Written By Breigh, – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series
I know… it’s kinda wild that it’s 2021 and we’re still experiencing “firsts” in this country. And now we have the FIRST Black Female Vice President in office!
I just want to take the time out to reflect on my own personal moments where the beauty of representation influenced me in powerful ways and hopefully you can resonate with some of this.
I think the first and most profound representation for me was my mother. You see, my parents divorced when I was still in diapers so I mostly just remember being raised by a single, Black mother. And she did not minimize or hide her independence and strength.
While working full time at the post office, she came and sat with me for the entire school day on her off-days, enrolled me in every sport and extra-curricular you could think of (even figure skating), and did not miss ONE beat.
Growing up around such a strong Black mama really helped me internalize what being a Black woman means– an embodiment of strength, independence, nurturance, sacrifice, connection and love. I’m so grateful to have had this representation at a really young age.
I also have a creative as a father who played drums for a rock band for most of his life, so I was able to internalize a sense of fluidity and flexibility in my Blackness as well.
But the reality is, that representation was still limited.
I still went to a majority Black school with majority White teachers. I still competed in figure skating where I was the only little Black girl. I still could only count on one hand the amount of family members that pursued education beyond high school– let alone higher education. And when I turned on the television, I barely saw any characters that looked like me… (at least any that I liked anyways).
But then, in middle and high school, I developed a friend group where their parents were lawyers and doctors and pilots and government officials and my worldview completely changed. Then there was That’s So Raven…
then there was Penny Proud…
Then there was Oprah..
Then there was Beyonce…
Then there was Barack Obama.
For me and how I’ve developed, each Black person that I’ve met or witnessed that is seemingly defying the odds of what this country allows us to be gives me permission to be better– to stop limiting myself.
They teach us as children to “shoot for the stars” but what happens when you’ve never seen anyone who looks like you land on the moon? Or what happens when you’ve witnessed people who look like you attempt to shoot for the stars but get their gun stolen and then shot with it?
There’s both so much fear and so much power in doing things that have never been done. I’ve been personally crippled and debilitated by that fear.
But it’s the Kamalas and the Black Panthers and the nurturing Black mamas and the Black doctors and the Katherine Johnsons that keep me going– that keep me motivated…
That keep me evolving.
They help me know and see that I can’t limit myself to what this country wants me to be or who this country has painted my people out to be. That there’s more to me than what I see in the media or DON’T see in the media.
I’ve seen so many people say “It’s not about the representation, it’s about the work” in reference to Kamala Harris and I think we’re minimizing the power of representation.
Of COURSE it’s about the work.
But the work is so much more powerful because of what she represents.
Black women everywhere get to see a Black woman in one of the highest positions in this country and I have so much hope that this will ignite a movement of elevation for us.
Because seeing is believing.
And we need to believe in ourselves right now and forever more.
Welcome to the White House, Madam Vice President.
You’re the first, but we KNOW you won’t be the last.
That’s the power of representation
– Breigh, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series