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I Don't Believe in Magic

I don’t believe in Black Girl Magic, and maybe I’m to blame. You see, far too often, I’ve learned that we may all be using the same words, but it really doesn’t matter if our language is not the same. According to my dictionary, magic is the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces; having supernatural powers.

And Yes, while I genuinely believe I have superpowers, but they aren’t the type of superpowers you see on tv. My power runs so much deeper than wizards and sorcery. I am indeed a sight behold, but there is so much more to me than what meets the human eye.

I believe First Lady Michelle Obama said it best in her speech at Black Girls Rock:

When I was a girl, I had parents who loved and believed in me, but those doubts still worked their way into my head. and I was always worried about something. Does my hair look right? Am I too tall? Do I raise my hand too much in class? So when folks said a girl like me shouldn’t aspire to go to the very best colleges in the country, I thought ‘Maybe they’re right.’
But eventually, I learned that each of those doubts were like a little test … that I could either shrink away from or rise up to meet and I decided to rise.
Yes, I decided to rewrite those tired old scripts that define too many of us. I decided that I wasn’t bossy; I was confident and strong. I wasn’t loud, I was a young woman with something important to say, and when I looked in the mirror, I saw a tall, beautiful and smart black girl.
Anyone who’s achieved anything in life knows that challenges and failures are necessary components of success. They know that when things get hard, that’s not always a sign that you’re doing something wrong, that’s often a sign that you’re doing something right. Those hard times are what shape you into the person you’re meant to be.

I love Michelle Obama, and it’s probably because, for the first time, I saw someone in the White House who looked like me. She was uncompromisingly black. Her courage to withstand the attacks, shade, and backlash she and her family endured throughout Barack Obama’s presidency said to me, “If she can, then I can.” She was magical to me, even until the evening I went to see her in Philadelphia.

So intelligent, so graceful, so real, so ME. As she talked about her story, I realized that what we have been calling magic wasn’t magic at all. It was sacrifice, it was hard work, it was many tears, sleepless nights, feeling like you might not make it…and still choosing to persist the next day.

I don’t believe in magic, because I know someone paved the way for me. I know someone marched, protested and withstood being trampled underfoot, for me. I know nine little children endured being spat on, yelled at and bullied for me. I know brothers Medgar, Martin, and Malcolm gave their lives for this.

I don’t believe in magic, because I know sister Harriet and Sojourner took the dangerous routes to get to freedom, and I know my grandfather paid with his own life to ensure freedom for my home country. I don’t believe in magic because I know I have a savior who died a bloody death and rose again for me.

I don’t believe in magic. I do believe in miracles, I do believe in Jesus, I do believe in community. But rather than completely do away with the idea of Black Girl Magic, I have developed my own acronym for the word:

M is for Motherhood: Whether or not we have biological children, we are all mothers. Mothers, aunties, cousins, sister friends, who have taken on enormous burdens to get here and continue to lift others up EVEN when it feels like there is no one lifting us up. We pour out, some times from dry, empty cups --squeezing out whatever we have left to make sure everyone else around us is good.

A is for Advocacy: Our place at the table guarantees the voices of the powerless and disenfranchised will be heard.

G is for Generosity: Selflessly giving ourselves to our work, loved ones, and community because we serve a greater purpose than ourselves.

I for Inspiring: Our goal isn’t simply to get the job done, but to role model, inspire and encourage others to be better leaders, friends and sisters to women of all backgrounds.

C is for Community: At the end of the day, I am because we are. I am because you fixed my crown when I stumbled, you told me to pick my head up when I felt ashamed, you encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit, and you told me to fix my weave when my lace was showing.

So MAGIC, Black Girl Magic. That’s you, that’s me. It is operating in a spirit of sisterhood and solidarity.

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