Navigating the world as a Black woman presents unique challenges that require a certain type of skill set: flexibility, unwavering determination, discipline, confidence and so much more. We have to be able to pivot at an instance, multitask while maintaining our mental health and fight oppressive forces to get ahead of our counterparts who benefit from privilege. Tap your neighbor and say ‘Neighbor, Black women are superheroes.’
Black women designed the proverbial “cape” but being a superhero or possessing #blackgirlmagic isn’t as basic as a hashtag. There’s a profound meaning to our superpowers because they aren’t necessarily tangible, they’re everything in between. Meeting a deadline when life is happening. Dealing with an incompetent male co-worker who makes more money. Balancing motherhood, career and love while remembering to drink water. Black women can relate to these superpowers because they’re native to our experience.
My superpower is my ability to visualize my goals and execute them. I can achieve anything if I can map out a plan to get there. For our “Power” issue I tapped seven other Black women to share their superpowers with me. Keep scrolling to see their responses.
1. Ida HarrisSource:@_Hotpeeznbutta
Name: Ida Harris aka Hypolyta Ida
Title: Creative Writer, Essayist, Wordsmith
My words are my superpower. I learned at an early age that words carried incredible weight. My power, specifically, lied in the ways I used them for better or worse. I could make or break someone or something by how I negatively or positively I stitched those words together. There was a time when I was villianous with my superpowers. I used them to chop off heads and cut people at the knee.
The impact my words had on people and in my storytelling has had its consequences, but growth and empathy have transformed them into superpowers that are rewarding, liberating and for the greater good. Both testaments have shown me that having superpower not only comes with agency—but also great responsibility. Thus, I choose to use my superpowers wisely and in service of Blackness. These days I slay the page.
2. Amber AbundanceSource:Amber J. Phillips
Name: Amber J. Phillips aka @AmberAbundance
Title: The High Priestess of Black Joy, Abundance, and Vulnerability.
My superpower lies in my ability to “tell it like it is” and following up those truths with how I wish it could be. I’m really great at reimagining my lived experience as a dark skin fat queer Black woman to be more beautiful than how the world prefers for me to feel when I leave my home. My superpower includes welding humor, celebration and testimony because the truth can be too hard to hold without those tools of good storytelling. My superpower is centering myself in a way that invites everyone watching to do the same so that we can collectively amplify the humanity of all Black people.
3. Kayla GreavesSource:Erin Glover
Name: Kayla Greaves
Title: Senior Beauty Editor, InStyle
Quite honestly, I think my greatest superpower is having the freedom to just be myself. For so much of my life I would shrink who I was, and I internalized this falsehood of not being “good enough,” or thinking I was “too much” of this or “too little” of that — not because any of that was true, but because of what people projected onto me. I’d hide my personality at work and in my daily interactions, I always had walls up — it wasn’t healthy.
It took me having to really sit down with myself and analyze why I felt these feelings to be able to deconstruct everything and slowly chip away at it all. It was rough, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Now, I love who I am and what I represent and no one can convince me otherwise. I know it’s not a coincidence that ever since I started bringing my true self to the table, everything has gotten so much better for me in both my career and just in my day-to-day life. A million doors have opened up — some totally out of the blue — and I can make sense of how my steps align. The minute this shift started happening, that’s when it clicked that just simply being me, and embracing all of my little quirks, was both my greatest asset and superpower.
4. Maui BigelowSource:P Dillon Photography
Name: Maui Bigelow
Title: Fashion Influencer
5. Eboyne JacksonSource:Joey Rosado
6. Anika Kai StewartSource:@johwell
My superpower is I’m unf*ckwithable. My resilience is the secret sauce that has gotten me through in life. As a burn survivor, my scars remind me that what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger. Tenacity has gotten me through the darkest times of my life and allowed me to help others do the same. It fuels my creativity and allows me to make something out of nothing. I refuse to let anything get between me and God’s plan. As a black woman in America resilience is the greatest gift I posses.
7. Danielle CanadaSource:@ShotxKris
Name: Danielle Canada
Title: Deputy Editor
My super power is my creativity, it’s what’s opened doors for me, landed me jobs and makes me uniquely who I am. Since childhood I’ve had a big imagination and my parents were supportive and fully encouraged me to explore it. I went from drawings and coloring books to school plays and short stories. I discovered that despite being less than brainy in math and science, I was still bright when it came to came to expressing myself with words. As a right-brained Black woman working in media, I recognize now that my creativity is not only my super power, it’s my gift.