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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
There once was a little girl. Her name was LaShawnte. On national television, she told her mother that she thought her skin was ugly. “I don’t want to be dark,” she said.
I watched that footage several times. And each time I felt a deep sadness, one that lived somewhere way back when. I never told anyone that I hated being dark, but it wasn’t hard for me to understand why LaShawnte does did.
Looking at LaShawnte was like looking in the mirror, except I only saw her; she didn’t see me. I wanted to…needed to reflect something else towards her. I needed her to see herself differently. I needed her to see herself in me and much as I saw myself in her. Continue reading “LaShawnte’s Chorus”