With her new project, scholar (and past Colorlines contributor) Dr. Yaba Blay brings her career-long exploration of Black women’s empowerment and resistance in the face of racist patriarchy to YouTube.
“When I say I’m a professional Black girl, I’m not identifying as someone who’s well-accomplished in her job, her career or her profession—though I am, be clear,” Blay says in the trailer for “Professional Black Girl.” “I’m announcing myself as someone who takes being a Black girl very seriously.”
Blay’s series, which premieres this Friday (September 9), features interviews from 17 Black women and girls* across generations sharing what being a Professional Black Girl means to them. The trailer touches on some of those definitions, which reflect an assertion of identity in a world that too often tries to silence Black women’s voices.
“The terminology that is often used to describe and define Black girls—such as bad, grown, fast, ghetto and ratchet—are non-affirming and are words that are intended to kill the joy and magic within all Black girls,” Blay writes in the trailer’s description. “We are professional code-switchers, hair-flippers, hip-shakers and go-getters. We hold Ph.Ds and listen to trap music; we twerk and we work. We hold it down while lifting each other up, and we don’t have to justify or explain our reason for being. This is us.”
*Colorlines Editorial Director Akiba Solomon features in the series and trailer.