Say it Loud! I’m Young, Black, and I’m Proud!

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What do Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar have in common? They’re both reminding Americans how absolutely “LIT” it is to be black in America. Beyoncé received a lot of attention (both negative, and positive) after her recent Super Bowl performance. She debuted her new single “Formation” and performed with a group of all black women with natural hair. During Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy performance, he featured himself draped in chains, African dancers, and an image of Africa with “Compton” written in the middle. While some people view their performances as anti-police, racist, or my personal favorite “un-American” the only message that I received from their performance was that they are using their platforms to show that they are three things: young, black, and proud! But what about this is intimidating? Why does being pro-black mean that you’re also anti-white?

As a young, black woman in the South, I have seen my fair share of racism. I’ve seen the dirty looks and heard the snarky remarks. It’s sad to say, but growing up in Birmingham, AL racism came with the territory. I was raised around nothing but black people. My family members, friends, classmates, and neighbors were all black. I never even realized how segregated my life experiences had been until I started attending a PWI. (Predominately White Institution) It was in college that I gained more diversity. Today, I can socialize with people of different races and dominate the entire room, but this was not always the case.

I’ve always thought that I needed to water myself down to be accepted in this predominately white industry. I would speak in a much softer tone than usual, because I couldn’t be too loud. I sometimes even try to hide my accent, because who wants to hire a little country black girl? If I had blue eyes and blonde hair, my accent would be considered charming, but I’m not. My accent would be too “urban” or too “street”; not charming at all. I didn’t think that I would be taken seriously professionally looking the way that I look, acting the way that I act, and talking the way that I talk.

I am a black woman and that will never change. I will always be loud, I will always be country, and I will always be dramatic. On the other hand, I will always be ambitious, I will always be hard-working, and I will always be professional. I’ve said all of this to say this; to all of my little black boys and girls, whatever you do, DO NOT conform. Don’t water yourself down to try to become who society tells you should be. Be young, black, and proud; and do so unapologetically.

Darshay K. Lampley is a Broadcast Journalism major and Creative Writing minor at Jacksonville State University. Upon graduating, she anticipates a lucrative career in the entertainment industry. Darshay is an entertainment journalist, on-air radio personality, and is currently writing her first book. Darshay believes that her ambition along with her strong faith in God will lead her down the pathway to success. "God is within her, she will not fail." Psalm 46:5

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