I am you and you are me. We have power. We have influence. We can do things that others have told us we can’t do.
This year's annual "Black Girls Rock!" event hosted by BET proved yet again, that Black women remain a force to be reckoned with. The event, which honors Black women in fields such as entertainment, politics, science and social justice, was highlighted by Congresswoman Maxine Waters who gave a powerful speech that left anyone who listened inspired and ready to reclaim their time.
During her acceptance of the “Social Humanitarian” award, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., celebrated the brilliance of Black women, condemned the alt-right, and left the US administration with a final warning; “I don’t care how big you are I don’t care how high you think you are, if you’re coming for me, I’m coming for you.”
She spoke about the self-doubt critics have tried to project onto her and assured all Black women listening, that they are just as strong and can be just as loud in the fight for equality.
Waters' speech seemed to gain momentum with each new sentence, asserting that if not for the "love and respect" shown to her by other Black women, her Republican counterparts would "have me believe I’m too black, I’m too confrontational, that I’m too disrespectful of them."
The trope of the ‘Strong Black Woman,’ or similarly used, ‘Angry Black Woman,’ is one that every Black woman has had to confront at many points in their life. When we are overlooked for promotions, not represented fairly in the media, not married, told we are not beautiful and that our hair is unprofessional, or denied basic freedoms - we are not allowed to show our anger, for fear of being labeled with those tropes. Anytime we are justifiably and openly outraged or stand up for ourselves when nobody else will, we can be reduced to the stereotype of an ‘Angry Black Woman.’ Congresswoman Maxine Waters reminded us that we are not what others' limited minds think us to be. We are not too Black, too confrontational, too angry, or too disrespectful.
We are not too Black, too confrontational, too angry, or too disrespectful.
Her speech stayed in line with other candid comments from earlier this year and in her career as a politician. Congresswoman Waters has been notorious in news outlets and media channels nationwide for her honest remarks and spitfire one-liners about Trump and his incompetence to hold office, including being open about the fact that she is working diligently to impeach him. After a recent congressional hearing when Congresswoman Waters repeatedly told a man that she was “reclaiming her time,” a media frenzy followed as the video went viral and led to a gospel song with millennials dubbing her “Auntie Maxine,” and Black women across the nation felt motivated to do the same.
‘Auntie Maxine’ lived up to her reputation and her promises to not ever back down in her acceptance speech Tuesday night, leaving the audience and the US administration with this message; “Not only will we resist you, we will impeach you, Donald Trump.”
Waters was joined by a talented group of honorees and attendees at the event including the host, Oscar-nominee, Taraji P. Henson, “Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae, Grammy-winning singer and song-writer, Solange Knowles, R&B singer SZA, and music legend, Roberta Flack, each leaving the crowd with empowering words to live by or moving performances that showcased true Black Girl Magic.