by Meagan Faison
I wasn’t mad though. I mean, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before.
In 2014, Ernestine Johnson was featured on the Arsenio Hall Show to perform spoken word. In her piece she breaks down the stereotype of the ideal black woman in our society.
Spoiler alert: She is literally everything.
In my experience, ‘talking white’ has always been a double-edged sword. I definitely credit my academic and professional achievements to my eloquent dialect.
As a black journalist, knowing the difference between conversate and converse is a must when I’m on the clock. On the other hand, this accent that I’m so proud of has nearly gotten my black card revoked. As a kid, I was often picked on for my ebonic-less vocabulary. The older I got, the less it bothered me.
By college my voice was something that I was proud of. Then I started working in radio….. I worked at two pop stations and they loved me! But when I interned at a hip hop station that all changed. I was good at my job, I knew entertainment and music news, but in one key area I fell short, I was the black girl with the white girl voice. That was not gonna work, and it was the most frustrating thing. I tried dropping a few more y’alls than normal and exaggerating my southern drawl – epic fail. The talent advised me to find my “inner black girl.” *Pause* My inner black girl? Oh yes, you tried it.
Here’s my thing: I don’t talk like a white girl; I speak like an educated and cultured black woman. Can we please stop making something that can advance our community a negative? Please and thank you.