Manufacturing Black Girl Magic



When I was in elementary school my favorite thing to do was go up to the chalkboard and show off my right answers in any subject, but by fifth grade I loathed & refused to do it. By then I’d hit puberty & every moment spent with my back turned to my classmates was another moment of snickers, mockery, & body shaming. I could hear it while I was working, “why is her butt  like that?” So it was no surprise when the tiniest & palest of my all white classmates came to me & blurted, “you’ve got a huge butt & it shakes when you erase. Why does it look like that?” Having been the resident pancake ass in my family, I never considered myself to have a big butt, nor was I ever self conscious about it. But the consistent teasing & shaming at the hands of my non- POC peers resulted in me hating my butt & my curves. From then until high school I wore loose fitting jeans or long skirts and boxy shirts and sweaters to hide my shape. Now fast forward to 2015 where white women are bending over backwards & physically harming themselves to look remotely close to what natural features Black women have. But Black women aren’t credited as the trendsetters, The Kardashians are. We’re praising Kim for paving the way for wide hips and curvy shapes, as if Black women haven’t had fat asses for centuries, but I digress.

In conversation, there are some who seem to feel that my anger is misplaced and that I should be glad that white women are emulating Black women’s appearance, rather than mocking it; but what I’m seeing is far from a celebration of the Black body. As a woman of color it is incredibly frustrating to watch non-poc teen girls obsess over features that they have taunted Black girls about for years. The same features that were enhanced in caricatures of racist propaganda, the full lips that were drawn red and wide across charcoal Black faces modeled to look like monkeys. The same round, large behind that made Sarah Baartman the Hottentot Venus her caged as an exhibit, an attraction for the pleasure and intrigue of white eyes. So no I don’t feel that my frustrations are misplaced. More than anything I’m truly tired. I am tired of Black girl magic being selectively bottled for redistribution into the hands of everyone but Black women. If it’s not non-poc women who want our lips and butts, it’s the gay community believing that they are channeling their inner Black women, when they whip out the sass.

This is not the grocery store or Burger King, you can’t have it your way with Black women.  Society cannot continue to pick and choose which parts of Black women they would like to use for themselves. Those full lips and wide hips come with a receipt, but the ones WOC are born with come with the burden of fighting your way through a white world as a POC. It comes with loud comments and lingering looks, assumptions that because we were born with curves we’re inherently sexual beings. Our features are a gift that come with a price that we don’t choose, but with which we have learned to maneuver this world, so the frustrations of Black women who are subjected to the streams of #KylieJennerLipChallenge on their timelines and newsfeed are justified. When we were shamed by society for years about our God given bodies, how are we supposed to react to the news that apparently our features are in style, just not on us. But it’s all good, because long after this trend fades, Black girls will still have full lips and fat asses and kinky hair and chocolate skin and intellect to boot. We’ll still walk down the street like we’ve got diamonds at the meeting of our thighs. Because we are treasures and try as you might, Black Girl Magic just cannot be captured.

13 Comments on Manufacturing Black Girl Magic

  1. Crissi
    April 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Yasssss! This post is everything. These two sentences really hit home: “Those full lips and wide hips come with a receipt, but the ones WOC are born with come with the burden of fighting your way through a white world as a POC. It comes with loud comments and lingering looks, assumptions that because we were born with curves we’re inherently sexual beings.” Story of my life, smh.

    Thank you for this, Ariel!


    • Ariel Leconte
      May 15, 2015 at 6:23 pm (2 years ago)

      Yay! I’m glad you liked it!
      Thank you for reading <3

  2. Charlotte
    April 27, 2015 at 2:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Yesssss! Tell ’em Ariel. I love this article and am going to share it with everyone.
    When non POC appropriate things from our culture, they always mess it up.

  3. Sanaa Brooks
    May 9, 2015 at 12:11 pm (2 years ago)

    This is great! Exactly how I feel! Smh. One minute they’re laughing and the next they wanna be just like us? I’ve never been made fun of for it, but I keep thinking to myself, I’ve always had lips! Now all of a sudden it’s “in style”? Everything white folks do is “in style”? It’s even to a point where I’ve heard them say J Lo made big butts “in style”. Pause … WHAT? Sigh …

    ~ Sanaa

    • Ariel Leconte
      May 15, 2015 at 6:22 pm (2 years ago)

      It’s insanely frustrating. Things are apparently irrelevant until discovered by white people. Like… -_-

      Thank You for reading<3

  4. Kaywanda Lamb
    May 15, 2015 at 9:51 am (2 years ago)

    I can totally relate. I was fortunate enough not to break under the picking from other kids. But, I credit my strong grandmother for that. I knew I was smart and a good girl and they were just jealous. However, I didn’t have the body changes like the other girls and so they tried to make fun of that. I’m still skinny and have rounded out just fine. Now, they all want to be like me. I dont say that to brag. I say that to show how life works. We must teach our young women to live themselves no matter what they look like. Kudos. Great post! #BLMgirl

    • Ariel Leconte
      May 15, 2015 at 6:20 pm (2 years ago)

      Exactly! I love that “teach young women to love themselves no matter what they look like.” Thank you for reading <3

  5. Ginger
    May 16, 2015 at 10:44 am (2 years ago)

    So glad that Bloggers Like Me led me to your page! This is phenomenal!

    • Ariel Leconte
      May 31, 2015 at 7:51 am (2 years ago)

      Ah I’m always so glad to hear when someone enjoys! Thanks you :)

  6. Yetti
    May 19, 2015 at 10:38 pm (2 years ago)

    “I am tired of Black girl magic being selectively bottled for redistribution into the hands of everyone but Black women.” – Ariel, this was perfectly said. Enjoyed this post. So happy somebody put our thoughts into words.

    • Ariel Leconte
      May 31, 2015 at 7:54 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you Yetti! I’m glad you liked it :)

  7. Jasmine
    May 19, 2015 at 10:48 pm (2 years ago)

    I love EVERYTHING about this post. Too often, non-POC are celebrated for having a few features that black people have and it made me realize just how amazing we are. True enough, this society tries to pick us apart and remind us why we’re not as beautiful as other races but we have the most influence on so called beauty standards. Black women will ALWAYS exude a sense of magic that cannot be bought and that is more than enough reason for me to choose to celebrate being a black woman. Thank you so much for this post.

    • Ariel Leconte
      May 31, 2015 at 10:40 am (2 years ago)

      Yes omg yes on Black women are always influencing beauty standards and sometimes I think we don’t even realize it! Thank you! I’m glad you liked the post :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *