Often times, we, black women, fall in the traps of a society that tries to bring us down. On social media, television and real life, friendships between black women are portrayed as relationships built on competition, jealousy, cat-fights and pettiness. That does not have to be the case. Now, more than ever, we need each others backs and it starts with a soulful friendship that promotes sisterhood even in the toughest times.
So, what is a soulful friendship?
By definition, the word soulful means sincere, deep, emotional or expressive. Unlike the “friends” we have on Facebook, a soulful friendship is on a deeper level of understanding, built on honesty and selflessness. Building authentic friendships with each other will involve a mental change in the way we view each other. In today’s society, we are influenced by social media which, unfortunately, is the perception viewers like you and I have about black women. And in many cases, our perceptions are validated and confirmed at home, school and work, further poisoning the black community.
A mental shift in viewing each other as competition must change – when one wins, we all win. Recently, there has been a movement to change the perception of the black woman on television. Shows such as The African City, Insecure & A Different World portrays true struggles black women face and how their friendships have help them in their challenges.
So, why are black female friendships important?
There is something about black female friendships – it offers a sense of validation that the society refuses to give black women. A true friendship is so deep and meaningful because we understand, accept and pour so much into each other – something we cannot find elsewhere. Especially in America, we know what it is like to experience both racism and sexism. We know what is like to be labeled angry or loud. We know what it is like to be viewed as less than in our culture and community. As black women, we are faced with multiple challenges in our health, career and family, so shouldn’t we at least lean on one another for solace and encouragement? Why do we see each other as competition? Having black girlfriends is a safe haven to release – talk about real things we are going through and draw inspiration from others who can relate to our struggle.
How do we change our narrative? – BE THE CHANGE!
The change starts with us. We must take personal ownership of empowering each other by creating unbreakable bonds to uplift ourselves and the next generation. Let’s channel the energy to compete and fight each other, and direct it towards building a healthy relationship. Now, this is not to say that all other relationship are not valuable or black women are not capable of creating healthy relationships. The purpose of this article is to inform and reinforce the importance of being united rather than divided.
– Ivery Arie