Blackgirls Matter


but we don’t see her enough.

to know she’s not stronger than steel

that super-human shit is made for TV

but made for real life



we matter

but we don’t hear ourselves enough.

screams are muted by stereotypes and assumptions

that swallow and misunderstand our words

when they are not softly-spoken

or standardized

making us feel foreign

in our own damn land

we belong here

because we belong everywhere


we matter

but we are not present enough.

forced, always, to think ahead

and defend ourselves

to think back

and protect ourselves

blackgirls lives

are fleeting

taken away

at the hands of people we love

sometimes at our own hands

because being black when the world sees you as all wrong

is like a degenerative disease

with an expensive ass cure

we matter

our sadness is not a pathology

we are not pathological

please pay attention to our/my/their pain

please let me/us/them know they matter

I never thought I would live to be the age that I am.  It wasn’t just sadness and lack that convinced me, it was the utter disregard for who I was in the world.  I never thought that anyone would give a damn that I was gone or miss me.  I imagined relief at the news.  I imagined indifference.  Finally, that little black girl is not taking up any more space in the world.

Suicide happens because death feels preferable to living.  It doesn’t mean I’m crazy, it means I’m human, it means that I hurt, it means that I matter.  Blackgirls need reassurance, love, affirmation, understanding, quiet, noise, Jesus, Allah, themselves, to be, our mamas, our sister-girls, lovers, time, enough money to get by, for our biologicals to bother, to be chosen, to be recognized, to  be celebrated, to be held up on a pedestal barefoot and proud, to be told relentlessly and unapologetically that we are beautiful, to be listened to, to be heard, a space to fall apart, a space to be put back together again, help, justice, truth, to know they matter.

When you see a blackgirl, smile.  She is a gift to the world.

When you hear a blackgirl speak, listen.  She is a gift to the world.

When you are in the presence of a blackgirl, look.  She is a gift to the world.

Blackgirls matter.  Those of us who breathe and those of us no longer breathing.

In Loving Memory of Karyn Washington, and other blackgirls we have lost.  Please use the comments section to call the names of other blackgirls we have lost too soon.

16 thoughts on “Blackgirls Matter

  1. Goddess bless you for this. I was so hoping that we BW would at least honor Karyn, thus ourselves. Thank you. Ashe selah.

  2. I began publicly writing last week so that I might fully breathe. death is too close most days. I will write and speak for us/them/her/you/me in spite of death welcoming me.

  3. Kristen … 12 years old and was my nieces classmate at Eastwood middle school in tuscaloosa al. Committed suicide early Friday morning!

  4. This was as heartbreaking as it was beautiful. I read this aloud to myself, because I wanted it to sink in. Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry that no one saw Karyn Washington’s pain soon enough to intervene. I’m sorry the darkness became too much for her to bear. I’m just sorry…

  5. This is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait to share it with all the beautiful black women in my life.

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