This past Tuesday on August 22, millions of TV screens were filled with the seventh annual television broadcast of Black Girls Rock!, an award show that promotes the achievements in film, TV, music, activism, etc. by Black girls and women.
Each year, the show brings about stars, well-known figures, and everyday workers, young and old alike, to prove that there is everlasting beauty, strength, vulnerability, and skill by Black female entertainers, activists, and life-workers. Some of the highlighted figures of this year’s award show ranged from actress and young activist Yara Shahidi, actress, writer, director, producer and web series/TV show creator, Issa Rae, congresswoman Maxine Waters, singer/songwriter/musician Roberta Flack, passionate songstress/lyricist/producer Solange, and a plethora of others.
However, it is not only the show that brings together the amazing bunch of girls and women yearly. Everyday, we see Black female entertainers supporting and loving each other. If it’s not like actress, singer, and always camera-ready Zendaya and Yara taking cute videos together, actresses Taraji P. Henson, Niecy Nash, and Tracee Ellis Ross sending out cute comments to each other through their Instagram pages, it certainly has to be Auntie Maxine encouraging us all through her strong words to reclaim our time and that no matter how big an obstacle, if one comes for us, we’ll come right back—and win.
Nonetheless, with all the love broadcast between us, it is no secret that Black female relationships are seen as negative. Various writings, such as the article, “Why Can’t Black Women Just Be Friends?” by Shala Marks, questions why Black female relationships prove often if not typically futile. Mixed with the “competitions” of outshining one another and the ideology that Black girls and women can succeed independently, we are grouped to be hateful. While conversation about the difficulties of our relationships is definitely not a bad thing, we must also support the narrative that we are not the “angry,” or “unapproachable” bunch that we are labeled as.
From shows like Mara Brock Akil’s Girlfriends to Issa Rae’s Insecure, Black female relationships are showcased as encouraging, sometimes brutally honest, but all-in-all loving and an important aspect to our collective progress. It is not only fictional, but actual friendships that we see with Black female celebrities and average-everyday women that prove Black girls and women have so much love to give and have been giving it throughout all time.
In a world where women are taught to see each other as competition, it is overwhelming wonderful to see uplifting, nurturing, the reinforcement of strength and character, and all-around love between us. As Black girls and women, trekking through this world with the weights of racism, sexism, colorism, and a lot of other adverse isms, it feels good to know that while there are many who want us to push against each other, we can come together and breathe life into songs, films, TV shows, books, and each other.