confirmed or denied. I also love how willing she is to teach others how to make it in the media industry. She has a whole master class that teaches people how to make it in Hollywood. In this generation, people are so stingy with their information because they want to be the only ones succeeding. It makes no sense to me how people keep that type of information to themselves. What’s the point of being famous if you can’t help others achieve their goals? The odds are already stacked against us as black people, so why not help others reach their own potential. Each one teaches one, that should be the motto. She is helping others get as big as her and that's beautiful. She also just seems like a dope person to be around, and I definitely want to meet her one day. I feel like she’s one of those celebrities that you see on a bus or at a random store. She seems super chill, and I can’t wait until season 5 of Insecure! I’m sad its ending but I know she’s on to some bigger things. One question tho: are y’all #TeamIssa or #TeamMolly? I’m mostly Issa, but she was sometimes trippin’ last season ngl. Molly too, but we already know how she is (love her tho). Imma talk about Insecure one day for sure. Also, I love how she was natural for the whole show. When the show began, she had a super short type 4 hair but her hair is really long now. We’ve been around for her whole natural hair journey, so that’s pretty special. Sorry, if that was long I just love her so much!
Next, we got my auntie Madame herself, Yvonne Orji. I love Aunty Yvonne like she is part of my own family. I like Yvonne, but tbh Molly be getting on my nerves so much. Yvonne, tho, is unmatched. She lives in her truth, and she is very open about her faith. I respect someone who stays true to themselves and their morals even after they get famous. I hate how people clown her for being a virgin, why are you making fun of her? She’s rich and you still live with your parents at 40, but anyways. I love that she refuses to settle for just anyone, and she deserves a good man of God that treats her well. Her podcast, Jesus and Jollof, that she does with one of her close friends Luvvie Ajayi-Jones, is one of my favorites. My older sister put me on in June, and I’ve been listening ever since. They are both so introspective and insightful, and they give such good advice. They are making Nigeria so proud, and their podcast helps me think so deeply about different issues. Also, her HBO comedy special, Momma I Made It!, was hilarious and inspiring for young Nigerian creatives everywhere. I feel like it’s very hard to step out by faith and be a creative, but I believe it’s worth it in the long-run if you’re happy. I’ll definitely be buying her book, “Bamboozled by Jesus”, when it comes out and tell y’all my thoughts about it. The way I’m talking about her it is as if I’m her publicist lol. Idc I support all black women, and she’s Nigerian too if you didn't know. Aunty Yvonne, I love you ma.
The list would be incomplete without adding the one one and only… Ms. Regina King. Man, I can I go on and one about this woman. She is a trend-setter ok. I used to love seeing her make appearances in different 90’s shows, and she hasn’t aged a bit! She deserves all the accolades for her talent in directing and acting. I have yet to watch One Night in Miami or If Beale Street Could Talk, but I have watched many of her other movies. She was in Poetic Justice, 227, Watchmen, she voiced in the Boondocks. She also was in Boyz n the Hood, Seven Seconds, Friday, This Christmas. Mrs. Regina King has done it all, and that’s not even all the movies she starred in/ directed. She directs and acts, and not a lot of people can do both well. She has several Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Primetime Emmy awards, the list can go on, and she has been nominated for more this year. If you look it up, that is the most awards won for any black performer. A BLACK woman did that. The woman is so talented, and she deserves all the respect and praise.
Now, there is no way I can continue without talking about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie… that name is powerful and you have to say it all. You can’t just call her Chimamanda. You must call her full name abeg, Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie. And she makes you say her full name, all of it. We may not know anything about her personal life/home life, but one thing she will always remind us of is her name, and I love that. I can’t even imagine how many comments she got about her name, but she never changed it for anyone. I look up to people that refuse to change for anybody because our society is set on having people shrink and conform. Especially black women. I remember watching her video “The Danger of a Single Story” video in 6th grade and again in college. I was mesmerized by her beauty but also her intelligence. She was able to articulate her thoughts so well, and she never stumbled over her words. She spoke with so much confidence and she commanded attention. She never rushed her words either, she took her time. I replay her TedTalks all the time, because I want to be like her. She paved the way for the rest of us Nigerian writers to go forward in this dream and take it seriously. Also, the way she talks about feminism is amazing. I feel like feminism has a very negative connotation and she addresses that very eloquently. The feminist theory had never been about how women do not need men or women are better than men, it’s about how we should be equal. For me, if your feminism does not include everyone, especially black women, I don’t want no parts. She addresses that concept of inclusive/intersectional feminism in the book and the TedTalk, which is the way I like to talk and think about feminism. I also appreciate how she claps back at ignorant people in her interviews. In one of her interviews in France, the French interviewer was asking her if they have libraries in Nigeria (idiot) and the crowd already knew what was up. She said very lowly but without skipping a beat, “It is people like you that give French people a bad name”. Ouch. I feel like people forget who they are talking to, and that lady forgot that Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie is still very much Nigerian. We can insult anybody and everybody. However, she still kept it very classy, which says alot about her character. Me, on the other hand, I definitely do not have the patience for that nonsense and ignorance. But, Ms. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an amazing person with more patience than I have lol. I have so many other black women to talk about, but I feel like this is already pretty long.
Some honorable mentions: Viola Davis, Ryan Destiny, Sza, Teyana Taylor, Lizzo, Normani, Sevyn, Kelly Rowland, Jasmine Sullivan, Lauryn Hill, etc. We are killing the game right now, and we look so good while we’re doing it. Whenever I get insecure about anything, from my skin tone to my personality I look to these women. Most of these women are of a darker skin complexion, and they are not looking for society’s validation. They do not care if you think they’re pretty or ugly because they’re darker, that’s your own business. I’m tired of looking to society to validate me or tell me I’m pretty, I’m finding that love inside of myself. I have found that colorism definitely hurts, but I’m done looking for people to validate me and tell me “I’m pretty even though I’m darker”. It is long overdue for us to embrace our beautiful dark skin tone that glows in the sun, girl. These darker skin women have paved the way for me, and now it is time for me to go forward and do the same for others.
Thank you so much for reading! It means a whole lot to me. One question for the comments: Who has been the most influential black woman in your life? Ok bye, see you next time:)