Death to “Bourgie”~

                                                                                                                                                  

Positive Propaganda:  Black Women & Girls Unashamedly Aspire to be the BEST!

“She’s so bourgie!”  Who she think she is, with her bourgie self!”  Walkin’ around here actin’ all bourgie!”

We’ve heard all of these sayings before; comments thrown in the faces and behind the backs of black women and girls on a routine and regular basis.  And these comments are anything but nice, when said.  From the tone and the sound of the person hurling the word, one would think the target was a horrible, wretched person.  A fake.  A fraud.  A thief, perhaps, or someone to avoid at all costs.  Witnessing this verbal assault, one would certainly not wish to ever be (shudder)  “bourgie”. 

So, what exactly does it mean?

In the black community, and according to the urban dictionary (yes, there is such a thing…smh…) to be bourgie means “to be pretentious in matters of taste or dismissive of other tastes, in a manner that follows a particular middle class mode of thinking. Generally derogatory.” 

Another, slightly less disparaging definition of “bourgie” is “aspiring to be a higher class than one is. Derived from bourgeois – meaning middle/upper class.”

Ahh…we see.  But, some would say…that’s not so bad?  What’s wrong with wanting to launch oneself to a higher station in life than one was born, or in which one finds oneself?  What’s wrong with reaching for success?  What’s wrong with being the best…with aspiring toward greatness?

And to that, my dear sisters, we say NOTHING.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with these desires…as a matter of fact everything is RIGHT with wanting more, better, best, and all of the greatness that life can offer.

Which is why we believe it’s time to pledge DEATH to “bourgie.”

Dear sisters, we’ve been so historically, horrifically mistreated and misinformed.  From the times of slavery, we’ve been trained to not want nice things; to not embrace our femininity.  To not educate ourselves or our families.  To not believe we were soft, and beautiful, tender and deserving. 

It harkens to stories from the plantation where black women, our sisters of yon, were forced to wrap their heads in tattered rags to keep themselves from looking and feeling beautiful.  When the ears of our sisters were cut off and our bodies mutilated and mistreated for transgressions of wanting freedom and liberty.  When all manner of verbal abuse was spewed our way when, even after these atrocities, we dared to hold our heads high, our shoulders back, and walk with pride:  “That haughty niggra” they’d hiss; “Somebody needs to put that gal in her place!” 

Now, fast forward to present day.  Not much has changed, except now we’ve taken the role as our own slave-masters…keeping our own people down and “in our place” whenever we, especially black women, aim to reach higher and achieve better.  And we’ve made it even easier, by taking all of the hatred, jealousy, callousness, and evil of our oppressors and shortening it into one negative word:

Bourgie.

“Always walking with her nose in the air…ole bougie chick.”  “She think she cute…bourgie broad!”  “I can’t stand her bourgie a*s.”

The hate.  The misappropriated anger.  All hurled at black women and girls who’ve dared to step outside and beyond the small box of shame and low-self worth that we’ve been conditioned to believe, and have decided to reach for something higher and better.  To be somebody.

What’s wrong with wearing nice clothes, or fixing your hair in a lovely style, or adorning yourself in lovely jewels?  Nothing.  What’s wrong with wanting a good education, reading books, learning from life and others, and soaking up all that life has to offer?  Nothing.  Where is the harm in craving fresh, healthy food, exercising your body, asking for what you want, need, and deserve?  Not a darn thing!  And where’s the harm in seeking out the best of the best in every way you can, for you, your children, your friends, and the ones you love?  Nothing.  At.  All.

Sisters, this is not “bourgie.”  This is being aspirational. This is taking by the reigns the desires of God for your life, and claiming the gifts he’s placed at your feet.

How are we ever to climb as a people if we’re too afraid to reach for the sky?  What in God’s name is wrong with wanting to look, feel, and BE your very best?  Again, we say nothing.

