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I’m Celebrating My Disabled Black Girl Magic Because I’m Done Feeling Invisible

Beauty and Health

I’m Celebrating My Disabled Black Girl Magic Because I’m Done Feeling Invisible

By Ola Ojewumi via

In fifth grade, I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that makes it difficult for my heart to pump blood through my body the way it should. This changed my life forever. By the time I was 11, I had received a heart and kidney transplant, turning me into a person living with limited mobility and chronic illness—a person living with disability.

For years, I despised being disabled. I’d hide my heart transplant scar by rarely wearing any clothes that showed my chest. I lived in fear of people discovering my transplants because I saw the pity in their eyes once they learned the truth. But eventually, I got tired of concealing my existence as a black woman with a disability. The world was already doing that for me.

Being a disabled black woman essentially makes me invisible to much of society.

Every year during BET’s Black Girls Rock! Awards, my eyes are glued to the television. I’m always stunned by the great leaders who take the stage and remind us that black excellence often starts with the contributions of black women. From former first lady Michelle Obama to the founders of Black Lives Matter and musical visionaries like Janelle Monae and Missy Elliot, these women have all inspired…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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What Does It Mean To Be “Black Butterfly Beautiful”

The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

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