She's Gotta Have It: Diversifying the Narrative of the Sexually Liberated Black Woman
Being an 80's baby means that you got to grow up in a time period where there was quality television shows with Black families and in particular Black women. They were wholesome, sometimes they mimicked life but overall, they stayed far away from pushing the line.
Then something happened and television became really White. Like, nauseatingly white. So white that when Scandal made its debut a few years ago, it was all the rage because for the first time in decades, there was a Black women leading a network television show.
Olivia was bold, stylish, sassy, unapologetically Black, flawed, and in tune with her sexuality. It's very clear that Olivia was a feminist and lived life by her own rules. For that, the entire body of Black women found themselves in love with her character...despite playing a homewrecker and being in relationships with White men.
Scandal kicked the door down and led the way for the onslaught of shows led by Black women like Empire, Queen Sugar, Star Trek Discovery, Chewing Gum, Insecure, Being Mary Jane, Sleepy Hollow, How To Get Away With Murder, She's Gotta Have It and many more!
All of these shows highlight the strong Black woman. They shine a light on being Black, Woman, and Free. A Feminist. What most of them have in common is the glorification of sexual promiscuity.
This is the part where I say...I'm NOT JUDGING what another woman does with her body. Be she fictional or real. I love many of these shows for various reasons and see bits of myself in the roles that they bring to life in front of the camera each episode.
However, I'm patiently waiting for someone to switch it up again! Represent for the little highlighted modest woman.
Now, I understand that for centuries, especially in this country, Black women were not allowed to be in charge of their sexuality and expression. If we aren't being oppressed by white, patriarchal, racist systems...we were being repressed by our very own Black men.
So having Black women on a screen every week constantly trying to break down those walls is needed. What's also needed though, for millions of Black women like myself, are shows and series that highlight women who choose to express their femininity, sexuality, and lifestyle in a different way.
Being sexually liberating is not the only path to being a carefree Black woman. Some of us thrive and embrace our modesty, not for men, but because this is our truth. This is how we choose to live.
Show me a leading woman in a monogamous relationship. Who is fashionably covered, outspoken, and thriving! We exist!
Let's embrace every facet of womanhood. It's time to diversify the narrative.