You know what IS wrong?  Hurling insults hidden in urban slang such as the word “bourgie” to our fellow sisters and young girls every time we witness them striving to be their best.  Our young sisters (our kittens) grow up hearing and feeling the covert negativity that we attach to those climbing and aspiring to be their best, and instead of letting their little lights shine, they dim themselves and bushel their lights out of fear and shame, so as to be accepted by their community.  They don’t want to be “bourgie.”

This is wrong, and it needs to stop.

We are gorgeous, talented, divine, beautiful women of God!  We have so much to offer ourselves, our families, and our communities.  It’s the so-called “bourgie” set that helped Michelle Obama reach the White House, and who suit-up every day to fight the good fight in corporate America to represent OUR needs and well-being, ensuring we have a voice at the tables that run our lives.  And we don’t thank them enough.  We don’t want to be LIKE them enough.  We don’t aspire enough. 

Sisters, we have to watch our tongues and check ourselves when need be.  We have to support each other and our sisters who’re brave enough to plug their ears against those who’d like to keep black women down, and uplift those who strive every day to be their absolute best (in spite of). We have to encourage our young girls to hold their heads up high, to not be afraid to shine, and to be, do, and have all that their little hearts desire.  We have to truly show solidarity and real sisterhood in this way; it’s only then that the oppressive voices from the plantation are silenced, and we all truly rise above the horrors of the past.

So again, sisters, it’s time to kill the negativity toward ourselves and each other.  Let’s uplift each other the best way we can.  If you see a beautiful sister out in the world “doing her thing” and looking fabulous, even if you can’t compliment her, don’t disparage her with the label “bourgie.”  Stay silent, search your own heart and life, and promise yourself to be and do the same.  It’s in you to be great, too!  There’s room for all of us to shine.

And when you shine, we all shine.

Death to bourgie. 

Live an aspirational, inspirational, glamorous, gorgeous, fabulous, healthy life; out loud, and with no shame. 

You deserve it.

With love,

PositiveProp~

Black Love: Struggling, But ALIVE!

Positive Propaganda:  Black Women Are LOVED

Don’t let the media fool you…black women are, and can be, truly loved.  Black love DOES EXIST.  Do we have work to do as a people to reclaim purity, safety, and holistic health in our romantic relationships?  Yes.  Do we see examples of black relationships that are anything but gentle and loving, both in our communities and on our television screens?  Unfortunately, yes.  But black love is not, I repeat, NOT a striped unicorn of a scenario; IT EXISTS!

The picture of Barack and Michelle above touched me beyond measure when it found me (yes, it found me) today. ;-)    The image speaks profoundly to our current state of affairs as black people, and what we need to see more often in our relationships.  The desolate, semi-dilapidated background is likened to the hostile, chaotic, and cold world we as black women sometimes inhabit. The colors, stark, bleak, black and white with hints of gray, are strikingly similar to our wounded feminine souls that we must work to heal on a daily basis.  Yet, in the midst of chaos and darkness stand two united as one; he with a furrowed brow and protective embrace, pondering how to plot a course of safety, comfort, and success for his loved one and their union.  She with a contented, confident smile of one who knows she’s in good, safe, capable hands – no worry in her world – her man’s ‘got this.’  THAT’S black love at its finest.

Some say, “yeah, but that’s only one couple out of millions, and a famous couple at that – they’re different…better…practically nonexistent where I come from.”  Yes, this is true, but again, IT EXISTS.  Like a tiny plant on a lonely planet, if one exists, so can others.  They simply need to be developed, fed, and nurtured. 

I know I’m not alone in being aware of at least one black couple who are MONAGAMOUS (don’t let the lies fool you; monogamy in black marriage also exists, and is possible), loving, successful (or striving toward success) and united in spirit and in deed.  Black love is what saved us as a people in the days of slavery and during the Jim Crow era of segregation, as we sought to define ourselves in this new country and create havens of safety for ourselves and our offspring.  It existed once, and can continue to thrive – if we let it – if we demand it, and do not settle for anything less.

