Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk was originally filmed in 2009, but it still remains poignant and timely in 2018. The message is simple - don’t fall victim to a single story. But what does that really mean?
The part of the Talk that we are focusing on in this post begins at the 9:14 mark. Adichie states that “show a people as one thing, and only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.” Women, especially Black women and other women of color have fallen into this cycle. Sometimes, even going to so far as to perpetuate the single story that has been told for decades themselves. Black women are loud, “ghetto,” uneducated, and uncouth. How many of us have been guilty of being “extra black” in front of mixed company? Ending every sentence with “yes girl!” And, making sure to roll that neck? Yep … you've perpetuated the single story, and we’re all guilty of doing this to ourselves constantly. We place ourselves into these tiny boxes, that really don’t mean much at the end of the day.
When I dreamed up Discover Brazen, I saw the singular story being perpetrated on social media. When you search any of the hashtags associated with Black women, such as #blackgirlmagic or #blackgirlsrock, all I see are pictures of beautiful women in bikinis. All of them look like the ideation of a “perfect” Black woman. Full lips, 3C hair texture, and a brick house figure. We are tall, short, slim, thick, and fall on many different points on the gender and sexuality spectrum. Today’s women’s empowerment movement is focused on what we look like, and not on what’s inside. We are more than our melanin, curves, and hair. And, before you angrily decide to cuss me out. I’m not looking down on that type of work. Black women do need to be told we are beautiful in a world that considers us ugly and undesirable. But, there are plenty of us who are tired of being sold weight loss teas, waist cinchers, and hair weave bundles. And, why is everything dusty pink?
The mission of Discover Brazen is to impact the world, one person at a time; empowering them to be bold, determined, passionate, visionary, and fearless. We're not just a single story. We're the engines of the world, and it’s time that we celebrate that. We're made of magic, not because of appearances, but because we have thrived in a world that has tried to dehumanize us. We've blossomed into magnificent people after the world has tried to break us down time and again.
This ain’t ya mama’s version of self-empowerment. I’m not going to tell you to create a morning routine, or to practice meditation twice per day. That’s cool if that works for you, but that’s not my lane. Instead, Discover Brazen’s type of empowerment is rooted in the powerful stories of Black women who've defied the odds in the past and are blazing new trails today. We aren’t just another graphic tee company. Our tees tell a story and are a suit of armor. I want you to feel like a badass with Harriet Tubman on your shirt. Dance like your life depends on it with a Judith Jamison shirt.
It’s time to tell more stories and break the pattern of a single story. It’s time to reclaim our power and smash the stereotypes. Black women have always been brazen, it’s about time we wear our brazenness proudly.