As I walk down the stairs, in this grand university building, I lift up my head and our eyes lock… YES! Another black girl! Unconsciously the corners of my mouth begin to lift into somewhat of a smile but suddenly, I freeze as I am met with a stony, straight-faced glare.
Moving out of London, at the age of ten, to an area where black people were far and few, I quickly developed the habit of smiling when I saw one (every once in a blue moon). So you can imagine how shocked I was when I experienced this frosty reception from a number of black girls (particularly those in the years above) when I started at university. What was I doing wrong? Or what was wrong with them?
Although, the majority of my experiences with black females are good, every so often, that frosty reception I experienced at university has come back to haunt me. Now I don’t know if these death stares are down to RBF syndrome but either way, all of this has led me to wonder, can black women truly support each other? Or are we our own worst enemies?
As I have done with previous articles, I sent a message to some of my friends and family to ask whether they thought black girls support each other. I received an array of different responses but the main consistencies were;
- Black women are supportive once that initial introductory barrier is broken down
- All women, not just black women, need to work on being more supportive of each other as opposed to competing with and tearing each other down
- It’s not about black women being supportive, it’s simply about who you surround yourself with
I think these are all very good, very valid points. I agree with the idea that women as a whole need to be more supportive of each other but when looking at black women specifically, I genuinely believe that we are some of the biggest supporters of each other. I also believe that as women we’re coming together more and more. It is clear that we are improving significantly when it comes to supporting each other.
I’ve seen a rise in the number of female only movements on social media (many of which are founded by black women). The Fempire Collective, The Shelancer Hub and Girls Talk London are just three of the many examples I have seen. They all bring women (particularly black women) together to develop and progress in a range of things from business to finance. This just shows how far we are coming as women because if I reflect even to a few years back when I was in school, I don’t think I’d be able to name one female organisation. That could be partially because social media wasn’t as prevalent back then but irrespective of this fact, it is clear to me that as women we are taking massive strides in all areas/ industries and now more than ever we’re prepared to bring each other along for the ride.
So let’s keep sprinkling that #BlackGirlMagic!