By Samantha McKenzie
I joined the millions of supporters who cheered on the recent news of Malia Obama’s acceptance into Harvard University. We celebrated online with strangers, mentally high-fived each other on news feeds and collectively felt like we were sending one of our own daughters off to college. It was another beautiful Obama family moment that made us all so proud.
I felt the magic moving through us, finding its way into our hearts and allowing us to celebrate this young woman’s accomplishment. You know, we’ve watched her grow up – rather gracefully I might add – right before our eyes. She, if no one else, deserved a day in history to be publicly acknowledged for this mighty achievement.
It wasn’t long before we got wind of the derogatory tweets and negative comments online. There was hate speech, insults, name calling and more. There was no regard for this young woman’s feelings. The haters didn’t care that she was only 17-years-old. It didn’t matter that she was the daughter of the President of the United States of America or that she studied hard, made straight A’s or aced the SAT/ACT scores. None of that mattered to them at all.
What did matter is that we witnessed Malia’s black girl magic and her popularity grew in spite of the hatred. In fact, it rallied our spirits and we built yet another wall of sisterhood around her, because we protect our young. This is the magic of us. She was stepping into her awesomeness and giving us just a peek into her power. In that brief moment in time, we watched her put on the strength of her mother and the foresight of her father and walk proudly into her own sunlight.
She became a part of us, a part of the whole, a part of what makes us magical.
Coined by CaShawn Thompson over a year ago, the phrase “Black Girls Are Magic” and the accompanying hashtag #blackgirlmagic continue to roll off our tongues. Celebrities like Willow Smith and Amandla Stenberg – both with their own black girl magic – lend their voice to the movement. Through her idea, Thompson has taught the world to collectively celebrate black women and girls where ever we see them.
She caused a spark. It caught fire. We are producing yet another chapter – black women who do magical things every day.
Here’s to Malia Obama and you. Thank you for sharing your magic. To all of our mothers who didn’t get much credit for their miracles, thank you. To my sisters who are making magical moments as we speak, you reminded us that we are still, amazingly phenomenal, brilliantly resilient, genuinely inspiring, and forever magical!