Too often, Black women are forced to apologize for things like our ambition, body shape, success, emotions, opinions, hair, freedom, appearance, and so many other ridiculous things. Black women are constantly being asked to make ourselves feel less than—less significant, less bland, less vocal and opinionated, less of ourselves to conform to society’s diluted and inaccurate perspective of us.
It’s vital that we as Black women take care of ourselves as a simple act of self-preservation. Self-care isn’t selfish—it’s needed, and we must do whatever it takes to reflect our best selves—unapologetically. As a Black woman, recognizing your rights and place in society, and not allowing anyone to shame you into silence is something you should strive for every single day.
We’re giving our beautiful Black women seven things you should never had to apologize for below. #blackgirlsrock
- Wearing your Natural Hair
European beauty standards have saturated our society in so many ways. One of those ways is of course through Black women wearing their natural hair—or the lack of. I’m sure we can all remember the time Zendaya was criticized and ridiculed for wearing faux locs on the red carpet, this is one of the many public incidents in relation to black hair, but it happens more often than you may know. Recently, there’s been laws and regulations passed to make it illegal to discriminate against natural hairstyles in the workplace.
Not only has it become a problem to wear your natural hair as a Black woman (and black men too), it’s become an even bigger phenomenon to “touch it.” Those that do not have the luxury of having a natural curly, kinky, or wavy hair texture tend to view it as some unbelievable discovery that they just can’t seem to wrap their mind around. I’m here to tell you, touching a black woman’s hair is absolutely not OK—just don’t ask, it’s not a compliment and it’s just plain weird.
Ladies, rock your natural tresses and don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing just that!
- Standing up For Yourself
Standing up for yourself and what you believe in is your right as a human being. Advocating for your right to be heard, seen, and treated fairly extends to your everyday life as well– this includes work, school, public places, or any other time and place where a situation may call for it. Don’t apologize for standing up for YOU and defending YOU, because if you don’t do it, nine times out of ten, no one else will either.
- Being Angry
Women in general are always being told how crazy and dramatic they are, but when you’re a Black woman, your feelings instantly become invalidated and you’re automatically labeled as the “angry black girl.” We see it all over the media, the stereotypical depiction of a Black woman being upset and raging for whatever said reason. But make no mistake—Black women have a laundry list of reasons to be angry. If you’re a Black woman, don’t let anyone tell you your anger is invalid.
- Saying No
Simply stated, if you’re unable to do something, then you just can’t do it. If you don’t want to do something, then you don’t want to do it. It’s OK to say no. Being a Black woman is not synonymous with being a yes-man. To some people, saying no is the end all be all, but as a Black woman, you have to be firm and concrete in your decision of choosing to say no. People will ask you why, try to convince you to change your mind, or even become angry with you—but don’t forget to stand strong on your word and exercise your right to say no, as many times as you’d like.
- Having an Opinion
So it’s become clear and evident that the angry black woman stereotype isn’t going away anytime soon—so do you boo! Speak your mind in a respectful and logical manner and say whatever it is that you’re feeling—even if others don’t like or agree with it. You are entitled to your own opinion.
- Being Successful and Educated
Several studies and reports have shown that black women are one of the most educated groups of people in the US. We don’t make the most, we don’t have the most opportunities, yet we somehow preserved towards higher education and achievement—that within itself is absolutely nothing to apologize for! Being educated is something you should never feel the need to apologize for because it’s something that not only elevates you in society, but also creates access for you and your future generations to come. Work hard and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise sis!
- Loving Yourself
As our list has shown us, it can feel as if Black women are constantly having to apologize and be shamed for a lot. So naturally, when a Black woman loves her full self unconditionally, it can come off as “cocky” and “arrogant.” As a Black woman, loving yourself is the greatest evolution, and it’s important to remember that loving yourself does not make you selfish one bit. In this day and age of systematic oppression, loving yourself is a very big accomplishment.
As a Black woman, exercising your basic rights and valuing yourself should never be viewed as something you should apologize for. If you’re a Black woman, just know your feelings, opinions, and truth matters—your worth isn’t determined by society’s perspective and Black women deserve every right just as any other human being, so please continue to be you—unapologetically.