Growing up there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me in the media. I couldn’t identify with the few positive images that were on TV in the early 90’s. I wanted to see girls who were African or Caribbean and proud that had dark skin and super kinky, long hair and dressed fabulously just like the Halle Berrys, Tyra Banks or Jada Pinketts (no Smith then) of the world.
Those ladies were gorge and fabulous, but only a small percentage of black girls looked like that. Thank God today we have more diverse imagery for young black girls (Hey Lupita!), but there is still so much to be accounted for and so much more that we need to expose our young queens to.
9 Images I Needed To See in Mainstream Media
- More Images of Black Royalty - We have so many queens in our history. We need to know them, see them and study them. These women were feisty, intelligent, dominating beautiful women that didn’t take no for an answer!
- More Images of Successful Women That Aren’t Hypersexualized - PSA: You don’t have to have a butt in a box, shots, squats or be naked to make it in life. You pretty much just have to own it- Be consistent, have a game plan, stick to it, execute and repeat! My WCW for life....
Vashtie Kola - via Ebony
- Diversity in Black Beauty - We need to promote beauty in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures. We tend to put beauty in this narrow, shallow box, defining beauty and telling our young girls this is Beautiful and this is not through the imagery being glorified on social media. Media representation of black beauty should be more inclusive, celebrating a wider array of black women.
- More Black Ballerinas - We all know Misty Copeland and her accomplishments. I’m definitely here for it, but shouldn't we be spotlighting all of those that blazed the trail before her and those that are still dancing their lives away without recognition because they didn’t quite fit that “mold”.
“If you believe you can achieve it. But if you see it you can believe it and probably do it better!”
- More STEMIST- I didn’t even know what STEM was until I was well into my 20’s and out of college. Always hating math, STEM subjects were boring and not creative enough for me. Things have changed, science can be cool and fun and now STEM is a buzzword, however many of our little girls are still missing out and missing the mark.
If there were more images that told the stories of black women in STEM fields and their success, failures and groundbreaking contributions to this world, more of our girls would have aspirations of becoming STEMist and changing the world themselves.
- Women in Male Dominated Careers - This goes back to seeing something in your day-to-day life and then being able to apply it to your reality. More images of black female music super-producers, FBI agents, construction managers, mechanical engineers or even executives in Fortune 500 corporations would inspire our young girls to dream bigger, fight harder against the odds, and understand the possibilities.
- More Successful Black Marriages - Don’t need to go into what the breakdown of the black family unit throughout the black experience has done to our community, but if we we surrounded and engulfed with positive images of happy, loving, uplifting, successful black families we could quite possibly encourage our young girls to say “I want that and I can have that”. I still have hope, we have Blackish—the new black family for the youth .
- No More Angry Black Women - Some black women are actually happy with their lives and love life and having a good time with the people in it. We aren’t all crazy, complaining all-our-lives bag ladies with messed up attitudes, yelling and constantly unhappy with everything. Let’s show some smiling, happy, joyful, giving black women for once….PLEASE Positive Vibes Only!
- More Black Women in the Arts- Growing up, beyond actresses you never really saw any women of color in the arts—no cellist, classic painters, graffiti artists, no women whose works were displayed in the esteemed galleries or museums around the world. We are there we are just unrepresented or underrepresented with no one to tell our stories. I want my daughter to know that this is an option. If she wants to, she can be a successful artist who happens to be black, not a black girl artist.
The miseducation and misrepresentation of black women and girls in the media is very real and still prevalent today. There are no options for colorful, diverse, strong, and positive imagery that truly celebrate black female beauty and excellence. We live in a digital age where they celebrate Bruce Jenner’s beauty but they call the gorgeous, bodacious, and awesomely fierce Serena Williams “too manly”.