What’s happened in the last twenty to thirty years that now sees our men degrading black women in the media, in song, and through action?  When did ‘women of the night’ and strippers (the dancing wounded) become the image of black women hailed by our men who were sent here by God to love, keep, and protect us?  And why are we letting this happen?!  Are we not demanding more from our men?  When did simply having a child from a black man, but not feeling worthy of or insisting on his fidelity, commitment, protection, and unconditional love become the norm – the creation of the ill-fated and disrespected “baby mama”? We deserve more.  Black love demands more.

As many of you know, a lot of media attention was recently paid to our young black stars Rhianna and Chris Brown as they reunited in song after having engaged in a toxic, destructive, abusive relationship.  Reactions were mixed, with some feeling betrayed by Rhianna for returning to her abuser, and others cheering for a full reconciliation, pledging their hope for the success of “black love.”   I’m here to tell you today, sisters, that what those two poor souls are engaged in IS NOT LOVE, and is certainly not indicative of black love.  What that is is a dance of co-dependancy and addiction, fueled by substance abuse and the deadly pull of what’s termed “negative love” or trauma bonding (if you’re not familiar with the term “trauma bonding”, look it up when you get a chance; very insightful).  Two young kids, both from violent homes, who are unconsciously repeating the pattern they grew up witnessing:  daddy hits, mama stays, men abuse, women take it.  Again, that is NOT love, and we need to educate our people, especially our young girls (our kittens, if you will) to recognize and know the difference.

Also, today’s “urban” media isn’t doing much to help the case and cause for black love.  I’ve noticed the rising popularity of songs that depict violence against women, especially by our young rap & hip-hop stars.  A new song by “artist” (quotes purposefully inserted) Bei Meijor (with rapper J. Cole)  titled “Trouble” struck me the most.  Currently in heavy rotation on urban radio stations, the lead singer croons various directives and orders to his girlfriend (“I told you not to”), and then describes the resulting negative consequences for her disobedience (“It’s gon’ get you in trouble”). This song exemplifies the common, current mindset of our young black men in reference to how romantic relationships should be conducted, and it’s both shocking and startling.  View a sample of the lyrics below:

Yeah, invitations in the whirlwind
We both bad at it
Told myself no more hittin’ n-ggas girlfriends
Thats my old bad habit
Here you go, round that
Already know, what I’m staring at
I mean from top to bottom your body is problem so
Somebody better take care of that
And who
Better than, the n-gga let ‘em in
When your man aint home, you can let him in
Late night Letterman
I aint gon tat-a-tale
Damn your ass bad as hell
 
WHAT IS THIS?!  This is NOT BLACK LOVE!  This is abuse, misogyny and control, anything but love of the fairer sex.  And this, my sisters, is what our young black men are being taught in terms of how we should be treated.  And some of us are humming their tune, singing along, buying the albums, and “co-signing” on the toxic dogma.  It has to stop.

 

The responsibility to define, revive, and save black love is ours.  We can’t blame our men if we accept this type of treatment.  We must teach our young black girls (kittens) that this is not love; we must educate them on what real love is!  We must love and respect ourselves enough to know that we deserve emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health and safety in our relationships.  And if we do not know what that means or looks like, then those of us who do, or who have seen REAL black love in action, MUST EDUCATE our sisters and our community on its existence. 

I didn’t grow up in a Cliff and Clair Huxtable world, but it was close enough.  It was close enough to know that my generation could achieve what the Huxtables represented, and perfect what my parents and ancestors began, through personal will, faith, and help from God.  And this, ladies, is our task – our charge.  We must become aware and educate, both each other, our men, and our entire community, on the reality and NEED for true black love in our lives. 

Our survival depends on it.

