5 reasons I Found”A Wrinkle in Time” Affirming as a Grown-Ass Black Woman

When “Black Panther” came out my timeline was full of think pieces dissecting every aspect of Wakanda life from the wardrobe to different interpretations of single quotes from the film. Now we have “A Wrinkle in Time” and all I saw was an article about how “A Wrinkle in Time” is just as important as “Black Panther”. Now I am not one to make comparisons. “Black Panther” and “A Wrinkle in Time” are two totally different films. The only reasons why they get compared to each other is because they are both big budget Disney films directed by African American directors, featuring Black leads with strong Black female characters who are the smartest people in the universe, and also happen to be kickass warriors. Just a few similarities I guess but you probably already knew that. Since they are compared so much I figured “A Wrinkle in Time” was deserving of some more think pieces and sense I felt so inspired by the film I decided to write one myself. Here it is chock full of spoilers. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

5 reasons I Found “A Wrinkle in Time” Affirming as a Grown-Ass Black Woman:

w11. It affirmed my faults: Being pre-adolescent the main character Meg, like most girls her age, was plagued by her insecurities. As a result, she had no friends and was often bullied which only served to make her more insecure about herself. As she journeys through the universe the self doubt that was constructed by her low self-esteem hinders her at every turn until however, she acknowledges her faults, speaks them aloud and owns them in such a way that they could not be used against her by her attacker. This ownership of what she considered “faults” in the film resonated with me because it speaks to the power we gain when we stop hiding who we are and embrace our true selves. We are unstoppable when we are aware of our faults but just as secure in our virtues.

2. It affirmed that we have Black Girl Magic: Meg can fly. She understands physics (Lord knows I struggled in Physics in college). She can put her hair in a top-knot with no hair tie. It is her mother, Dr. Dana Murry’s, equation that made it so that her father could travel through the universe. However, her mother had the sense not to do it. Without even including Oprah Winfrey’s character, Mrs. Which, this film is dripping with Black Girl Magic.

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 3. It affirmed why we aren’t all openly trusting: We are pretty familiar with the Angry Black Woman troupe. We see it all the time and at the beginning of the film Meg could be perceived as just an angry black girl. Meg however, isn’t just an angry black girl, Meg has a backstory (like all girls that get plastered with that label). It is clear that Meg is hurting and the source of that hurt stems from the abrupt absence of her father. This is captured in a scene where Meg gets sent to the principal’s office for hurting one of her classmates and the principal begins talking about how she has “this wall up” and that she can’t use her father’s disappearance as an excuse for being guarded forever. However, it was this lack of trust that protected her from falling victim to the darkness when she was offered food that she felt skeptical about so ultimately did not to eat it. To me this exemplified how so often we have life experiences that diminish our ability to trust openly which can get in the way of opportunities at times. The film however acknowledges that our lack of trust in the world is coming from a real place and when exercised correctly can lead to self preservation, as it did for Meg. Like so many of us who have good reason not to be trusting as a means of self protection, when this self protection is utilized appropriately it actually serves as a tool for survival.

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4. It affirmed my natural hair: There is no denying the theme of embracing one’s natural hair throughout the film. Granted, the message might have been made more powerful if Meg had a curl pattern that was a bit less socially acceptable. Nevertheless, the evolution of Meg’s feelings towards her full head of curls sometimes frizzy, sometimes well defined was a super important thread throughout the film. I know that as a grown ass woman who has worn my hair naturally for the past five years I felt affirmed when Meg chose her curly-haired-eyeglass-wearing self (I also wear glasses) over the more trendily dressed, glasses free, straight haired option of herself she was presented with. Just to be clear, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with straightened hair or eye contacts and for the most part the dominant culture in our country does not either. Natural hair is not as widely accepted and in many ways has been under attack. That is why the storyline dealing with Meg’s hair throughout the film is so meaningful.  

5. It affirmed our ride or dieness: I recently saw Ava DuVernay on the talk show, “The Real”, and she described “A Wrinkle in Time” as a story about love. Based off the trailers I assumed it was about a daughter’s love for her father and vice versa but when watching the film I realized that it was about all types of love. The search for self love of course but there is also this maternal type of love that Meg shows towards her brother. Meg is ride or die for her brother. She shows this fierce sort of love towards him that her own father was not able to muster. To me Meg’s love for her brother speaks to our relentless and boundless capacity to love. It is this powerful relentless love that allows women to survive child labor, protect our loved ones, work tirelessly to support our families financially and just get shit done. Watching Meg’s love for her brother on the big screen was a nice reminder of how astounding our love can be.

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In closing, I would like to thank Ava Duvernay for her inspiring filmmaking. While “Selma” showed us what we were capable of doing in the past. “13th” painted a picture of the challenges we are up against today. Leaving “A Wrinkle in Time” to demonstrate how the power of love and trust in our youth can give us hope for a more liberatory future.

Beyoncé, Please do a Post Babies Photo Shoot

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Dear Beyoncé,

Love you, love you, place no one above you. Well, except my family (or at least that is what I tell them). I don’t need to tell you how much your awesomeness radiates throughout the universe. You said it yourself that you “stop the world” and you do. As you did when you released your goddess inspired maternity pictures. The green veil, the flowers, the car, the underwater magic — when in the world has anyone ever done that like that? Never! It might have seemed as if people were hunched over their computers looking at your maternity shoot pictures but really they were reacting out of reflex, bowing down to your greatness. The more and more I read about the intentionality of the shoot, the more and more I am inspired by your ability to weave artistic expression, Afrocentricity and pop culture breaking headline stories together. Each bead, each camera angle, each flower petal of your look serving as a thumbnail to some deep history, a story often told in some spaces and forgotten in others.

