Black don’t crack...can we dead that? It’s carried on for too long! This all came from the infamous T Magazine feature including; Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Lynn Whitfield, and Kimberly Elise. The photo was taken by Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont. Styled by Shiona Turini. An iconic moment that blew me away, prominent women that I grew up admiring. They still inspire me today.
I was doing my nightly “Just in case I miss something” scroll down my Instagram timeline and I saw a mim stating, “Their ages; 49, 49, 61, 67, 53, 52”. I’ve included a photo below for your consideration.
What the flip is that? Now let’s break this down. Halle Berry has won over 25 awards. Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the romantic drama film Monster's Ball. She also won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Lastly, she’s starred in over 50 movies! Viola Davis, an Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress, the Golden Globe Award winner for Best Supporting Actress, and the Screen Actors Guild Award winner for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. Fascinating women captivate me every time! Taraji has over 28 awards and she won a Golden Globe and became the first African American woman to win a Critics' Choice Award for best actress in a drama series. Not to mention, she’s from my hometown, so DMV was definitely held down! Mary J. Blige, well we all know that is the QUEEN of R&B. Blige has won 9 Grammy Awards, 4 American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards and has also received three Golden Globe Award nominations, including one for her supporting role in the film Mudbound. Angela Bassett, get ready! With over 63 nominations, she’s won only 16 awards. I find that completely crazy, she deserves so much more - but we will get to that. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Lynn Whitfield, a career in television and theatre, before progressing to supporting roles in the film. She won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance as Josephine Baker. She’s won 7 NAACP Awards as well. Honey is a lowkey working machine, at her own pace! Our baby Kimberly Elise has won our hearts ever since Set It Off. No performance like it. She’s won over 7 NAACP Image Awards.
Still with me? That’s over 85+ awards won in this phenomenal group. Although there are thousands and thousands of awards that have been given to actors from the start of their careers till now, they’ve only received 85 of them.
Now, when I saw that post I was hurt. Do people think that women want to be referred to their ages every single time that they start getting further up in age? Yes, I understand - black women look good no matter the age. We love that you notice our beauty, but it’s not all. I feel like women deserve to be acknowledged for their accomplishments from initial notoriety because we are constantly undervalued by our own industry. Their age has nothing to do with anything that this picture was created to depict. We have to shoot better facts to the world. I can’t imagine Taraji looking at that photo saying, hell yeah honey, I’m blah blah age! No, because she’s probably tired of people bringing up her age. That was not the purpose of this photo. It’s to bring awareness and create execution for the mistreatment of black women within the film industry. We’re tired of being oppressed. We need to develop a better image for our entire tribe. The Black Girl Power tribe!
I’ve never seen a mim with a group of guys with their ages on the top stating, “Their ages; 45, 67, 89, 90, 69”. Some of the most prominent black actors rarely get media to acknowledge their ages. Does anyone even know how old Will Smith is? Do we care? We’re not talking about the Morgan Freeman’s and Samuel Jackson’s of the industry. Let's take advantage when they give us the platform to scream the right things. Posting words that move us to think wiser. Everything doesn't have to be serious - I'm not stating that at all. However, it can be about accomplishments and then age.
I’ll close this out with some tips:
When you see a group of black women, create a mim that will highlight elements of their lives that many are not always grateful for. These women are also amazing mothers, entrepreneurs, directors, philanthropists, and so much more!
If you want to keep “Black don't crack” then let’s bring back, “Never ask a woman their age”. Don’t speak it and don’t ask it.
Ask a woman what her proudest accomplishment is. That’s what she wants to be recognized for. Not what society sees as an honor.
Thanks for reading.