So, let me end this post with a few descriptions of what black love really is, and how to recognize it in action:

In black love, a man takes charge, follows through, and protects, provides, and presents for his woman.  He respects you, your family, your thoughts, and your opinions.  He is a man of his word, and is both honest and communicative.  He is chivalry in action:  he opens doors for you with a smile, pulls out your chair, walks on the outside of the curb, and holds doors open for you as you enter and exit.  He uses soft tones, NEVER YELLS OR CURSES AT YOU (even when angry) and does not touch you aggressively.  He make plans with you and asks your opinion – does not assume or control you nor situations you are in; you are a team.  He believes in God, or a power greater than himself.  He is humble and fun-loving, and smiles more than he frowns.  He knows how to control his emotions.  He is faithful and monogamous.  He is your biggest cheerleader, and is ALWAYS on your side.  He is your best friend.  And, more than anything, he makes you feel warm, safe, and comfortable:  where there is fear, there is no love; remember that.

There is so much more to say about black love, and about black women in love, but let’s begin here.  The qualities listed above may seem far fetched to some, and a fairy tale to others, but know that these are the base qualities that must be present in order to develop a strong, loving, secure relationship, and are not too much to ask.  We can do this; let’s demand it.   And remember, in millions of homes as we speak, it already exits.

With love,

PositiveProp~

*meow*

 

 

Saving Ourselves: Healing Our Broken Hearts

 Positive Propaganda:  Black Women Are Resilient

 

Good morning, sisters!

It’s been a rough week for many of us.  We lost a sister.  A beautiful, talented, magnanimous, brilliant star of a sister. 

I loved Whitney Houston; always will.  I remember dancing around my blue and white bedroom, listening to “How Will I Know” over, and over, and over again.  I’d close my eyes and pretend to be the super-slim Whitney in a silver party dress with a Madonna-esque bow in my hair.  I’d visualize the little guy I had the giant crush on in school knocking on my door, giving me flowers, and saying “I like you too, Amie!”  Whitney’s buoyance and effectious spirit made me believe that I could have everything I wanted; that the world was mine for the taking.  *In a later post I’ll recount how during that same visualization to Whitney’s music my young paramour, though we’d never spoken before, DID INDEED show up at my door (on his bike), proclaiming the giant crush he’d had on me; a true testiment to the power of visualization and belief, and a lesson that Whitney accompanied.  Powerful stuff.

It appeared Whitney had everything:  talent, superstardom, a loving family, riches beyond measure, and wordly power and admiration.  Yet, as we witnessed her descent into the dark world of substance abuse, self-destruction, and unhealthy relationships, we began to understand that what we thought was the reality of her life was just an illusion.  In reality, like so many of us as black women, our sister was suffering.  Our sister was in pain.

This week illuminated much for me, and for all of us, I’m certain.  It shed a bright light on what I’ve known deep inside since the advent of my adulthood.  Black women are hurting.  Our hearts have been broken.  Such is why I felt led to create this site.  Yes, it’s important to highlight the injustices that the outside world perpetrates on us on a daily basis.  Yes, we should remain conscious and aware of the ways in which we’re being mistreated, maligned, disrespected, and abused, so that it can end, and end expeditiously.  But more important than anything, it’s important for us to identify the ways in which we’ve hurt ourselves or allowed ourselves to be hurt, own our pain, take responsibility for our spiritual and emotional injuries, reclaim our power, and heal ourselves, both individually and collectively.

We’ve been through so much as black women.  Slavery; injustice; witnessing the forced separation of our family core; the desecration of the sanctity of black marriage; the emasculation of our black men – the leaders of our homes and our earthly protectors – and their subsequent betrayal…their abandonment…in the time(s) of our greatest emotional need.

We’ve been stripped of our femininity in the public eye, and left with distorted representations of what it means to be a woman; left with lies and untruths; left to fend for ourselves in a world that daily reinforces our lack of value and power; left alone to combat forces that were created solely to destroy us.  And in that struggle, some of us let go.  Some of us succumbed to the lies, and anger, the sadness, and the ILLUSION.  We lost sight of the truth; lost faith, hope, and spiritual guidance.  We turned against each other (“she’s ratchet”) instead of leaning into each other for peace and solace.  We let ourselves be devoured, from the inside out.

