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