We all know that after pictures circulated on social media of Blue Ivy Carter having a blast at her father’s NYE party, folks like Vanity Fair’s film critic K. Austin Collins couldn’t hide their own self-hatred and misogynoir by attacking the 7-year-old for her looks.
In a series of deleted tweets, Collins, who is also African-American, had his anti-Blackness jump all the way out.
“I have a feeling the jay z face genes are about to really hit Blue Ivy and I feel so sorry for her.” He then doubled down hoping that the child would outgrow her “ugly phase.”
Soon after, he was rightfully dragged and later issued a half-assed apology, but it became clear that as Black women, we needed something more, something affirming, something for us.
Enter the founder of the iconic hashtag #BlackGirlMagic, CaShawn Thompson, who called for us to stand up for ourselves and fellow Black girls.
“I saw the negative comments made by that Black man & white woman about Blue Ivy’s physical appearance. I would love it if any & every Black woman on here that gives a damn about little Black girls changed their avi to childhood photo of themselves. I’ll do it,” Thompson posted.
Adding, “As an act of support for Blue and every other Black girl enduring this anti-Black woman bullshit. I’m so tired of it. Seven years ago I SAID #BlackGirlsAreMagic and I meant it. Leave us TF alone.”
Inspired and also infuriated by Collins and others tweets, I scrolled through some old pics my Dad sent and changed my profile pic. I am always going to stand with my sistas:
Moved by Thompson’s challenge, I called her to chat about why we are all Blue, the importance of showing up for each other and how we are all we got.
HelloBeautiful: There are so many ways to stand up for Blue, but this one was ingenious. Why childhood photos?
CaShawn Thompson: While Blue Ivy is one girl, a high profile girl with mega superstars as parents, this is all indicative of what all of us Black girls went through as children. Not one Black girl hasn’t experienced this type of backlash or comments because of our looks. Sadly, we are still dealing with this now. So I thought by posting pictures of ourselves, this could be a means of supporting Blue, but also supporting other Black girls and women.
HB: Blue has been victim to these types of cruel comments for years. It’s very telling when Black folks are the first ones to be upset that she looks like JAY-Z, because essentially they are upset that she looks Black and has Black features as if she should have looked biracial or something.
CT: I mean, she looks like her family. DNA shows up all kinds of ways, and her phenotype is a very wide nose, big lips, and kinky hair… she’s Black, I don’t understand the confusion or this sense of betrayal that she looks how she does. Beyonce is Black too, you know?
HB: Exactly. What did you think of K. Austin Collin’s apology?
CT: It was weak. He knew what he was saying about a child and that’s all he gives? I’m not impressed at all.
HB: As soon as you called for us to post childhood pics, it caught on quick! Did you expect that swift and viral response?
CT: No, not at all. Here’s the thing, I’ve been on twitter for 11 years. I don’t even consider myself Twitter popular, so I don’t do these things for them to blow up or to go viral. This was about pushing back against some things I saw and to be clear about me wanting folks to just leave Black girls alone.
At first, I didn’t respond when I saw [Collins’ comments] because I was way too angry. As a mother of girls, a grandmother, an educator, to see these adults come for little kids, it just picked my skin raw. That, and a younger family member was recently sexually assaulted at school. So to see what she has been going through and then this, it was too much.
HB: Was #BlackGirlMagic born from a similar type of attack?
CT: Yes. As Black women, we have been inundated with all the negative crap and disparaging remarks about our appearance, which really is just how we show up in the world. Back in 2012, I think someone said Serena Williams looked like a man and it threw me back to my childhood. I remember thinking that “Black girls are magic” but I didn’t say anything at first because I didn’t want people to think I was weird. [Laughs] But I ended up telling some friends and how I would put that on a shirt and they were like, “I’d buy it.” Here we are seven years later, still part of this cultural conversation.
HB: It’s sad that we even have to keep having this conversation.
CT: It is, but this has been going on forever. Took often we are looked at being too aggressive, too angry, you name it. When my girls were younger and were at a predominantly white school, I had to remind them 24-7, “Your nose is perfect. Your hair is perfect,” just so they wouldn’t drown in all that and be completely consumed.
But that’s the work. We have to protect our girls and as a former Black girl myself, we gotta show Blue we love her and all the other little Black girls that we love them too because as I’ve said before, all we got is each other and Jesus.
Speaking of #BlackGirlMagic, scroll down to see all the beautiful Black women that took part of Thompson’s challenge: