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Issue 17 Out Now

Loving Black Women in Practice — not Theory

She’s got moscato in her walk, champagne in her hair, Pinot grigio in her voice, Chardonnay in her veins; so excuse me if my words are slurred because sometimes Im just too drunk in her love to think right. She’s got the galaxy in her smile, the sky in her eyes, the moon in her strides. You see she takes me out of space. got skin like Ghiradelli’s finest, like Hershey on steroids, like Godiva flowing in her bloodline like God was just showing off when he made her, Like “Ayo shawty what yo name is?!” Like “Baby baby baby.” Like “I love you, you love me” Like “Tell me what I gotta do to please you.” Like Girl I love you. I promise, I promise that every little chance I get I will dip my hand into the cookie jar of smiles you keep hidden on top of the pain of the last man who hurt you and pull out a smile bright enough to give the sun low self esteem. I promise I will be the hyphen between your birth and death date, spending every moment of my time in your presence. I promise, I will have the trust, courage, and faith, and dedication required to… Love Love, without intent of being perfect Love, knowing we will fall Love, knowing falling is not failing Love, spontaneously Love, infinitely Love, losing track of time Love, with every ounce of trust left desperately hanging on to our hearts Love, knowing what God has put together, let no man tear apart. Love, unconditionally Love, from this day forward Love, for richer; for poorer Love, for better or for worse Love, in sickness and in health Love, forsaking all others Love, so long as we both live Girl I love…you And so, by the power vested in me by the aforementioned declaration, I now pronounce, I am ready to love you. the way you’ve always loved me. -Durmerrick Ross, Always Never Dead (2017)

Since the beginning of time, Black women have remained the lifeblood of the world. Much like the Christian recount of creation. Though, women today bear the consequences of the actions of men but are considered the antagonist. Too often the value of Black women is reduced to “strength” as a way to admire the ability of Black women to stay afloat amidst oppression without actually challenging the oppression. The infatuation with Black women’s strength finds roots in the creation of modern gynecology. Scientist, J. Marion Sims, conducted many painful experiments on Black women without the use of anesthesia to test Black women’s “strength”. In this contemporary moment, whether it’s the alarming murder rates of Black transwomen or the horrific rates of sexual and domestic violence, Black women are grossly neglected, dangerously unprotected, and subject to complex forms of oppression at the hands of those they consistently care for.

Today, Black women face many of the same challenges to self-determination as they did during the height of the mid-1900s feminist and womanist movements. To be fair, little has changed in the fight for freedom and social justice at-large. Whatever has changed, however, is not removed from the impact of Black women’s collective voice and power. Without Black women, this world — in so many ways — could not exist.

On this day and everyday, we take the time to honor, admire, and deeply love all that is the history, lives, and impact of Black women. More than honor, we must give life to this love in practice. Loving Black women in practice means: dismantling patriarchy, sexism, and misogynoir in all forms (personal, structural, institutional); means showing up in support of; means reproductive justice; means using language that empowers and doesn’t disparage; means choice; means consent; means finding and using whatever redeemable quality that exists within us(men) to do the necessary work of feminism and ending gendered oppression for all.

Any other love is unworthy.

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