written by Leandra Williams
Angry, irritated, aggressive, loud… we’ve all heard these words before. However, these terms hit differently when describing the “behavior or actions” of a Black Woman. Historically, we as Black Women have been conditioned not to display any type of hostility or irritation towards anyone (other than our Black Men of course); or we risk being labeled as “The Angry Black Woman”. Even in 2019, when there’s been a pivotal shift in the way we love and view ourselves; I notice one aspect of ourselves that we haven’t given ourselves permission to do, which is to be free in our feelings, and yes… that means being rightfully angry sometimes. Today we’ve been able to bathe in our success, our different shades of skin color, admire Black Love, and education.
We’ve been able to let our natural hair blow in the wind and dare a Becky to say something about it or try to touch it. We’ve fought alongside our Black Men and protested openly against Police Brutality; yet I still see Black Women internalizing their pain and frustrations. Whether we’re frustrated over our finances, our personal relationships, careers, or the president and his antics; it still seems to be either a tiny voice in our head, or a voice in real life, telling us to “calm down”. Don’t get me wrong, my message here today isn’t to tell Black Women to just say screw it and get yourself upset over any situation; but what I am saying is when something hits the fan, you have a right to be authentically angry, sad or disappointed, without fear of being judged. Too many times I’ve seen our sisters stress themselves out over trying to be the “perfect or calm” girlfriend/wife. When in reality we are suppressing our true feelings and in terms suppressing our true selves. I know we haven’t felt that we’ve ever had the space or the freedom, to truly act on our frustrations, because there’s camera phones everywhere, the Shade Room is real, and let’s be honest; sometimes we can even overreact. But what I’m mostly expressing is, if everyone else on the planet has the space to be angry, even over the smallest things; why don’t we have that right yet?
Time and time again we’ve expressed to the world the issues that were occurring, long before the “woke” culture emerged. Yet, we still get treated as if we’ve always been silent about our pain. I had a mentor advise me that at my new job, I should focus on making my White colleagues comfortable with me. The statement by itself made me angry, and the fact that I felt I couldn’t fully express myself; made me want to write to my fellow sisters in the world. With all these obstacles we’ve been able to overcome, we still have society policing our feelings, or reactions and ultimately still policing us.
We should all pick our battles wisely of course but let’s not sugar coat the facts. When we suppress how we feel, we teach others that we will tolerate someone belittling our circumstances. I’m sorry ladies, but we’ve come too far to let something so crucial to our basic human instincts, to be compromised because AmeriKKKa still has a problem with Black Women being free in all things. Sexuality, Financially, Economically, and Emotionally, we have a right to live our truth in all moments, of our wonderful lives; and next time a situation comes up, act authentically and allow yourself the space and privilege to be upset at things that we should be upset over, without judging yourself or others. We’ve earned that right along time ago, now it’s time for us to start enforcing our rights.