Many moons ago, I wrote about the relatable black girl, mostly as it relates to the phenom of relatable Youtubers. This time i’d like to talk about the quirky black girl representation that we are FINALLY getting in the media. By “we”, I mean a specific demographic of black girls who grew up not really liking, or doing the things other black girls, or kids did.
Maybe you blasted classic rock, went through an emo phase, were a weeb (back in the 90s and early 2000s when you still got beat up for liking anime), played in the orchestra, or long boarded as a hobby. Yes, I am very specifically describing myself but the thing is, I’m not alone. I’m sure there were many other little black girls growing up just like me, who liked the same things, or even other obscure activities, and got called an "Oreo" too. Shoot, some of you are probably reading this blog right now.
To be clear, all of the things described above relegate you to geek status in every other community as well. The difference is that there was always quirky white girl representation and for better or worse, they could always find themselves in some cartoon, or show.
However, I personally do not remember much of any true quirky black girl representation in the media I consumed growing up so I just assumed there weren’t others. I didn’t really have my “No man is an island” moment until my teens with finding two of my still closest girlfriends and the discovery of Awkward Black Girl.
Issa Rae’s first prolific creative project was a short lived series that aired on Youtube and featured Issa as "J", who was in every sense of the word... awkward and black. I suggest watching it if you haven’t. The characters however, were people in their mid-late twenties and the show, as connected as I felt to the awkwardness of Issa, wasn’t really relatable to me as a 15 year old at the time.
Now however, there is a new show airing on HBO called Betty, which is a show about a girl group of teenage skateboarders of various backgrounds in New York. The show is based off of the movie Skate Kitchen and many of the girls in the show are dark-skinned black girls with beautiful kinky afros and unconventional styles. These girls are literally what childhood me dreamed of seeing on a major network and I will be happily tuning in come May 1st.
While I don’t necessarily count this show as corrective promotion, I do think that little black girls who may not fit into what is prescribed as being a black girl, need to see that they are not alone and that they have the right to see their image represented like other groups.
To be honest, the lack of unconventional black girl character representation is what inspired me to start writing. I created characters of the girls who I wished I could read about, watch on T.V, or see at a movie. I am almost teary-eyed with joy that black girls in this next generation will have more room and representation to express themselves however they’d like.
Liv is a new blogger for DDS Magazine. She graduated University in 2018, with a degree in History & English Lit and in her free time is an avid creative writer, History & Fashion enthusiast, as well as a cat-mom to three kittens. When she is not creating, she works at a children's non-profit and enjoys spending her weekends doing Pilates, hiking, shopping and indulging in Sci-fi novels.