The world insists being a woman of color is a malady, something to apologize for or fix quickly through assimilation. Change your voice. Change your hair. And by God, be anything but “too black.” Close your eyes to injustices and seek the illusion of distractions. You are too powerless to make a difference. Slowly, the system of white supremacy wants you to disappear, until you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror, caramel brown skin fading under the weight of sadness. Screw that! You are here to reign, not resign yourself to mere existence.
Yet, my darling, rebelling against this kind of systemic violence daily does not come easily. There is a price. It means walking away from the safety others seek and embracing bravery. America claims to reward independence, but do not be easily fooled, anyone who looks like you must create their own opportunities. Years ago, Nana told me I would have to work harder than white folks; sadly, I must repeat this same message to you.
Still, do not dismay. While I am describing your life ahead as imbued with challenges, these will not crush you. Your ancestors, your fore mamas, endured nefarious brutalities meant to annihilate them with a steadfast resolve. I can hear Dr. Maya Angelou’s eloquent reminder echoing in the recesses of my mind: “I come as one, I stand as 10,000.” Remember these words, beloved, hold onto them as fear threatens to overtake you.
Baby, when you build your company, or stand in righteous truth as an artist, you not only carry the ancestors, but make a way for the babies yet to come. Obstacles do not diminish your potential, they enhance it. What would crush others, strengthens you. God has given you everything you need to clear a path cutting through the harshness of America. Everyday black women rise up, making a way out of no way, and so shall you, too, dear heart.
Yours in Eternal Love,
Emelda De Coteau
Emelda De Coteau is a loving wife, mama, creative, and believer seeking God anew in each moment. She is the founder of the inspirational and faith blog, Live In Color. Emelda is a columnist for Beautifully Said Magazine, contributing writer at Our Words Collaborative, co-founder of #WomenCreativesChat (launching Nov.10 on Instagram), and founding member of Black Womyn Rising, a radical organizing collective for Black womyn and girls.