What Does #BlackGirlMagic Mean?

#BlackGirlMagic is a movement celebrating, inspiring and uplifting black women around the world by highlighting their excellence. The term itself was popularised by CaShawn Thompson in 2013 but has since grown into a global hashtag. It champions everything from the beauty, grace, intelligence and strength of black women, to the remarkable strides they make in society, their personal lives and careers. The statement represents pride in not only blackness but girlhood, womanhood and sisterhood. 

As well as being used among black women on social media, #BlackGirlMagic has also been the theme of magazines, events and award ceremonies. In 2016, American magazine Essence published a special Black Girl Magic issue, featuring a number of influential black women on their cover to celebrate their success. Similar to US network  BET’s long standing ‘Black Girls Rock’ celebrations, they also hosted the ‘Black Girl Magic Awards,’  while across the pond in the UK another Black Girl Magic Awards was launched celebrating black women from all industries and local communities.

Google created a whole social film dedicated to #BlackGirlMagic

 

Over the years, the movement has also transpired into other cultural scenes like the music industry. There have been endless songs referencing the term such as Janelle Monae’s track ‘Django Jane’ including the lyrics “black girl magic, y’all can’t stand it.”  In Stormzy’s iconic 2018 Brit Awards performance, the UK rapper praised his mother and sister by saying he was “raised up by Black Girl Magic.” Similarly, Beyonce’s ‘Formation’, was seen as yet another ode to Black Girl Magic following its release as the song acts as a tribute to the beauty of black women.

Stormzy’s iconic BRITs 2018 performance uses the term, referencing his mother and sister

 

While there have been some mainstream conversations about the idea of Black Girl Magic putting pressure on black women to constantly be excellent, the overriding notion behind the movement is a positive one that acts as empowerment and inspiration for black women to be who they want to be. The widespread celebration of black women has also led to the rise of many pop culture releases including podcasts, books, TV shows and movies about the lived experiences of black women from different walks of life. From popular UK podcasts like ‘The Receipts Podcast’ and ‘Black Girls Livin’, and the launch of Black Girl Fest, to HBO hits like Issae Rae’s Insecure and Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You changing on-screen narratives. Plus, Candice Carty-Williams beloved novel Queenie, and authors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene’s bestseller Slay In Your Lane, which was recently followed up by their latest book ‘Loud Black Girls’, a compilation of essays by 20 black women writers. It’s safe to say #BlackGirlMagic has been the inspiration behind many incredible moments in culture.

October 14, 2020