“The most poignant words from our black women have often convinced us that the ghastly
horror of our personal predicaments must finally give way to our shrewd inventions in the womb of language.”
– Sociologist, Michael Eric Dyson
Black women have always been able to narrate the symbols and metaphors to express the power of their brand of hope. They have also drawn from personal experience to paint mirrors of self-reflection on our collective imagination.
During the celebration of the 75th Golden Globes Awards ceremony in 2018, we saw the accumulation of something that was born in a little black girl’s mind: the determination to rise on the wings of hope. We cannot talk about the Black Girl’s brand of hope, which is unique and particular to her experience, without paying homage to the drive and determination expressed in Oprah Winfrey’s eloquent speech at the 75th Golden Globes Awards Show.
Throughout her career, Winfrey has fearlessly willed her world of creative expression into existence. And with each platform she has earned, we can proudly say that she has inscribed the complex and explosive identity that flows through every black woman’s soul onto the world’s consciousness.
Her speech was a memorable lesson in the vivid, imaginative, colorful, and significant ways that black women communicate their stories. Oprah has conjured a gift for all young black women to see themselves and their moral possibilities from a different angle than the one suggested by whatever reality they confront.
Oprah Winfrey revealed the power of black women across the world: we embrace their words, expand upon them, take them to rather personal places, and thus, open our imaginations to give birth to our creative souls.
According to Melissa V. Harris-Perry Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, the realities of black women as organizers, community activists, and elected officials indicate that black women have developed strategies to push back against both stereotypes and shame. The one way black women have demonstrated their agency under difficult circumstances is by crafting alternative images of themselves.
One of my favorite songs by the icon India.Arie “Video” demonstrates what has been mentioned in this article. India.Arie is drawing up encouragement, self-assurance, self-definition, self-reliance, independence and the creation and maintenance of having a positive image of blackness in a society that often seeks to negate and vilify it.
In many ways, Oprah’s speech offered a triumph of emotional and political resistance because black women have consistently demanded a right to name themselves.
To me, Oprah is a messenger of uplifting faith and healing. In many ways, it quickly reminded me how much I have always loved to hear black women talk — it really did not matter what they were saying. However, what Oprah delivered was a message that was serious, edifying, insightful and wise.
I felt privileged to hear such a speech. I marvel at just how good a simple phrase or speech spoken by a black woman could make one feel. In ways too wonderful for words to express, it ignited a young black girl in the daring hope that she too can speak her dreams into existence, and believe she can fly on the wings of hope.
(FEATURED IMAGE: Getty Images North America)