Being “twice as good to get half as much” is a saying that’s been around for generations, but it isn’t quite a strong enough description of what Black folks do. It simplifies the work ethic summoned to demolish barriers erected by racist institutions. It doesn’t take into account the determination necessary to reach our goals despite regular rejection from those who don’t care to truly understand our culture. And it damn sure doesn’t mention that the money, opportunity, resources and recognition that we’re rewarded is nowhere near “half” of what the powerful and privileged end up reaping. This doesn’t even make mention of the extreme forms of misogynoir that Black women face.
This is reflected year after year in Hollywood, when Black women who create impactful art are overlooked, while their white counterparts get recognized for redundant and underwhelming stories. If it weren’t for the BET Awards, the NAACP Image Awards, Essence Women in Hollywood Honors and the like, so many heroes would go unsung.
It’s paramount that we give our greats their flowers, both to show them that their work matters and to document their legacy for history’s sake. This February, HuffPost Black Voices is leaning into what it means to uplift our own with Celebrate Black Women, a series dedicated to highlighting Black women who have blazed a trail in Hollywood and deserve so much more applause than they’ve received. In this series, we’ll be highlighting women like iconic showrunner Mara Brock Akil, producer extraordinaire Felicia D. Henderson, and the captivating actor Nicole Beharie.
Though the Celebrate Black Women series launch is pegged to Black History Month, it won’t be limited to February. These women deserve recognition year-round. We’re making it a point to give them the flowers that are rightfully theirs.