Just last night, I layed on the couch next to Mr. President #1 watching the Olympics. I allowed him to stay up way after his bedtime, because he and his father are big Usain Bolt fans and wanted to watch him race. Immediately following the men's 200-meter semi-finals was the finals for the women's 100-meter hurdles...the race I had been waiting for! Why, you ask? When I learned about the three black, American girls who qualified for the finals, I just couldn't miss this one. I sat on the edge of my seat with Mr. President #1 to watch those three black girls fly through those hurdles, and just like I had imagined, they swept the race! Gold, silver, and bronze; they won them all!
I jumped up on my feet and tears literally started rolling down my eyes. Mr. President #1 looked at me and said, "Are you okay, Mommy?" But I couldn't even answer him because I was just afflicted and overwrought with emotion. What happened to me y'all? Why was I standing there in front of the television crying like a big 'ol baby. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'll let you in on a little secret...black, American girls didn't just show up at the Olympics in Rio, but they showed OUT and SLAYED! You hear me [like my Mississippi-raised great-grandmother used to say]? Black girls were breaking records left and right, and America aught to be proud!
As as a black girl from the US, I have to admit I am feeling some type of way about black girls dominating the Olympics, and it is nothing short of gratifying. While the rest of America [or the rest of the world for that matter], is growing accustomed to seeing images and videos of black women and mothers mourning and pleading for help over the unexplained deaths of their sons and daughters, and sisters and brothers, these black, American girls in the Olympics are shaking things up and showing another side of black women. Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, and Tori Bowie (just to name a few), are showing the world what it's like for a black girl to rejoice in happiness, in success, in accomplishments, and without fear. That's why I stood in front of the television crying like a baby.
I want to congratulate each and every athlete who represented at the Olympics this year. But more importantly, I want to thank every single one of those black, American, female athletes who came to Rio and SLAYED! Thank you for representing all of us. Thank you for showing all of those little black girls out there who are on the verge of succumbing to less than fulfilling notions of society about what kind of future they are going to have, that the sky is the limit! Who cares what your hair looks like! Who cares whether or not you can slick your strands back into a ponytail like Shawn Johnson! Thank you for teaching other little black girls to never be discouraged because of what they look like.
I hope I live to see the day when we are taught to live to BECOME something, not live to OVERCOME something. Because of you, I feel one step further to that brighter future. Because of you, I can look at how beautifully my children are growing and be happy instead of riddled with fear. In the words of the great Guy Carawan (in one of the greatest civil-rights anthems), "Deep in my heart, I do believe, that we shall overcome one day." Way to go, team USA!!