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Hey ladies, can we talk for a minute or two?  I mean talk, for real.

Have you read  The Washington Post, lately?  Well, I heard that newspaper just recently  published a controversial article about Black women and what  we  think of  our bodies. So I decided to check it out.

Listen now, the newspaper is reporting the results of a survey that says heavier Black women have more confidence in their looks–specifically their body size–than do White women.   Well, now that’s sounds okay. That’s cool.  Seems reasonable.  In that area, the  article might  have some merit being that the information gathered came from big women who the newspaper said they actually interviewed.

But here’s my problem with it.  The overall impression I get after reading the article is this:  It makes  this huge,  very  broad  generalization about Black women.  You know, the typical  kind of research that pretty much assumes we all look alike, feel alike, and think alike.   Well that seems absurd to me, so I’m not buying it.

Being that I’m Black–and let me add beautiful–here’s my take on the subject. We don’t need The Washington Post’s psychoanalysis to understand what we feel  about ourselves or  what we  think about our looks.   What we  might need to do is  go back a few years and listen to some of Maya Angelou’s old wisdom on the Black woman.   Ms. Angelou–who’s had her day and done her time–summed  up the  essence of the Black Woman  quite well some years ago in a wonderful poem called “Phenomenal Woman.”

Here is how it goes in her own words and voice…

You like? Now just in case, you don’t “get” Maya Angelou  or you don’t understand poetry too well, let me make things even more simple for you.   I’ll mix a few pictures with the words and see if that’ll help.  Okay?

PHENOMENAL WOMAN

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,


It’s in the reach of my arms

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,  The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,


It’s the fire in my eyes,  

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,  

And the joy in my feet. 

I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.

I say,


It’s in the arch of my back,  

The sun of my smile,  

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.  

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,  

the palm of my hand,  


The need of my care,

‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.