In the Age of Trump, Fuck Black Girl Magic
Reflections on Solange, Melissa Harris-Perry and Beyond

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Fuck black girl magic.

I call it dark magic— a force of capitalism attempting to turn my existence into something once again for consumption. There is something greater than magic in me. Magic is and always has been a temporary solution to a persisting problem. This is not a critique of black girl magic itself, but rather its implications.


On October 27th, 2016, Solange Knowles and Melissa Harris-Perry came to campus. In the wake of Solange’s latest album, 
A Seat at the Table, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley of Mic Check created a space for both Harris-Perry and Solange to discuss themes from album in the context of the current socio-political climate in the U.S.  The theme of the event was #BlackGirlMagic, and there were moments that felt like magic. I was seated three rows from them in CEMEX auditorium and, despite an awkward beginning, I needed their words. I needed the reminder that “some shit is a must, some shit is for us.” Lately, I’ve been feeling like little belongs to me, including my body and my voice. To see two black women sit on stage and say words like:

“I’m very clear on what we’ve built. And we’ve built this.”

“It’s hard to love America and have it not love me back.”

“Nobody promised you that you will win in your lifetime. The whole system is completely HAM sandwich: hot ass mess.”  

“The struggle continues.”

“Be careful that we never take the work and effort out of what we do or even how much harder it is to accomplish what we do.”

It gave me hope. The struggle may continue, but at least I knew I was not alone in the struggle. In that moment I knew there were black people like me who were committed to compassionately pursuing justice. The first couple of lyrics of Solange’s Mad go:

“You got the light, count it all joy
You got the right to be mad
But when you carry it alone you find it only getting in the way”

Listening to these two entirely sincere women share their experiences and hopes, I felt my anger dissipate a little. I felt my anger becoming just a little bit productive. A sense of community washed over me.


Less than two weeks later, I felt rage. November 8th, 2016. Donald Trump was named the president-elect.

“The struggle continues.”

I’ve never felt more displaced. I’ve never felt more without a homeland. With the election of Trump, the United States has proven to me that white supremacy lives on.

“Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”

“Maybe [the BLM protester] should have been roughed up,” he mused. “It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

Look at my African American over here.”

“THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS RACISM ANYMORE. WE’VE HAD A BLACK PRESIDENT SO IT’S NOT A QUESTION ANYMORE. ARE THEY SAYING BLACK LIVES SHOULD MATTER MORE THAN WHITE LIVES OR ASIAN LIVES? IF BLACK LIVES MATTER, THEN GO BACK TO AFRICA? WE’LL SEE HOW MUCH THEY MATTER THERE.”

This is a small smattering of racist things Trump has said about black people, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of his absolutely horrifying ideas about immigration–specifically in regard to Latinx, Chicanx, and Hispanic people, Muslims, women, Native American people, queer people, or any other minority group you could possibly think of.

This country was in part built on the backs of my ancestors.  

“I’m very clear on what we’ve built. And we’ve built this.”  

According to Trump, we have no agency and little humanity. The injustices we face are imaginary. Sometimes, I wish I could go back to the continent, Africa. If only to know where I’m from because I’m certainly not from here.

“It’s hard to love America and have it not love me back.”

Fuck black girl magic.

Listen, listen good. Do not boil me down to pixie dust as if my survival were a result of a wish. I highlight Trump’s words not because I think they are outrageous. I highlight his words because I think it’s outrageous that I’ve dealt with comments like this my whole life and that the little bit of progress we’ve made in my lifetime could be so unceremoniously stamped out.

“The struggle continues.”

In my veins, I carry the blood of a matriarchy— a lineage of women who slayed. I am the product of prayers and pushing and breaking. I have prayed and pushed and been broken. I am also immersed in a society that demands I display my capital–a society that refuses to let me be human either by asserting that I am less able to feel emotion than other non-black femmes or that I am an animal at a petting zoo (you know this hair is my shit).

My options are:   

I am suspicious. I am angry. I am cold. I am hard. I am a threat.

or

I am carefree. I am effortless. I am sparkle. Always sparkle. I am magic.

Never:

I am human.

When asked about what black girl magic meant to them, Solange and Perry both responded with a level of discomfort. Melissa warned:

“Be careful that we never take the work and effort out of what we do or even how much harder it is to accomplish what we do.”

How much harder will it be to be black and femme and queer in a country run by a man who refuses to acknowledge the existence of racism, sexism, and my rights? How much harder will it be to survive, to hold on to my humanity? If Trump erases the struggle, will it mean a continuation of living between extremes?

Fuck black girl magic because I refuse to escape one sort of dehumanization only to face another. Give me worth that is not connected to my capital. Give me worth that’s connected to my inherent humanity.


Image from here.

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