Melanated Gem, everyday when I wake up I ask God to present me to the world the way I was designed. As an Africana woman, our confidence often offends, and that’s a good thing. I’ll tell you why, the design of white inferiority systems was to create loyalty to whiteness, and be able to assimilate into their worlds. That’s why the narratives of what is good and acceptable has all been in proximity to whiteness. That’s also why as of 2020, when I still entered and office, I had to make an example out of a coworker who told me “Black women have bad hair”, or the whole of 2019 when I had to constantly correct white men who commented on my hair, and forced my boss to have a staff wide meeting about it. I remember in 2019, a group of white men were going on, with their wives there, about my hair. They were saying “you remind me of Flo-Jo with that big hair”, and their wives got annoyed. I was even asked by someone “why are you so confident?” Either way, our appearance and confidence is always on trial because white people feel they’re the norm, and they find it offensive that we are able to embrace ourselves, go against their norms, and even challenge them when they say something that requires challenging. For example, I remember another Black queen telling me, “wow, you’re confident around white people”, that was in 2018, because my whole life I have corrected white people who say wrong things about African cultures. For example, a white guy tried to lecture me about Nigeria and the main languages, when I’m the Nigerian; he said “there’s only one language in Nigeria, Igbo and Yoruba are just dialects”, that was in 2019, I said NO, I am Igbo, it is a complete separate language, culture, and tradition from Yoruba people. I’m only giving the dates for all the people saying racism ended with slavery. Trust me, I have the energy each and every time, these are not life changing situations because I know who I am, but I understand it’s not that way for everybody, and you have the right to be sad and angry if it does happen, I am not minimizing that.
Anyway, you know I don’t like to give life to too many narratives of white inferiority systems. Unfortunately, to make some points clear about how to raise our confidence, I have to address the behaviors and let you all know that it is not ok. For hundreds of years, our narratives have been falsely interpreted, we have been told that our hair is not professional, or to “not act black”; and even many of us, have told me, that they don’t eat certain foods around white people, IMAGINE! It’s all a bunch of bull to be honest. I always say, you make them your God when you’re always concerned about what they will say about you, and, it is disrespectful to God to care more about what a white person thinks about you, than just being yourself. I know what I am talking about, I can’t have a conversation til’ this with many people without them saying what white people will think. I’m like wow, I don’t even consider their opinions, because they are not relevant as it pertains to my beautiful life. Even if my life wasn’t beautiful, what a white person thinks of me can’t be anywhere on my list. Now the systems that they’ve created, and the lies that have been told to oppress Black people, are of top concern for me to dismantle, that’s macro; opinions are micro, and non-existent in my world. I’m from the suburbs and some of them have said I am from the ghetto, I am not offended by that at all because, if I was from the ghetto, I’m still one of the greatest of all time, so what are you really saying here? So just me being affirmative, loving myself, correcting wrong comments, knowing what I want, holding my head high, has offended many. That is why, when I pray to God in the morning, I ask God to present me to the world as myself, even if it offends, and let it offend, so long as it’s authentic. I am glad to offend you, because you know that you don’t own me. I walk away from your offers, low-balling offers at that, I escape your ideologies, I hurt your ego, I don’t protect you, because I have to do what protects me, and honestly dismantling a system can start from these micro interactions that happen daily.
Your confidence is your mark in this world. Once you live life by design, you activate a uniqueness in you that cannot be taken away. Even if someone’s purpose is similar to yours, it is designed to do something different. Therefore, no need to compete, just be. I have this blog, and many other things, and I love and hype up everything I do, why? because I am certain it belongs here. I know everybody won’t like it, but because I live by design, I know that when God gave me a gift, I was given an audience. That is exclusive of what white people think of me (insert laugh emoji), I have to laugh because that is the one thing I want to eradicate my people of, is thinking that a white persons thoughts will hinder them. Once we all walk in our designs, we dismantle a system while building up ourselves, because we are each actively living in confidence and not fear. I tell you, confidence for Black people will do much more than you think it will do, and it will be a key to unity. When I say confidence, I mean holding yourself to a standard as well, not only acing on what you believe in, but making sure it builds up Africana people.
My Africana people, you are great. Don’t listen to people who tell you to humble yourself in this system, and wait your turn. In this world, humbling myself means – don’t get to big to the point of disrespecting people and tearing people down to think I am better than them, but let’s be clear, you have every right to get what’s yours. Faith without works is dead! We have been taught to wait while unqualified white kids get positions and higher pay than the black person next to them with a masters and years of experience (I used to work in HR, I know!). So no more of that beloveds, go after what you want, with your head high, and speak your experience, you are brilliant. Don’t forget your ancestors built the entire western world with intelligent language systems – (ex. Nsibidi, Andinkra). I used to teach and I was always told that the children, 99% Black, couldn’t do this and that, blah blah blah, and I would prove them wrong every single time. Nobody can tell me what a Black person can’t do, because I’ve exceeded expectations with Black Children, and even adults, that is why my students at the lowest performing school where I was in Namibia were the only ones making PowerPoints. Am I talking too much? Oh well, I am just trying to make sure you know that you are great, Melanated Gem. By the way, have you purchased any Melanated Gem items yet? You should! This body jewelry empowers you and reminds you of who you are with empowering messages and bright colors to represent the colorfulness of the Global Africana Diaspora. Check out these reviews (review #2) from a customer who purchased the other day! Also, get your book of poems, I wrote those to inspire you too! You are love, gem.