So far, 2017 has been a wonderful year of rediscovery for me – but it’s not been without its challenges; it’s meant, that I’ve personally had to question so many of my own thought processes and belief systems. Of course, this is always an amazing thing because it allows for that all important self-growth!
As of recent, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of ‘feminism’. If you know me, then you’ll know that I talk THE MOST when it comes to preaching about black feminism and the double oppression that women of colour face every day. From the age of eleven, when my momma put Maya Angelou’s biography in my hands – I proudly (and loudly) identified as a feminist. As I grew as a woman, I began to see the cracks in the movement, I saw the unspoken racism of ‘feminism’ and the way in which women of colour are accused of being divisive for discussing it. I was ANGRY. With no place to channel the fire and explosiveness in my chest, I read – I read everything from Audre Lorde, Anita Desai to Alice Walker and the Womanist movement that followed.
These thought leaders, poets and revolutionaries shaped the way I identified as a woman, viewed my place within black feminism and subsequently how I wrote and spoke. For years, I identified as a feminist, but there was something missing, I tried to ignore it for so long but it was clawing at my soul. For true black feminism is demonised; we are told that we are devaluing and dividing the movement because we speak on white supremacy/privilege and the oppressive systematic racism that is SO very real. Our daily struggles are overlooked, marginalised and ignored. We, women of colour are constantly labelled as ‘ANGRY’ our voices are not valued, they are silenced.
It goes without saying that equality and women’s rights are still at the forefront of the way I live my life every day, but I can no longer identify as a ‘feminist’. My passion, tenacity, spirituality and the warrior within me, cannot be tamed by a movement which dictates its degrees of acceptability – I am unapologetically so much more than that. The true essence of my Womanity is found, not in the glittery label of being a ‘feminist’ but by simply BEING – a Woman: a Woman standing alone in all her glory.
Love yourselves, always.
Jasmine Reinah xo