Last year, Anthony finally convinced me to watch Blackish. The show stars Anthony Anderson (Andre) and goals galore herself, Tracee Ellis Ross (Rainbow). They’re a middle-aged, black couple living in suburbia. Andre is an advertising exec and Rainbow is an MD. They have five children, and they’re living the American Dream. Although they’re a fictional family, I see glimpses of my future while watching this show. This Truth Tuesday I’m discussing my struggle of living Blackish.
We all have several versions of ourselves we present to different groups, but for me, blackish is the version I struggle with the most. I have no problem acting like I have a little sense while attending a formal event, or acting like I have no sense at a concert. In both instances I’m still 100% myself just expressing myself differently. But, operating in the realm of blackish is a bit different. It’s tricky, and often makes me wonder if I’m truly being authentically me.
When I was in high school, I was in the band. Listen, DO NOT JUDGE ME! In my small school of 400 students, it was cool to be in the band. We had 5 buses we took to away football games and band competitions. Every black kid in band rode bus #3. I’m not sure when this tradition got started, but it was still active during my high school days. I grew up in a small southern town, that sadly is still segregated in a lot of ways. Bus #3 was always sub par compared to the other 4 buses. One Saturday morning we were headed to Murfreesboro, TN for a competition. I got upset that once again, our bus sucked. I told my band mates, “hey I’m getting off the bus, I refuse to ride it”. Other students followed and before you know it we had enough students off the bus to get the attention of our band director. He eventually came over, talked to me and made a change.
I tell you this story, (I have plenty more stories like this, I’ll share one day) because I wonder if high school Sheena would approve of blackish Sheena? Daily it’s like walking a tight rope. Be black enough to affirm I’m woke, but not too black to scare people. The in between is Blackishville, and I can’t say I’m 100% comfortable residing here. Hey, I get it, no one is forcing me to stay, but the way the society is set up I find myself here.
So, by now I know you’re wondering, “hey Sheena, where’s the truth”? Truth is, some days I totally feel like high school Sheena is judging the ish out of me! I’m out here telling everyone to live freely while I’m secretly struggling. The frustration sets in when I try to explain this to people, and they ignore it as if I’m making it all up.
Quick test…go to Google and type in married couples (images). Did you see what I saw? I’m sure you did, there were only a few images of black couples. What if your whole life you only saw glimpses of yourself in a positive light? We all need something/someone to look up to or aspire to be. Yes, you can learn from anyone, but it’s a great feeling when you see someone who looks like you kicking the world’s a**.
How do I get out of Blackishville? I’m going to have to tap into high school Sheena a little more, and not give up when people look at me crazy or tell me I’m making this up. I also must continue to introduce myself into diverse circles and show more people that black girls really do have magic. Throughout history nothing groundbreaking was ever accomplished by people standing still and being quiet.
I’ll leave you with a poem I love. It’s called The Bridge Poem by Donna Kate Rushin. Click HERE to read!
Do you ever feel like you’re living in a temporary “ville” that causes some form of struggle?
Until next time loves…
Photo by Ivory Door Studio
I love this! Thanks for being so open. In a lot of ways, I feel like we all have our suit and it causes so much role confusion. I think you are such a beautiful person inside and out, and I’m so honored to know someone who continues to give freely of themselves to make the world a more understanding place!
Seriously, can we set a goal to take a weekend trip in 2018???
Girl… this hit home for me! Wow it’s like you jumped right into my brain and typed out my feelings! It’s so hard sometimes! Thanks so much for sharing! Xo
Jamaria | throughjamseyes.com
Thanks so much for reading!
This is so great! As we grow into adults sometimes that youthful voice gets pushed back but listening to it can be so inspiring. Love what Ashton shared too.
And band was & is always cool ;)!
I’m the worst!!! Anthony told me to text you and ask about the game night. We’re so thankful for people like you who we can let our hair down and be ourselves with. I keep telling myself we don’t need Christmas pictures but the voice in my head is getting louder…YES YOU DO SHEENA!!!
