#BlackGirlsAreMagic, or #BlackGirlMagic for short, is a trend that as of 2013 has hit the internet by storm and continues to strike thunder. Tired of being in the margins and barely present in the media, black women of all ages and backgrounds have decided to take matters into their own hands. By spreading the hashtag with photos celebrating their own achievements, families, friends, and figures in popular culture, women of color are taking control over their image.  #BlackGirlMagic is considered a worldwide movement of solidarity, self-love, and self-support amongst black women, spread on social media.

Ever curious, Ayiba’s team decided to investigate what the frenzy is all about by checking in on what some #BlackGirlMagic bloggers are up to.

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CaShawn Thompson known on Twitter as La Peebz.

CaShawn Thompson, known on Twitter as La Peebz., is the originator of the slogan “Black Girls are Magic.” Thompson became increasingly amazed as she realized the continuous strive, perseverance, and achievements by the black women in her life regardless what mainstream images and internalized voices tried to tell them. Cleverly, it was then when she concluded that the things women as such are capable of doing despite of circumstances are in a sense very much like “magic.” In an interview with the L.A. Times, she explains: “magic, because it’s something that people don’t always understand…sometimes our accomplishments might seem to come out of thin air, because a lot of times, the only people supporting us are other black women.”  

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Thompson is glad that the world has embraced the phrase so fully, not just online but also in real life through the merchandise of “Black Girls Are Magic” t-shirts and hoodies sold worldwide. Even celebrities like Willow Smith and Amandla Stenberg have been seen wearing it. On Twitter, Thompson often makes politically-charged references to everyday news, using tags like #BlackLivesMatter in tweets where she shares, for instance, how afraid she is every time her son goes out or recent news like the discrimination by Delta Air crew members against a black medical practitioner prevented from giving assistance during an emergency because they didn’t take her for a doctor.  

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When Tamika Cross was discriminated against by Delta Air flight crew who wouldn’t recognize her, a black woman, as a doctor, many Twitter users under the tag #WhatADoctorLooksLike took #BlackGirlMagic to also show off their medical careers as a counter-response.

When Tamika Cross was discriminated against by Delta Air flight crew who wouldn’t recognize her, a black woman, as a doctor, many Twitter users under the tag #WhatADoctorLooksLike took #BlackGirlMagic to also show off their medical careers as a counter-response.

Hair Hookup, a web service on social media

Another blogger taking #BlackGirlMagic on social media is Hair Hookup. Their pages work as promotion for their web service that is to help people of color find advice for their hair by connecting them to the nearest registered stylist. Personally I find this one of the coolest initiatives I’ve come across by far, especially because it is so often that I find myself wanting to do a makeover without having a clue what or where to even start for ideas. As you can guess, the service is probably in high demand as mainstream hairstyle magazines showcasing mainly white beauty standards don’t do much to help us black women. Also, we all know how annoying it is to spend time and money going to a hairdresser without being sure of what exactly it is you want, so knowing someone nearby who knows how to style Afro hair can be of great help. But, in case you don’t feel like contacting someone yet, you can find inspiration on its Imgrum page that features a stunning collection of photos of black men and women showing off their hair.

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#BlackGirlMagic illustrator bloggers

Other people using the hashtag in amazing ways are illustrators who share pictures of their work on social media. To be honest, it was surprising to see so many black illustrators as I am used to a mostly white network almost all of the time. On Instagram I came across the work of most talented, quirky, and interesting artists. Meet le_huck_badu who has an almost psychedelic-like style of paintings and illustrations. On the website Huck Designs the blogger sells the illustrations on pillows, backpacks, lamps and all sorts of objects.The works feature powerful images of black woman showing off pride in their hair, that is worth checking out.

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Each blogger and illustrator has got their own story to tell. Most of them try to incorporate their quotidian into their work; this also means that the themes vary greatly from one another. For instance Nicole, who is a fashion illustrator and life stylist, showcases from her blog Nicole Updegraf, in her own words, “visual collections for businesses and everyday living that inspire and teach people how to design balanced and wildly successful lives.” The work of these blogger illustrators are definitely worth the look, however, these are only two out of the many. Others who caught my eye were coilyandcute, suitable for a more juvenile audience like children or teenages, and also tiffaniandersonillustration that highlights the everyday of two sisters on adorable smartphone covers as merchandise.

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Black Girls Who Blog on Instagram

On the Instagram account Black Girls Who Blog you will find even more examples of female bloggers carrying the essence of #BlackGirlMagic. Morgan Pitts, the woman behind the idea, created the website after realizing that black female bloggers hardly make into the top lists of bloggers although there are so many out there with creative websites. The website is cool in the sense that it works as a network for these bloggers as well as a platform of mutual support and respect. There you’ll find people like tara.camille who uses her Coffeeshop Convos blog to talk about a variety of topics in fashion, lifestyle, food, travel, music, and more. If you’re feeling out of it one day, seeing what these women are up to will make you inspired all over again.

Essence, online magazine

Lastly but not least, another platform taking #BlackGirlMagic to a whole new level is Essence, the digital companion to the popular magazine that considers itself a black woman’s guide on what’s “hot” with their stars, style, and lives. The way in which Essence focuses and represents black women is already in itself a perfect example of Black Girl Magic, reporting the lives of individual and public women on various levels such as news, lifestyle, beauty, and much more. Besides reserving a page especially for #BlackGirlMagic, there is a new section celebrating young women shaping the future through visual storytelling, and it also maintains a huge fan base on Twitter.

Although #BlackGirlMagic has received mostly positive responses, some have criticized it for standing too close to old tropes of black women being perceived as more than human, supernaturally different in character and strength thus, once again, leaning close to mystification and dehumanization. Others retorted by arguing that the hashtag actually plays out as more of an inside joke that calls “magic” what black women have always known to be real about their capabilities despite what is perceived or expected. Whatever it may be, if there is one thing the hashtag is definitely serving is a renewed sense of self that lots of women lack. In a world where representation of black females are scarce, and if present show more negative stereotypes than images of intelligence, success, and beauty, #BlackGirlMagic works as an opposing and restorative reminder that black women are capable and way more: magic.