I’m an optimist; and I am in love …with Black folks. That combination of love and optimism equals a wishful Sista. So here are my hopes and wishes for us in 2019:
- I hope that we work to change our language and actions to eliminate anything that separates us. That means no “team light skin” vs. “team dark skin” ridiculousness; no natural hair vs. chemically treated vs. hair pieces; no bougie vs. ghetto, no niggahs vs. hoes. We are all Black. Periodt.
- I wish that BET (or even better, a Black-owned station) will start showing our college games, reruns from shows like Living Single, news that matters to us and represents us fairly, and new, innovative black-produced programming. We have so much rich content that no one is showing.
- I hope that we become each other’s biggest advocates. The world continues to tell us that we aren’t enough. I hope that we continue to tell each other how magical we are. Smile at the young, Black man riding the subway with you because several others have grabbed their purses tighter when he got on. Tell that Sista that you love her hair. Acknowledge that Brotha who waited a little longer to hold the door open for you. Randomly message your friend to let her know that you respect the things she doing in life. I cannot tell you how many people have sent me messages out of the blue about my blog. Sometimes those messages seem to come at the exact time that I felt like giving up. Positivity towards one another matters.
- I wish folks would learn that you can disagree without the need to dis. I disagree with folks all the time. We can all have the same mission of improving things in the Black community; while disagreeing about how to get there. Let’s promise to disagree without being disagreeable. We can disagree without making it personal and disparaging the other person. We can discuss our differing views and still have mad-love for each other.
- I hope we collectively support Black businesses and products more. We must strengthen our collective economic strength if we ever hope to overcome barriers. I always try to consciously think if I can buy whatever it is I want from a Black-owned business. I really try not to let mainstream society tell me what’s superior. Honestly, I love my Helmer bag far more than the Chanel bag I got years ago, and supporting Helmer helps to support a Black, female entrepreneur. Also when we support Black business, we must ensure that we don’t ask for a hook-up that we would not seek from a mainstream business; and that we show understanding for any growing pains. Perhaps a Black business can’t deliver as quickly as Amazon or have the same prices as Walmart (due to economies of scale) but the only way our businesses can grow to that level is if we support one another.
- I wish that we live and make decisions like the world is ours too. I think that the enslavement of our ancestors left the scar of fear on our souls. We are scared to travel, try new foods, restaurants and activities. This world is ours. It is equally ours to experience and explore. We must break free from the unconscious chains of the past. Quite frankly, I am often treated better in other countries than I am in the United States.
- I hope that we choose to consistently speak to each other in public. I never understand when I see another Black person in a space where there are very few of us and the person doesn’t speak. Give a nod, wave, smile, or do something to acknowledge your Brother or Sister. Let them know that you see them and that there is family on the premises. We have all been places where a gesture like that from a stranger makes us immediately feel good.
- I wish that many of us will make the decision to take better care of our health. I’ve lost too many Sistas and Brothers far too long before it was their time. We’ve got to start loving ourselves enough to eat better, exercise more, and to nurture our mental health (meditate, go to therapy, talk with a friend). The first person you should feel responsible taking care of is you.
- I hope that we begin to better recognize and tap into our power. Too often we don’t recognize the power and influence we can have on politics, business and society. Our voice matters and if we decide to vote as a people with our ballots and dollars we will be amazed at the changes we can effect.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more