last night, i was listening to 'a seat at the table' for the thousandth time and "mad" came on. as i listened to solange sing "i got a lot to be mad about" i found myself shaking my head in agreement. yes solange, yes i do have a lot to be mad about. i am a black + african woman, i have a whole lot to be mad about.
with that song, solange hits on a very important aspect of black womanhood. our anger. for so long the angry black woman trope has been used as a silencing tool against black women. when we are vocal about our grievances, they are diminished and seen as irrational. don't be too loud. don't be too aggressive. don't be so angry they tell us. don't clapback. black women are constantly forced to sweeten ourselves so that we are digestible. be soft they tell us. swallow this pill of oppression but make sure you smile as you do it.
i'm here to remind black women that our anger is legitimate. we earned that anger and we must own that anger. black women are fighting racism and sexism everyday. we must fight against white women who are constantly looking to exploit our sisterhood while keeping us on the margins of feminism, we must fight against racist structures that leaves us trailing behind financially, socially and politically, we then must fight against black men who refuse to make their revolution intersectional.
black woman, clapback.
here we are, fighting to prove our worth in our blackness but also our worth in our womanhood. this does not even take into consideration the other aspects of our identities. being a queer black woman, a trans black woman, an immigrant black woman, a black woman with disabilities, a black woman with mental health issues, a black indigenous woman.
black woman, clapback.
here we are, "the most disrespected person in america. the most unprotected person in america. the most neglected person in america." and you don't expect us to be angry?
james baldwin himself said "to be black and conscious in america, is to be in a constant state of rage." so if to be black and conscious in america is to be in a constant state of rage, what does it mean to be black and woman in america?
i am not saying that black women should only be angry. i am not saying that we cannot work through our anger to protect our mental health. i am saying that if black women are angry, we have a right to that anger. i am saying that we must not feed into this idea that to be angry is to be irrational.
black women, clapback. if they come for you, clapback.
harriet tubman clapped back.
assata shakur clapped back.
ella baker clapped back.
sojourner truth clapped back.
bell hooks clapped back.
black women have been claping back and owning our anger for years.
we got a lot to be made about. we got a right to be mad.