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Anyone who follows or engages me in social media, knows that my social media personality is one part Dr. Yaba Blay, two parts Black fool. I like to clown. And I like to laugh. I started using the hashtag #ProfessionalBlackGirl as a way to mark what’s ours as Black girls – a way of saying, “What we have here is a case of peak Black girlness.” You see it. You feel it. You may not have known what to call it or maybe you mistakenly called it something else like “ghetto” or “hood” or “ratchet.” But in naming it “Professional,” I recognize the skill, the talent, the effort, the energy, the beauty, and the power in it – whatever “it” is – and by marking it “Professional,” I recognize that it deserves acknowledgment, if not respect. (more…)

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by Tarana Burke

Professional Black Girls…

…tell a whole story or make a statement with just their eyes and a maybe a few syllables strung together.

Professional Black Girl1Sometimes we are too emotional (sad, happy, frustrated, annoyed…) to get the exact words together – but a good ‘hmph’ and an eyebrow raise will give you all of the information you need. (more…)

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Dr. Yaba Blay Launches “Professional Black Girl,” An Original Video Series

#ProfessionalBlackGirl Archive

DURHAM, N.C. — Dr. Yaba Blay, renowned activist, cultural critic, and producer, launches Professional Black Girl, an original video series created to celebrate everyday Black womanhood, and to smash racist and “respectable” expectations of how they should “behave.”

Seventeen Black women and girls ranging in age from 2- to 52-years-old were interviewed for the series. Each episode features a candid discussion with personalities such as Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Rapsody; Joan Morgan, author of the Hip-Hop feminist classic When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost; and 13-year-old world traveler Nahimana Machen, sharing what it means to be a “Professional Black Girl.”

“‘Professional Black Girl’ looks like Taraji P. Henson at the 2015 Emmys jumping up to hug Viola Davis. It looks like Mary J. Blige and Taraji and Kerry Washington in that Apple commercial. It looks like me rolling up to a room full of people in Berlin to speak with my bamboo earrings on,” explains Tarana Burke, a non-profit consultant and fashion blogger featured in the series.

Limited edition Professional Black Girl merchandise, created in partnership with Philadelphia Printworks, is available now on philadelphiaprintworks.com. The first full episode, featuring Dr. Blay, will air September 9, 2016, with an episode airing each Friday on YouTube and yabablay.com until December 23, 2016.

The terminology that is often used to describe and define Black girls—such as bad, grown, fast, ghetto, and ratchet—are non-affirming and are words that are intended to kill the joy and magic within all Black girls,” says Dr. Blay. “We are professional code-switchers, hair-flippers, hip-shakers, and go-getters. We hold Ph.Ds and listen to trap music; we twerk and we work. We hold it down while lifting each other up, and we don’t have to justify or explain our reason for being. This is us.”

Follow #ProfessionalBlackGirl across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to celebrate and affirm the everyday excellence of Black women and girls.

For more information, or to interview Dr. Yaba Blay, please contact yaba@yabablay.com.

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