We sing at the top of our lungs the song from “Let it Go’ from the movie Frozen, but when a Black woman chooses herself, the music stops.
What a week for Black Women, from Olympic disappointments to show cancellations to ischemic life-changing decisions. We have been on full display. But the most profound announcement was the decisions Nikole Hannah-Jones made to join the facility of Howard University.
When I saw her perched in a seat across from Gayle King, I could feel what I was hoping to hear. Dr. Jones methodically unveiled her decision process to join Howard University.
When the story broke that she was the first person not to receive tenure, the internet blew up. She overqualified for the job and was pursued. She was to become the Knight Chair which has in the past since the 1980s included tenure. But because a donor did not like the breath of her work that won her a Nobel Peace Prize, The 1619 Project, he intervened by having her position excused from the tenure vote. After going through the entire process, she received glowing recommendations from peers and the university staff.
I can not fathom how she would have the fortitude to work under those circumstances. It seemed like the scrutiny would be the foundation of her career at UNC. Once a vote finally happened, Dr. Jones decided to end her process and move and provide an HBCU with her talents and resources. Bravo!
I heard years ago to go where you are loved. And while having the support of the students and staff, dealing with the administration would have been futile. Her work would have been under a microscope. Who in the hell wants to deal with that.
But from the perspective of a Black Woman, I am in complete awe of her. Signals a paradigm shift as Nikole puts herself first.
We historically rarely put need in the front of the line. We take a back seat to our dreams daily. The stories are heard daily about how we are sanctified to bring the dreams of others to life. Not only is it our conditioning, but in our DNA.
Servant Syndrome is a term use. The only way to explain how we take on the burdens of society even though it is killing us.
Our mask cracks every time a Black Woman chooses herself. The myth of strong black women dissipates when we speak our truth.
The truth of the matter is our obligation to this nation must shift. It is time to discover the part of ourselves seeking liberation. We owe everyone nothing but the opportunity to love us fully. As we break through centuries standing in the background, we begin to straighten our crown and create our worlds centering ourselves.