Malcolm X once said, “the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman”, and whether or not you believe those words to be 100% factual, unfortunately, this famous quote still holds some weight in today’s society.
From the time this statement was captured to the initial disregard of Black women’s voices in the growing case against R. Kelly, the achievements, strength, voices and resilience of Black women seem to be belittled, dismissed and ignored more than they have been protected, cherished and celebrated throughout history.
Sure, there are multiple instances within pop culture where Black women are celebrated and through the birth of movements like “Black Girls Rock!” and #BlackGirlMagic, the pride that Black women have within themselves and each other has been taken to immeasurable heights. However, it’s no secret that the depreciation of Black women in the media is real and is something that cannot be ignored – especially when that depreciation sometimes comes from within our own community causing Black women to feel disconnected from the very beings that were put here to understand us the most. How do we reverse this stigma? How do we bridge this gap? How do we combat this cultural disconnect?
Enter ‘To Black Women with Love,’ a digital project launched to confront that very disconnect. Created by Frederick Joseph and launched on the first day of Women’s History Month this year, ‘To Black Women with Love’ is an online, yearlong video submission project where Black men can submit videos of themselves singing, rapping, dancing or doing whatever they can to express their love, appreciation and admiration for Black women. “I understand that Black women are the most ostracized community in the world and the sad part is that it happens a lot because of Black men in our community,” Frederick Joseph told us. “It’s not all black men, but I do think it’s important that the Black men who don’t feel that Black women are less supported be more vocal in supporting and showing their love and appreciation for Black women.”
You may remember Frederick Joseph as the brains behind the #BlackPantherChallenge and most recently, the #CaptainMarvelChallenge where he’s challenged his followers to assist in providing opportunities to expose Black youth the positive images of Black and female super heroes on the big screen – something that we don’t see that often. Now, Joseph is challenging his fellow members of the Black male community to publicly speak out about how much Black women mean to them.
Like so many supporters of this project, Joseph believes that Black women are the backbones of the Black community and deserve to be celebrated and appreciated. “For me, Black women are the gold standard of every single thing of this country. They’ve been the back bone of the Black community and the Black community has been the backbone of America. I felt as though this lack of appreciation was not just a slight but a blatant disrespect and I really wanted to address that head on.”
Although this project will not completely eradicate the issue, Joseph believes it’s step in the right direction of shifting society’s mindset to be one that’s more respectful and honorable of Black women. He explained, “I do hope that this website and project exists as a safe space for Black women. A space where on a hard day or a difficult moment, if a Black woman says ‘I feel like there’s nobody that cares about me because I’m a Black woman’, they’ll go to this site and feel love and inspiration to have more joy in their day.”
‘To Black Women with Love’ is a safe haven, a cultural shift and serves as our public appreciation from Black men. Interested in submitting to this project? Visit toblackwomenwithlove.com for more information. Submissions end February 2020.