Whitney was in pain.  Psychic pain.  Spiritual pain.  With all of the treasures of the world at her feet, she could not see the treasure of her own being - the ultimate truth – that she was an angel on earth.  God blessed her with the voice of the highest realm, and a gift of both inner and outer beauty to touch and influence the world, yet her pain was too great to overcome the illusion of separation and she floated away on a river of lies and destruction.

Why couldn’t we save her?  Why couldn’t she save herself?

Because lies and illusions can be powerful.  They present themselves as the truth; as reality; but they are indeed lies.  Sisters, we ARE POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE.  It’s not about the length of our hair, or the form of our physical bodies.  It’s not about what we wear, or the hue of our skin, or the money in our bank accounts.  It’s not about the man in our bed, or the number of voice mails on our machines.  It’s about WHO GOD BROUGHT US HERE TO BE, and how well we can use that gift to serve others.  It’s about our ability to support each other, rally around each other, and HEAL EACH OTHER.  It’s about seeing the truth behind the veil of separation, and staying the course toward the mark of the high calling.  And though the temptations to turn us away may be great, it’s about knowing the purpose behind our presence, and that we have work to do of the highest caliber.

We have to save ourselves, then we have to save each other.  But, it all starts with you, where you are, making a vow to change yourself from the inside out.

Begin today by affirming your beauty.  Begin by looking yourself squarely in the mirror and telling yourself that you are worthy, you are loved, and you are divine.  That though the world may at times show you differently, you are of value, are needed, are loved, and are on purpose! 

You may not feel that way today, but start where you are.  You don’t have to come to this table of growth, perfect.  I am flawed; greatly flawed.  There are days when I can be my own worst enemy, and can both talk to myself and treat myself worse than anyone outside of me ever could.  But I’m taking pains to end that negative practice.  It starts with me.  I’m taking responsiblity for saving myself; for healing my broken heart.  And I’d love for you to join me.

So today, if you are treating yourself unkindly, if you are allowing yourself to be mistreated, if you are listening to media that dis-empowers you and leaves you depleted and dishonered, if you are in an abusive relationship or abusing yourself with drugs, alcohol, food, substances, or anything that is destructive to who you are as a child of God, STOP, TODAY.  Stop, because you are more than your body, more than your broken heart.  You deserve the best, because YOU ARE HERE.  Stop because you are loved, and if you can’t find the love yet inside to empower yourself, know that GOD LOVES YOU, I LOVE YOU, AND YOUR SISTERS LOVE YOU. 

We can get through this, and emerge on the other side more powerful and abundant than ever.  Let’s do it for ourselves, let’s do it for every sister who needs to wake up and see the divine light inside of herself, and let’s do it for the little sisters looking up to us, as we did Whitney, and let them know that IT’S OK.  We are more than conquerors, and will reclaim who we were brought here to be.

If you need support today, feel free to reach out.  I’m praying for you, for your situation, and for the healing of your heart.  We’re strong enough to do this.  Let’s begin healing today.

With love,

Your sister,

 Amie

*meow*

 

 

Who We Are.

Positive Propaganda:  Black Women Are Divine

“I realized that they had already taken everything from me except my mind and my heart.  Those they could not take without my permission.  I decided not to give then away.  And neither should you.”   –Nelson Mandela

Well hello!  SO glad to be here. 

As Dr. King said, “I have a dream!”  And you are all included.  WE are in the dream together.

In the dream we are not just black women; not simply “strong black women” (am I the only one tired of that one-size-fits-all, slightly masculine descriptor?).  We are not simply the topic of vulgar, misogynistic rap songs sadly spewed from the mouths of some of our male counterparts - the black men whom God put on earth as our protectors, friends, confidants and help-mates, who, somewhere along the way, became our biggest enemy. We are not the scapegoat and laughing stock of society; the unwed, un-datable, street-fighting, eye rolling and neck popping, “nappy-headed ho” baby mamas of the earth, neither deserving nor commanding reverence, respect, admiration, or equal treatment. 

