It’s the essence of life! Songs have been written about it. Books have inspired it. And time and time again, we come back to this natural element, which has become a difficult for way to many. . .for so long. It’s an art, and it’s called. . .breathing.
For Black American maidens and women, we were waiting to exhale before we could breathe again. Depriving ourselves of our natural right to allow air to be our source of living; rather than as torture, for the breathing of others. It’s why we lift every voice, while continuing to sing. One can imagine the legacy of slavery and the forms of PTSD; which have been passed from generation to generation. It must be made very clear, that the term, black,is inherent in the Black American experience. Black Americans are the only people, who consistently (and through periods of time) have had to use their coloration, as a method of re-creation, re-newal, and preservation of culture. Not getting our own country, placed in a land for our extermination-filled with the sentiments of anti-blackness. Returning to the universal aesthetics of blackness; while connecting such with energies in a foreign land (using our experiences and journeys), set the foundation for terms such as #blackgirlmagic! An important linguistic tool, developed by Black American maidens.
One can only imagine the impact of being removed from one’s natural alignment to Earthly spaces, performed a role in being disconnected, from one’s feminine connection to air.The ability to breathe healing into one’s people. One’s feminine elements, in receiving healing from the land, being dismantled. Their bodies being transformed into hardened tools, in Earth’s exploitation.
How did this leave Black America’s foremothers and maidens, breathless? Continuing in a state of breathlessness, for future generations to come.
One of the beauties of the holistic movement for Black America, is the journey of returning to the past, in order to solve the present. And bgb (Black Girls Breathing) is doing the work of “breaking generational curses,” for the Soulful breaths of current, and future generations.
Founded by New York University (Stern Business School), graduate student, Jasmine Marie Clark, bgb aims to get Black American women exhaling, and breathing, again. (A shout-out to the beloved Terry McMillan and Toni Braxton) Monthly breathing sessions focus on mastering, and restoring the natural breathing process. The proper way to breathe, and using air, as a form of energetic rejuvenation. No longer are we losing breath-accompanied with the stressses of work, family, life, racism, sexism, and other issues grappling Black American women. That constant pressure of having our femininity, and humanity questioned, is eradicated when working the ART of air in our bodies. Using air as a form of energetic re-balance. Channeling it into those spaces in our bodies, which are stressed, tensed, or malnourished. Channeling air as a connector to our particular rhythm, sound, beat, and physicality in womanhood.
A true performance of breathing life back into our very existence. It is wonderful. It is magical! And, it truly invokes the essence of a natural woman and real livin.’
One of the phenomenons of bgb, and the work of Jasmine Marie Clark, is it’s eradication of SBW (Strong Black Woman) syndrome. Famously coined by Joan Morgan (When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip Hop Feminist Breaks It Down ), Black American women have dealt with the agony and burden, of always being. . .strong. Never crying. Rolling with the punches. Carrying the world on our shoulders. Being the backbone of community. Taking care of everyone, but ourselves. And, yet, continuing to “be strong,” and smile, even when things are not alright. The life and story of the SBW–Strong Black Woman. And, if we dare get upset or enraged with bad experiences, injustices, or even speaking the truth (with affirmation in our beliefs), then we are ABW–Angry Black Women.
Through bgb, Black American girls (and women) are given the space (and platform) to exhale and breathe, whenever they feel the need to. It’s ok to cry. It’s alright to just be. . .a woman. No more faking joys. We seek them. No more carrying the world on our shoulders. We’ll blow with the wind. That very same air, which seeped through the cottonfields and cornfields, labored in by our foremothers (and forefathers). For Black Girls Breathing, the time to reclaim our harmony with air, is now. The time of channeling the air, engulfed by our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and so on, is precisely at this very. . .breath.
Being in the company of their Sisters, bgb sessions are never lonely. The journey is filled with support from fellow, Black American maiden images. In many regards, these sessions are spiritual justice centers. Reclaiming that sacred energy, taken from their own Beings, and that which was stolen from their matrilineal heritage in the United States of America. Entering the space for bgb sessions, the space for this maidenal/mother culture is transformed into a holistic, energy temple. Through breaths. . .through breathing, the Spirits of their mothers, and foremothers, is. . . re-stored. Their feminine image revives its continuation. And through their collective womanhood, their re-affirm their image, as the feminine image of Black American soiling.
Hey, Black Girls. . .one. . .two. . .three. . .Breathe!