We know you deserved that Grammy. What Adele said is what we all would have said if we ever had the honor of your presence bestowed upon us (you also deserved the Oscar for Dreamgirls by the way, but we won’t get into that right now). What I am attempting to articulate is that the winner of the most coveted award in the music industry acknowledging that you were more deserving of the award than she was is just one example of how you can transcend any form that comes your way. That is why I think it would be super awesome if you approached a post-baby body shoot in the same manner that you approached your maternity shoot. Same vulnerability. Same intentionality. Same beauty. Same body, but just in a different form.

Don’t get me wrong, Queen Bey, you don’t owe me anything. You have already awarded me countless nights of pure fun, like lying to DJ’s that it’s my friend’s birthday just so they would play “Get Me Bodied” one more ‘gain. You have shared with us some of your most intimate life moments. You’ve pushed your artistry and donated to charities, you have lent your voice to movements and have marched in city streets. Most importantly, you created the soundtrack for my adolescent and adult life. I remember studying for AP Biology in my friend Anya P’s bedroom while listening to The Writings on the Wall, belting out: “I’m doing so, so, so good, good, good, good” until my voice was hoarse. I sang “End of Time” to my son when he was an infant to calm him down when he had his daily fits. When parenting got a bit stressful I would get in my car and play “Mine”, trying not to blow out my speakers with the bass turned up high. I was in my kitchen when I first found out about the video for “Formation”. I never finished the dishes that day, I couldn’t stop watching the video. First the Superbowl, then seeing you perform it live at Levi’s Stadium a few months after, was truly a powerful experience. I don’t think I have ever stepped foot on an elliptical or ran a single mile in the past ten years without your voice in my ear pushing me and inspiring me to keep going. When I want to stop I think, “would Beyoncé stop?” And of course, I am not alone. There isn’t a single friend that I consider near and dear that does not feel the same way as I do. Your music is EVERYTHING.

However, there was a time when I felt really frustrated with you. It was after I had my second child and my baby weight had not melted off of me like it had with my first child. I felt like a freak of nature searching for affirmation. While I do remember listening to “Blow” and “XO” during this time, I also remember thinking, “did Beyoncé go through this with Blue?” I know you had a full staff of people to support you through your postpartum transition, but did your boobs sag a centimeter at least? Did you have a single stretch mark? Did you have a pooch? Was there any extra skin that took a little while to regain elasticity? Is the only part of your body that bears any evidence of you having a child your uterus? Ok, I’ll stop. I don’t mean to get all up in your uterus. I have since realized that just like every baby is different, every post-baby body is different. I’m not emo about my body anymore and your body is none of my business. I just think it would be hella dope if you had an out of this world postpartum photo shoot. It could be on the moon, it could have Aida theme or it could be in your bathroom. I’ll let you and your people figure all of that out. You are Beyoncé. Really all you would have to do is roll up like ‘this is what I effing look like after having some twins’. Soak up my femininity. Embrace my feminism. This is motherhood unfiltered. Smell the sweet nectar of my honey breast milk. And yes, I woke up like this because I sleep when they sleep and they wake up every 2-4 hours.

So, in closing, I just want to say that I know this extremely intrusive request is far fetched and probably will never happen but whatever you do, just know that as a fan I will always love you, flaws and all.

Love,

Whitney

#WomenCrushWednesday~Deauna

Women crush everyday of the week! To honor and share stories of women who are crushing it either on the body front or the mama front, I am featuring short interviews of women who are crushing it, hence the title #WomenCrushWednesday. So without further ado, let me introduce you to Deauna!

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How has your view of your body evolved over the years?

I didn’t have the bounce-back body most women had. After my son, I had a road map of stretch marks. When I had my daughter four years later, the road map was now drawn on what looked like a tricycle tire that no amount of cocoa butter or crunches would make go away. What also bothered me was in my mind I was smaller, but my clothes told a different story. I’d obsess about beating muffin top and belly fat into submission.
As I approached 40 I realized I needed to change how I looked at myself and life. I earned a couple of pounds and deserved peace of mind.
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How do you think women should feel about their bodies?

Embrace her body at whatever size it is right now. Buy clothes that accentuate features she loves. Walk by mirrors and feel herself sometimes. Say yes to that piece of cheesecake. The Universe didn’t put cheesecake here to be ignored. Life is too short to worry about not having Michelle Obama’s arms or Serena Williams’ whole lower half.

Why do you do what you do?

This is a two-fold answer. I have a 16-year-old daughter who already has some body image issues and I want her to love and accept herself the ways she is. I don’t want her waking up at 36 and thinking she needs to be anyone other than who she wants to be.
I’m going through a life change and it’s just good for my peace of mind. Writing on my blog helps me navigate this growth and find out how I want to experience life after 40. I realize that my body is actually pretty spectacular and I’m more focused on health than how I look. It also reminds me that I’m human and the only moment I have is right now. Right now, the tricycle tire and stretch marks remind me I grew and birth two humans I love and watched grow into interesting people.
Check out Deauna’s blog, Honesty’s Protegee!
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