F.U.B.U: For Us, By Us,
Sis, as my fingertips hit the keys on this board, just know I’m sharing this, for you. I’m sharing this, for us.
Since graduating college in 2014, my home girls and I have struggled with where to fit in when it came to the real world. We were all ambitious, talented and smart hopefuls with degrees in different areas and all in pursuit of our dream jobs. Unfortunately, plenty of times we have felt targeted at work for simply being ourselves. It wasn’t because we didn’t have amazing ideas during brainstorming sessions with executives or that we failed to successfully execute large-scale company events. Let’s be clear … we excelled and got the job done every time! Instead, it was because we struggled with letting our voices to be heard or doubt of our ideas not being taken seriously.
One Sunday morning during girl talk over brunch, an epiphany hit us suddenly; there is an elephant in the room. We quickly realized we weren’t in our feelings for no reason, but in fact we grasped that we happened to be the only black girls in our spaces. With everything going on in this world today, I found myself asking, "Why am I even here if no one will listen to me?" I noticed I wasn’t the only one out of all my friends who felt like this either. This is why everything we do, we do for us, should be for us, and celebrated by us every day.
So, I started asking myself and my friends, questions like: How can we deal with the office gossip on top of hearing about our people being killed by police? How can we maintain mental health/stability in the midst of this ridiculous recent presidential election AND still be expected to come to work ready to get the job done? This was a defining moment for me and us. How we choose to operate daily and how we respond to the blatant displays of discrimination in our world is up to us. Is it evident that every day micro-aggressions are our reality, a common everyday experience that is beginning to take a toll, but only if we let it. Not only that, but it seems as though the world around me continues to celebrate my exotic features such as my golden skin, curves, and kinky hair, but only Kylie Jenner flexin’ on the Gram can make this look cool. As if she’s the first to wear wigs, have full lips and hips when we’ve been doing that ALL along …when that’s our sh*t!
It is 2017, not 1957, however, discrimination, cultural appropriation, and casual racism are at an all-time high right now in our everyday lives. It’s as if we can’t get away from it. I believe that now more than ever before, as black women, we need to be united. Sisterhood among colored girls is very important. Here are five friendly reminders to keep in mind when you and your sister girls are going' through it or discussing the latest struggles of cultural appropriation, casual racism or another Trump tweet:
1. Uplift YOURSELF & your girls!
Stop everything you’re doing and put on Solange’s A Seat At The Table. Music is one of the best ways to increase your mood. When Solange released her album, I was oozing with self-love and I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard songs like "Don’t Touch My Hair" and "F.U.B.U." This was just what I needed to hear! We made F.U.B.U. for US. Giving us the power to be unapologetic and embrace that we truly are black, bold, beautiful and so much more. This is your reminder, that not only do we have a seat at the table, but we still deserve our seats at these tables, sitting across from those who think we don’t. We deserve to eat! So stay humble and stay hungry.
When this song comes on, sing it at the top of your lungs: “Play this song and song it on your terms for us. This sh*t is for us. Don’t try to come for us.” Just remember we can’t keep taking things personal every time our coworkers ask us to touch our hair or every time our ideas are overlooked. So have a seat sis, get comfortable and stay awhile.
2. Support your sister, but don’t forget to support yourself.
Listen to one another; we’re all in this together. If we can take the time to listen to each other and be there for one another, we can relieve stress and maintain healthy relationships.
It’s important to take care of you. By this I mean as black women, we tend to have this façade that we must always BE strong. I’m here to tell you that it is okay to ask for help and to look for support from your girls, from your family or even from a professional such as a therapist. My point is, nobody knows what’s exactly bothering you if you don’t speak up. Maintain your tribe and your vibes! I have a horrible habit of overextending myself to others who need help because I genuinely enjoy helping other people. However, I’ve realized I have to help myself and make sure I’m okay before offering support elsewhere.
3. Encouragement sis, you got this!
I know you have what it takes to succeed. This is something I tell myself and my friends whenever they’re feeling doubtful. In moments of social or justice despair, I want you to know that you still have what it takes to succeed in whatever you’re doing. Don’t give up, keep hope alive and KEEP GOING! You got this, you can do this and don’t you forget it!
4. Stack your coins.
In my opinion, the best way to win or “fight the power” is economically. Hit them where it hurts - right in their POCKETS. If you can afford to support black owned businesses or are interested in starting your own business then do it! Like Beyonce said: "THE BEST REVENGE IS YOUR PAPER!!!"
HELLO! That means you still have to be present in the moments when you have your seat at the table. Dress for success and always do your best! WERK.
5. Black Voices MATTER
Stick to your guns sis, what’s for us is by us and will always be for us. If no one can understand that, it’s not our duty to waste our time, breath or energy on explaining it. But I am encouraging you to speak your piece when you have something to say. When someone tries to come for you, simply press pause and be impeccable with your words or your rebuttal. It's okay to make a stance, protect yourself and let them know you didn’t send for them. As black women, it’s important for us to be articulate, eloquent and informative. People will judge and jump to assumptions about you. With the recent election, unfortunately, some people will think its okay to violate or assault you in some way. But that type of behavior isn’t okay and that’s why speaking up and staying engaged in the conversation in your local communities can help.
I hope you know you’re not alone in this or wrong for your feelings of the latest events. Just know whatever you focus on grows, so be gentle with yourself. Remind yourself of how beautifully black, proud, and bold you really are. Keep ya head up!