Throughout my 24 years of life, there have been many astounding moments in black culture that have helped define what being black and a woman means to me.
- When I was 10 years old and still understood the monumental moment of Halle Berry becoming the first African American woman to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards – a feat that was decades in the making.
- When I sat watching Oprah‘s talk show finale in tears as she looked back on the impact of her illustrious career, one that exceeded hers and her peers’ expectations.
- My pride when Lupita dazzled and twirled into our hearts as she accepted an Oscar for a role that depicted the fight of our ancestors.
- When Ava DuVernay directed one of the most significant films of our time and made it okay to be successful and unafraid while being both woman and black, setting the standard that we don’t have to choose.
- When Beyoncé let the world know time and time again that we do indeed run this ish as she walks in her own light of feminism, proud to be a strong sexual being, a wife and a mother.
All of these moments instilled something in me. Little by little, but sure as the day is long. The impossible can and will be achieved. And another life-altering moment came during Sunday night’s Emmy Awards. In a ceremony that rarely includes actresses and actors of color for their accomplishments, we saw three black girls who rock take home trophies. THREE! Viola Davis, Regina King, and Uzo Aduba walking on stage to be honored in a room full of white faces was overwhelming, empowering, inspiring and a slew of other emotions. They will never know what their acceptance of awards has cemented in my mind, knocking down any pillar of career or goal doubt that I had left.
Viola – After a year of think pieces that labeled her “less classically beautiful” than her colleagues and an angry black woman for being strong and having a voice.
Uzo – After being granted the opportunity to play such a complex role when white Hollywood told “us” that we can’t be multidimensional, and
Regina – After working in the industry for decades to be able to spearhead the telling of our real story on primetime in an intellectually enlightening way.
I wept for joy for these women. Not only for what their acceptances would mean for women of color working in Hollywood, trying to get roles that they would very easily be overlooked for just because of the shade of their skin, but for what it meant for every little black girl walking in the face of adversity. Being told she’s too angry or she’s too loud or she’s too different, when she’s just passionate, outspoken and follows her own rules. I saw the message that you don’t have to change yourself to be recognized. If you do the work, you will be successful in knocking down barriers. My Queens, we all stand with you in this moment and couldn’t be more excited for the leaps and bounds you’ve made on the journey.
Before I start crying again, relive the magical moments below:
Did you watch the Emmys on Sunday night? What were your favorite #BlackGirlsRock moments?
Briea L. Curington