So, I'm one of those people who didn't realize how BLACK I was until this year.
Lately I've been struggling with how I feel on the inside versus how I must carry myself on the outside, and It's not easy.
I'm straight from the suburbs. Like, the green grass, two-lane road, neighborhood association, SUBURBS. Where I'm from, my culture isn't celebrated, it's hardly a thing. When President Obama won, the community was in an uproar. It was shocking to me to know that the place I called "home," wasn't really my home at all.
So, I moved.
When I moved to a bigger city, with a Black Mayor and an entire community of people that looked like me, I suddenly felt like I belonged. That is until I started working.
It was something about 2016 - ohhhh, 2016 - this year brought out my collard green eating, cocoa butter lathering, trap music listening, fist in the air, melanin skin embracing, kinky hair wearing, TRUE BLACK form.
I can't remember the exact moment I realized it. Maybe it was the moment Alton Sterling was murdered. Maybe it was when Donald Trump won the vote of an entire country. Maybe it was the moment that I realized that I couldn't say how I truly felt in my workplace, which is ironic...because I work in MEDIA.
Media outlets set the tone for the entire community, however, I soon realized that is only true as long is it isn't TOO Black of a tone. As all these events were unfolding, I was forced to believe that pointless Facebook and IG posts were my only outlet. You can see one such post here, in which completely shaded my high school, it was ICONIC.
So, as a media personality, I'm torn between how I feel on the inside vs. how I feel, and what I say on the outside. I'm torn between being BLACK and making GREEN. How am I as a Black employee supposed to walk into a building and "pretend" that I feel okay when on the inside I'm dying?
And It's not just me.
There are Black Accountants, Black Teachers, Black Students, Black Engineers, Black PRESIDENTS (for another month anyways), and we all feel the same way. So, what's the answer Sway?
I was raised as a devout Christian, so when things below look horrible, it's the things above that I find comfort in. Just knowing that no man, no matter the color, is in control - that's what dries my tears.
My new awareness of my Blackness has motivated me, and made me 10x more confident in my own skin. When I'm "Working While Black" - I remember that I still have a voice. I can either choose to let the fact that I can't say what I want from 10am-2pm discourage and silence me, or I can use the other 20 hours in a day to express how I really feel. While I don't always have the power to say whatever I want to say, just the fact that I'm a 23 year old young Black woman with a predominately Caucasian audience is a BLESSING.
Stay Black & Stay Beautiful.
*insert fist emoji*