Black Thought: A Letter to Black Women’s Confidence

Danielle Young is the content queen. A beloved and trusted voice in the media, she will always make you laugh. You may know her from her candid and viral red carpet clips; her powerful sit-down interviews; her way-too-funny, honest pop culture commentary; or from her viral interview series, “Real Quick”; or her hit show,”The Danielle Young Show.” Not only does Danielle shine as the talent in her videos, but her production skills make her the Beyoncé of Black AF viral video content.

Dear Confidence of a Black Woman,

You are the land of milk and honey. Lush, fertile, untended ground that sustains anyone blessed enough to choose you as their dwelling place.

Choosing you became a necessity very early in my life. But, I don’t even know when we met. I just know that you’ve always given me footing that made showing up bearable. 

You’ve saved my life on more occasions than I can count and you’ve awakened something in me that can never be replaced: my worthiness.

I used to think that you were a source given to me from others. When anyone praised me, I’d wear the compliments like adornments, but it was obviously not permanent. Movable even if the wind blew in a direction that was in my favor. Confidence, discovering you as my foundation showed me that you weren’t up to anyone else, but me. And you became my much-needed armor.

Oh honey, you have done some thangs in this life, but it’s your work with us—Black women—that’s certainly the most incredible masterpiece I’ve ever seen up close. You have made those of us who stand firm in you—that girl

Whether in a crown or bonnet, Black women and Black women in training are a required study deserving of awe-filled observation. The kind of thing you say “behold” about and mean it. It’s never enough to just hold us. You’ve got to be first. Behold.

Black women doused in you; we are an experience unmatched. And while you’re so good for us confidence, possessing you is often perceived as a threat to others. 

Who does she think she is?!

Confidence, it’s you that we need to hold on to because your presence subjects us to their decided gazes, their dissections, their appraisals. And holding you is the glue that holds us together. And have to be held together in order to face any and everything that could possibly come our way. And what confidence has put together, let no man tear asunder—
Amen?!

There’s so many who desire to rip you from our grasp. They demand to know how or why we even dare to show up in love with ourselves? They want us to humble ourselves. Why don’t they see that we are humble, even while we’re with you? 

Your magnificence reflected in us isn’t palatable to most. And don’t let us call ourselves attempting to “fix” whatever folks think is wrong, broken, or unworthy. We then become the butt of their jokes or the meat of their criticism and because we’re expected to have strength embedded in our DNA, they think we don’t hurt—that the world doesn’t chip away at us; that we don’t even need you. And God knows we do.

And they wonder why we feel the need to be lifted up? 

Black women are often diminished to one emotion: anger. And anything else we outwardly feel is interpreted as such. The complexities of our emotional range is hardly ever considered. Oh, they’ll give us “strong,” but it’s only so they can have a reason not to be there for us in any way because we’ve got our own backs. And everyone loves a good story of overcoming, especially when Black women make it look so good. But strong is the least checked up on and the most criticized. Our strength requires you.

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When the hair that naturally grows out of our heads is being called unprofessional, unclean or unkempt–we can’t help but feel attacked just because of who we are. So thank you for braiding and weaving yourself into our tresses so that no matter what way the world drags us—down to our hair follicles, we still stand sure of ourselves.

But If it was easy to hold onto you, it wouldn’t be valued like those treasures in fairy tales and Disney stories. There’s maps, riddles and journeys that lead us to that treasure. Confidence, we have earned your protection. You keep us in a self love so deeply rooted, it would take a skilled team to dig that up.

While many bask in the glory of all that keeps us glimmering, others…well, their retinas burn in our presence. It’s you—you’re the fire this time. You’re the blessed reason girls like Sha’Carri Richardson can proclaim to be that girl with conviction. You’re the divine catalyst for Serena Williams to walk off the Wimbledon court with her head held high. You’re the spiritual salve rubbed into Chloe Bailey’s supple skin. 

And once we uncover the precious jewel you are, we are clear to choose ourselves. And you know how some folks can get over us choosing ourselves. Black women have historically chosen others ahead of ourselves. But confidence, when we hold tight to you, that allows us to choose ourselves first—that’s the part of living that we all deserve to have and to hold.

Imagine falling so in love with yourself, your life—all of the pieces of you that exist and are yet to—and sharing that special, unique and beautiful experience with the world? That’s you, confidence. You allow us to spread the joy and glory that we get to be ourselves. Confidence, you are truly that girl

Thank you from the depths of my being. 

Confidently yours,

Danielle

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