#African

Being a Black Woman

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Bodysuit- Wishlist (Similar)

Photography & Styling by. Bernadette Mira

and Garrett Hagen

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” -Malcolm X

 

I have never seen myself as worthy or even as a human being when it comes to living in this body of mine. I am always curious how privilege people feel not having that kind of weight on them. Being a black woman…wait, being a woman in general is hard enough as it is, BUT when you’re a black woman it’s a completely different story.

It’s like all the cards have been taken away from you even before you could start the game. We have to work ten times as harder as anyone else and yet we’re always seen as being angry. Words that run through my mind every time I step outside are ANGRY, CRAZY, HOOD RAT, SLUT, UGLY, STUPID. I wish I could say that I haven’t been called any of those things. Yet, people who I even considered family and friends have treated me like complete strangers do.

Lingerie

 

My name is Bernadette Mira Hagen and I don’t feel like I matter. I am judge solely by skin color and gender. I’m never judge by my actions or character. It hurts. The pain is indescribable, but I will try to put into words. I remember going in for an interview. It was for a photography job and the person I spoke with was a white older male. As soon as he asked and made a joke about the type of jobs I have had in the past, I should have just walked away, but I didn’t. He looked at one of my food images which consisted of having beignets and cotton flowers, he then asked with a grin on his face, “So, you pick cotton for a living?” I could feel the tears from past years of growing up in a mainly white community start to swell in my throat. I kept it down and swallowed it. I remained silent and I suppose I was ‘polite and professional.’  After the interview, I sent him an email saying that I didn’t appreciate the things he said to me. His response is what you would expect, “I was just trying to help you, but never mind. That’s your loss. I’m great. I hope you feel better now.”

Yes, there are times that I am angry, but most of the time I’m disappointed and sad with how cruel people can be, especially to people they don’t even know. I grew up as I’m sure most black women have grown up as feeling like they’re ugly and not worth anything, except as being an object. I went through having my hair relaxed as a kid and having my hair break off.  I’ve been through having white kids calling me “Nigger!” “You’re ugly!” “What’s wrong with your hair?” “What’s wrong with your lips?” “You can’t see Bernadette! It’s black in here!” I have heard all the black jokes told by white people. I have been turned down from jobs because of my skin color and gender. I have been made to feel less than most of my life and I will probably have to deal with that pain for the rest of it.

BUT…that’s not me. I am so much more than someone bringing down my worth. I am so much more than being judge based on how I look or where I came from. Not many people give me a chance, but trust me, they’re missing out on one of the best people out there. I have to get up everyday knowing that there might be someone who brings me down based on my skin color and gender. Yet, I keep on getting back up to face that pain, to face those that are constantly in hate and feel the need to bring me down. I am worthy. I am beautiful, I am strong as hell, I am intelligent, I am damn talented and I’m not going anywhere.

 

“There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in Black women. It’s as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet.” -Maya Angelou 

 

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West African Peanut Soup

Serves 8-10

Ingredients 

sea salt and pepper to season

2 large sweet potatoes diced

1 carrot diced 

one medium size onion finely diced

4 large garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. of minced ginger 

2 tbsp. tomato paste

can of puree tomatoes 

can of chickpeas

handful of chopped spinach

1 cup of diced purple cabbage 

1-2 cups of chicken broth

3 cups of water

1/2-1 cup of natural peanut butter

1 tsp. of smoked paprika 

1/2 tsp. of red pepper spice

1/2 tsp. of garlic powder

1 tsp. of turmeric powder 

Toppings

chopped peanuts (optional)

minced fresh ginger (optional)

chopped green scallions

 

Directions:

  1. In a big pot and I mean big, saute the onion and garlic on medium heat until they become translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Then add the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots and ginger. Stirring together occasionally while being careful not to burn the ingredients, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper for about 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes add tomato paste and stir together until well combined.
  4. Then add a can tomatoes, chickpeas and season lightly. Cook on medium heat for five minutes while occasionally stirring.
  5. Then add spinach, cabbage and chicken broth. After adding the broth, you may add 3-5 cups of water (depending on the thickness you want from the soup) and peanut butter.
  6. Combine the ingredients together and add the rest of the spices. After adding the rest of the spices bring to a boil.
  7. Once it has come to a boil lower it back down to low to medium heat and cover slightly with the top. Let the soup cook for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Feel free to season with more spices depending on how hot you want it.
  8. After cooking serve the soup with chopped peanuts, fresh minced ginger and chopped scallions.

 

Enjoy! and most importantly, love yourself and your worth. You matter.

Much love,

                                                                                                    Bernadette 

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