I visited New Orleans for the first time over fourth of July weekend. You know New Orleans, right? The city of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, Essence Fest? Yeah that one. And it stole my heart.
As a young dark-skinned black girl, I know firsthand the love we received has not always been as great and explosive as our other woman of color. When I say that I don’t just mean black/ African American woman I mean all woman of color. I use to think it was only in my culture that I felt the sting of not being the right shade of black and to hear things like your cute for a dark skinned girl, but as the world expands and sharing cultural bias is becoming more of the norm I see that I am not alone. Well all I can say to my Melanin Poppin princesses is get your ass to New Orleans for a visit and they will leave your heart so full of love you won’t even remember a time you weren’t celebrated. I mean that really and truly! This weekend I wasn’t alone to be the center of attention. I went with some friends, we planned out our girls’ trip to New Orleans to see what the city and Essence fest had to offer us, and it did not disappoint. 4 days 3 nights of nothing but sunshine, loud music, and endless compliments for me just being me.
On our last night we went to the Essence Fest concert, we were all tired from walking around the past few days but we danced, we sang and close to the end of the night we found ourselves standing in the aisle on the second floor instead of returning to our seats that were too high for comfort in the super dome. This beautiful Caramel colored plus size woman came out of nowhere and said to me. “I’m sorry I just had to tell you that you are beautiful, your skin is beautiful, your face is gorgeous, your make up is popping, you are everything.”
I wanted to cry in that moment because OMG! Where have you been all my life? I asked her could I give her a hug. Funny thing is things like this had been happening all weekend. Strangers complimenting me on just being that Me! Aside from that night I wasn’t wearing make up or revealing clothes or gyrating on anyone (I can’t dance to save my life ask Estelle). It was just so refreshing and so amazing to feel love for being me. I mean ok don’t get me wrong my family tells me I’m beautiful, so do my kids, so does my husband but I mean that’s obligatory right? If you are a woman of color really any woman of color, I highly suggest taking a visit to NOLA. The self esteem boost alone will have you high on life even while the heat is trying to dry you out. But that’s another post because goodness the survival kit is a must in them New Orleans heated streets.