I have a slight confession- this #BooksandBronzer was supposed to be out before Christmas. But due to my life not being together, it kept getting pushed back to now. Which turned out to be perfect timing. I’ve been able to see Hidden Figures and in the past 6 months the only things that have inspired me as much as this movie were: Beyoncé’s Formation concert and the cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical. That’s it. Beautiful lessons have come and gone but I can look at each of these moments and look at how my behavior, mood, and drive increased immediately after experiencing these events.
With all that is going on in today’s political climate, I could use as much of the Black girl magic that Hidden Figures features as I can. This is why this week’s post is a #BooksandBronzer on Taraji P. Henson’s memoir Around the Way Girl.
You’re wrong if you don’t love Taraji P. Henson. There is no gray area here. There are two simple reasons that you should be on the Taraji train.
1- She’s a Howard University Alumna.
2- She screams black girl magic in all that she does.
The inside cover says “she is, at heart, just a girl in pursuit of her dreams” and I knew this book was for me. In fact, when I picked up the book I wasn’t supposed to buy anything. I had just run into Barnes and Noble to use the restroom and then head to Sephora. But I stopped, looked at how beautiful she looked in her pictures, purchased the book and went home…I didn’t even go to Sephora afterward…which is unheard of in my ODlife.
As I digested this book I learned about her upbringing, hustle, and love for black women. “I’m proud to be a woman, but specifically I’m proud to be a black woman. The strength, endurance, and legacy of my people mean something to me,” she wrote.
We’ve all seen the gifs and videos of her applauding Viola Davis and Regina King as they won their Emmys. As we all knew, it wasn’t just for the cameras. It’s a deep love that echoes throughout her book.
This is highlighted as she began her journey with the “Think Like a Man” franchise. They wanted her to play a different character and she clapped back.
“Why, in an all-black movie, would you make the most successful character a white woman?” I demanded. You mean to tell me in this circle of friends the only successful person would be a white woman?”
I don’t know about the magical friendships that exist in Hollywood. But in my real life, the only successful people aren’t white women. Black women conquering everything they touch constantly surrounds me. The VP at my job that shows me how to navigate corporate America? A Black woman. My best friends conquering their dreams? Black women. My favorite artists? Black women. My mother, who exudes the strength of all the women who came before her? A black woman. Having the “only” successful person be white is not only unrealistic it’s absolutely ridiculous. But thank God for Taraji’s smart mouth…because chile… that could have gone down a horribly wrong path.
But, you can’t love Black women without first loving yourself. Something I, and billions of others, am constantly working towards.
Taraji wrote, “No matter how my outer beauty changes or what anyone has to say about it, the true luxury is in my heart, where my gold is, my art and the passion I have for it, which like Chanel, will never go out of style.”
I don’t know Taraji, but she is one of the most beautiful role models in the game. Not because she’s defied the laws of aging. But because she has a passionate heart, hearty laugh, and contagious personality. This book, like her latest movie Hidden Figures, made me want to be a better friend, sister, daughter, and employee. Her magic is just that bright.
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