We are not women whose bodies have no boundaries and can be mocked, ogled, touched, titillated over, and violated without recourse.  We are not caricatures only good for a pop of color, comic relief, a needed maid, mammy, best friend, or “magical negro” for others in need, as portrayed in most movies and television programs.

We’re capable of being more and doing more in society than breeding children, collecting welfare, living in homeless shelters, yelling on the corner, popping gum as a career, being victims of domestic violence, riding a pole, dancing for dollars, working in the kitchen, marrying a baller (shot caller, brawler, rollin’ in the Benz with a spoiler) or happily ‘helping’ others rise to prominence, success, and fame. 

And we are NOT invisible.

How did it get this way, you wonder?  How did we allow the essence and reality of WHO WE REALLY ARE as black women to be so disgustingly and savagely mutilated, disguised, ignored, and maligned, and  how did we allow the lies of others to become our truth (if we let “them” tell it)? 

I’ll tell you how. 

Because we allowed it.

And in my dream, we rise up and stop it.  We stop it now.  And not through violence, screaming, yelling, or other less *ahem* composed ways of fighting injustice and evil.  We simply tell the truth – our truth.  And we no longer allow others…mainstream America…to tell our stories and own our image, projecting their distortions across the world and through the ether’s any way they darn well please.  We reclaim our image; our reputations – the essence of who we are and who we were created to be.

We know who we are.

We’re educated, and if not educated, intuitive, and if not intuitive, survivors.  We’re resilient.  We’re beautiful; the first women of earth, from which all life grew.  We’ll no longer believe lies that suggest our features disgust, yet sit back and watch while others emulate the same features they vilify through dark tans, lip injections, curly perms (kinda 80s, I know), heiny pads, cheek implants, and every type of plastic surgery known to man to replicate the shape that only the great architect could compose.  Everyone wants to be a black woman, but no one wants to be a black woman?!  Insanity!

We are brilliant and soothing, peaceful and spiritual.  Warriors, leaders, and both mothers and, sadly, fathers of households.  We run companies, marathons, nonprofit organizations, homes, and, *gasp* countries (head bowed to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and second in Command to the POTUS, Michelle Obama).  :-)

We’re more than what we’ve allowed ourselves to be portayed as, and since perception is reality, it’s high time that the perceptions of the past were changed to reflect the reality of today.

So, in my dream, we come together as SISTERS to commune, congregate, put our brilliant minds together, and conjure up both the method and means to own and repair our image. We tell our truth, loudly.  And we bite the hands of those who dare continue to tell lies to our detriment.

And if we don’t, what’s at stake?  Only the mind of every young black girl on the planet, growing up in a hostile world that devalues her at every flip of the radio dial or television remote control.  To have her travel to other countries and be mocked, scorned, or looked upon as a strange, unfamiliar, slightly scary creature, with otherworldly, sideshow-like curiousity.   To be hired as the servant but never the master, and to never, ever, in this physical incarnation, be taken seriously, respected, and nor, God-forbid, revered.

I don’t want that for my future daughters.  I don’t want that for anyone’s daughter(s).  And I do not want what I see before me as the madness of today for me nor my sisters in Christ.

Because I know better.  And so do you.  And it’s time they knew, too.

It starts today.  Please join me.  We have a long, hard fight ahead of us, but our ancestors fought bigger fights, and some lost their lives in pursuit of victory.  We’re made of courageous material.  Tough stuff.  We have what it takes…we simply need fight back.

In my dream…in the not-so-far-away reality for which we only need to firmly grasp in our minds in order to manifest on earth, we are divine!  We are the chosen; the seat of femininity.  That reality has been stolen from us, but we’re here to reclaim it. 

Time to re-program our minds and change the perception of ourselves as individuals, sisters, lovers, mothers, children, and a species.

We are black women:  Resilient.  Divine.  Intuitive.  Stunning.  Captivating.  Curious.  Brilliant.  Striking.  Awe-Inspiring.  Leaders.  Mothers of Humanity. 

And we demand to be seen and heard for who we really are.