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:
“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.