Dorothy Dandridge dipped one toe into one end of a swimming pool and panic ensued,

At the other end of the pool Simone Manuel emerged with a gold medal… magic


we are black girls

and we are magic

because we are many

and the voices we hear are many

we are told to be soft enough to be desired

hard enough to survive

smart enough to understand the trouble

dumb enough to shield fragile egos

skinny enough to be Western

wide enough to be African

beautiful enough to be exotic

ugly enough not to care

rich enough to be resilient

poor enough not to threaten

loud enough to be heard

silent enough not to be feared

not to be too fast to be women

not to be too strong to be human


we are black women

we need to be angry enough for our children

we need to be calm enough for our children

we need to be laughing with our children

we don’t need to be weeping for our children

we who have swum across the oceans

we who have trekked across the desert

we are saartjie and semanya

we are moremi and michelle

we are nzinga and condolezza and wangari and harriet and maya and johnson-sirleaf

we are the girl in the photograph and the girl on the ocean bed and the girl on the mountaintop

we are all this

we are black women

we must be magic



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