Another great post and so true. I find Myself struggling at work. Being me but not being to black. #the struggle
It’s a struggle. Thanks for reading!
As you continue to watch, you’ll learn how Dre deals with this very thing. I know that traversing this world is already difficult enough, but having to measure and temper your actions and behavior just because of skin color is ridiculous. Thank you for speaking and sharing your truth.
I agree, it is ridiculous. Dre is hilarious. Thanks for reading!
I feel like I live in temporary “ville” everyday. Mine is not so much blackish, but just stuggle with being me totally and not scaring ppl off. I love the show blackish because its real although it based on fictional family.
Thanks for being honest and thanks for reading ❤
I love the self-reflection in this post! I’ve never watched the show but the way you did the comparison here was beautiful! I think most black people have struggled this way at some point, I feel like I’m there right now! Glad I’m not alone lol! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Tisha! I truly appreciate you. ❤
Thank you for being so open and honest Sheena! I can definitely relate, and it’s honestly something I struggle with too.
Thanks so much for reading, and we will get through it together!
I love how honest you are in this blog post! I’ve definitely struggled with this same thing several years ago.
Thanks for reading ❤
This definitely resonated with me in terms of how I am at work versus outside of work. Working in corporate America, tech specifically, we are sorely outnumbered. Also, that really irked me googling married couples, it’s the same if you google “beautiful woman”
I didn’t think of beautiful woman 😩. Thanks for reading!
I don’t want Blackish but I did see a clip where a little whit girl was in the elevator by herself. H refused to get in the elevator with her despite her being a toddler, no parents around and clearly she was distressed. In his mind it was more dangerous to help the little girl out. It was funny but its sad that it is the truth.
I work with people who look like me but even recognizing there are so many differences eve with being the same race. I think we all have to bring out that person who stands up for what is right.
Yes, that scene was funny lol. You’re so right it can be like that even with people that look like you.
Great Post and definitely something to think about! I think this is something we have all dealt with at some time or another. And I immediately got irritated when I googled married couples.
Me too (about the pictures). Thanks for reading!
All the truths. I love that Blackish is bringing some real to the screen. Folks need to know it is real.
Blackish is so awesome. Thanks for reading.
As soon as you mentioned band I thought about that quote “this one time…at band camp..” haha
On a more serious note, that James Baldwin quote hit me even harder than the poem. Powerful words
LOL!!! James Baldwin = The Truth
I get it… Thankfully I’ve grown up in the big cities. The Bronx, NYC and now in the DC area. All I know is a melting pot. Despite that there are times when I need to remind folks that I’m a strong/smart brown girl.
Yes, so true
Your post reminds me of the Chris Rock joke about living as a Black person, especially when it comes to how we speak. He said we speak “Black,” but we also speak “Job Interview.”
We all have different roles to play and characters we fit throughout the day.
I think Blackish does a great job of introducing people to the struggle of what it’s like to be Black and question your identity.
Yes!!! I remember that. I’m so glad Blackish is on tv. It’s so awesome.
I live in a black country so there is not much effect on my life until I choose to travel or listen to the news. Which in return seems like a culture shock to me.
Thanks for reading!
I was super excited when this show came out. It tackles so many of the issues we face that certain people in America turn a blind eye to.
Yes, it really does!!!
This is such a great story. We watch Blackish together as a family every week. Although our daughter is only 6, we allow her to watch it because it shows her a lot of the realities of growing up black.
It is such a great show!!!
Girl I am super pro-black. I have been missing episodes of this Seasons Blackish but I heard they are getting super “woke”. It seems like many black people are living two different worlds and worlds we are trying to fit into white society with our melanated skin.
I am so happy high school Sheena stood up for herself and others followed you. That was big of you. You should definitely do it more often if you feel something is off or wrong in regards to you being a black woman in society. Speak up when you can and make it known dont be afraid to speak out.
Yes to all of this!!!!! Thanks for reading.