What is Black Girl Magic?

Before our conversation in class last week, I hadn’t heard of the term #BlackGirlMagic. I was curious to understand this movement so I decided to educate myself on it.


“The concept is important because it names and identifies the ways that black women make space for themselves, celebrate themselves, and connect to each other,” said Asia Leeds, an assistant professor at Spelman College in Atlanta. “I think that the various hashtags allow us to curate our magic and facilitate new connections and discoveries.” 

Viola Davis making history as the first black woman to win an Emmy for a leading role in a dramatic series

The “strong, black woman” archetype, which also includes the mourning black woman who suffers in silence, is the idea that we can survive it all, that we can withstand it. That we are, in fact, superhuman. Black girl magic sounds to me like just another way of saying the same thing, and it is smothering and stunting. It is, above all, constricting rather than freeing.

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For me, this movement really comes down to building and establishing community, experiencing pride, and finding inspiration. I included one quote which countered the movement as constricting and dehumanizing because I found her point of view to be very interesting. I don’t agree that this movement holds black women to a different standard but can understand how it can be interpreted that way.

What do you think? Do you agree with Linda Chavers in her article, here?

One comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this info because, like you, prior to our recent classes my understanding of #blackgirlmagic was pretty limited. I’m glad you shared a counter to the movement because my knowledge was largely restricted to the debate surrounding the hashtag. Linda Chavers’ article is really interesting to me because it hits on a point Professor Johnson made in class. What does it mean to live in a system where your everyday actions need to be described as magical? Ashley Ford’s response on the Elle site is also striking as it casts away the notion of outsiders and asserts that #blackgirlmagic is meant more as an internal mantra, something created by the self, rather than serving as a testament to outsiders. After reading these two pieces I side with Ford more as her response connects back to the questions that Prof. Johnson raised. The need for an internal mantra such as #blackgirlmagic is not to be dismissed but rather uplifted.

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