Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Black Girl Day!

In celebration of Happy Black Girl Day, let's take a moment to be thankful for the women who came before us and paved the way for us to be outspoken, independent, creative--and whatever we darn well please!

Debbie Allen
Debbie Allen, in her own words, is an artist.  She's a dancer, actress, producer, playwright, choreographer, director, composer and author.  She is a creator and a visionary.  I admire her for her talent, her longevity and her contributions to the arts over the years. I'm inspired by her determination to stay true to her passions through racism, failed relationships, and failed projects.  She says that her poet mother raised her to believe that she is a citizen of the universe and that this makes her limitless and boundless.  I hope to instill this same creative freedom in my children, and I'm thankful to Ms. Allen for providing me with another example of a phenomenal woman whose life is her testimony.

Diahann Carroll
Diahann Carroll first graced the silver screen in early roles in the cinematic features, Carmen Jones (as Carmen’s friend) and Porgy and Bess. From there, she blazed a trail for Black women through the movie and television industry: in 1962 she won the Tony Award for best actress (a first for a black woman); in 1968 she starred in the television series Julia--which made her the first African American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker; and in 1984 she became the first black actress to star in the award-winning night-time series "Dynasty". Growing up, I always admired Ms. Carroll’s poise, the way she walked, and the slight sass with which she sometimes spoke. Through marriage, divorce, birth, death and even breast cancer, her apparent vigor for life and openness has remained constant. Though she was once quoted as stating, “I like to think I opened doors for other women, although that wasn't my original intention”, her accomplishments serve as a reminder that just because something HASN’T been done, doesn’t mean it CAN’T be done—and completed with beauty, style and grace. Her book published in 2008 entitled, The Legs Are The Last To Go, is high on my “to read” list.
-Chic Mommy
Lena Horne
Lena Horne is probably most widely known for her beauty and her talent on stage and in film—but she was also passionate, creative and outspoken. The most poignant quote I ever read from her speaks volumes about the unique strength of her character: “My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.” This clear sentiment about self-love and freedom from being limited by others’ judgment speaks to the intention I set for myself daily. We can also be reminded by Ms. Horne’s civil rights activism that it is imperative that we remember to serve others, particularly when an abundance of opportunities has been given to us.
-Chic Mommy
Diana Ross
Few women have had as much of an impact on music and the entertainment business as Diana Ross. She evolved from the lead singer of The Supremes to an acclaimed solo performer and actress.  Throughout her career, she continued to recreate success, as her identity and audience evolved.  Since I was a little girl, I have viewed Ms. Ross as an icon of beauty, fashion, grace and charisma.  I remember having her concert in Central Park on VHS tape and watching it over and over. I knew every song, every dance, every tear drop, and I wanted my hair to look just like hers.  As a grown woman, I have a deeper appreciation for Ms. Ross and how she has had such an amazing career while experiencing the ups and downs of her personal life.  Her story reminds me that we shouldn't be afraid to pursue our dreams and create a path where there is none.   She has been quoted as saying "I'm not really a songwriter - I'm an interpreter. So in a sense I am an actress first and foremost. I act out the songs, and I lead with my heart."  

For more ways to celebrate Happy Black Girl Day, visit The Beautiful Struggler.

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Arlice Nichole said...

I love all of these phenomenal women, but I seriously didn't know there was a such thing as Happy Black Girl day!

GG said...

We didn't either until a couple of months ago! It's a great idea and we're trying to do our part to support it and spread awareness. How have you been by the way?? Haven't heard from you in awhile :)

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