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Posted under: Opinion

After Women’s History Month, Let’s Continue To Give Black Women Their Flowers

Every woman deserves praise.

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Though we knew the day would come, I, like many around the world, was still devastated to learn of the passing of the legendary actress Cicely Tyson in late January. Yes, she was elderly, and yes, she lived a long and successful life, but the loss of her still hurt my heart. This was because I knew it was the ending to the final chapter in a beautifully written book.

Cicely Tyson's remarkable career — full of overcoming stereotypes and discrimination — spanned seven decades, and her global impact was profound, especially for Black women. Specifically for Black women who do not fit the mold of what was (and is still) portrayed as an acceptable amount of Blackness on the big screen. Cicely Tyson was the game changer then that Black women of the present needed.

The bittersweet heartache of Cicely Tyson's passing reminded me of the heartache I felt when we said goodbye to Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin and Coretta Scott King. They were Black women who'd walked the earth and forever this shifted this land because of their commitment to change. And now they are gone, like roses floating down a gentle stream disappearing into a sunset. We marvel at all they were in life and remember their legacies with gratitude. A reminder to continue appreciating our queens while we have them.

As we reach the end of Women's HERstory Month, let's take this opportunity to appreciate the Black and brown women who will one day be remembered as game changers in history.

Let's celebrate well-known women making history now, like Viola Davis, Vice President Kamala Harris, Serena Williams, Ayanna Pressley, Rihanna, Ava Duvernay, Lena Waithe and Misty Copeland. Let's take some time to brush up on our knowledge of Black women in history, because we for sure cannot depend on our schools to comprehensively cover this. Let’s revisit women who often get overlooked, such as Bessie Coleman, Wilma Rudolph, Audre Lorde, Hattie McDaniel, Dr. Mae Jemison, Shirley Chisholm, Kathleen Cleaver, Lena Horne, Mahalia Jackson and Dominique Dawes.

Also, let's be intentional in learning more about and celebrating lesser-known and upcoming women, like Marsai Martin, Tarana Burke, Tracy Oliver, Cori "CoCo" Gauff, Pat McGrath, Amanda Gorman, Naomi Osaka and Morgan DeBaun.

We should close out Women's History Month by learning, reflecting and celebrating our melanin queens of the past and present. But let's also use this time as a reminder to give all of the queens in our lives, famous or not, their flowers while we can. Black women have lit the fires that have ignited global change and saved our culture time and time again. We would be remiss to not take as many moments as we can to appreciate it.

And if you're a Black woman reading this, sis, please be reminded: You are beautiful, powerful, brilliant and regal. From one queen to another, I celebrate you.

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