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How to Reveal to Your Friends and Loved Ones That You’re “Openly Black”

Let's sit down and have a talk.

NN moderator Don Lemon speaks to the crowd attending the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan.

I’m just going to come out and say it.


I’m openly Black.

PHEW, I’ve been meaning to get that off my chest for 37 years.

I know it’s not easy for everyone to make the decision to reveal their blackness, so I hope my stepping forward has been a help to those of you who aren’t ready to commit to living an openly Black lifestyle.

But HOW do you do it, is the question.

I mean honestly, it’s up to you to decide when to tell the world that you’re Black, so don’t let anyone rush you. For me, personally, the first step was to look at my outstretched hand as I grabbed my phone to see that RIDICULOUS quote that’s referenced in Eugene Scott’s tweet. I realized, as I wondered what the hell openly Black meant, that, hey, I too possessed some melanin!

After that, it was just a matter of time before I made the decision to be open about it. After years of waking up to see my blackness, write about my blackness, post pictures of my blackness, celebrate my blackness, declare that my blackness matters, it was now time to be … open about it … seriously, WHAT is this typo?!

It is a typo, right?

The article that Scott links to in the tweet (from our sister site Mediaite) focuses on Don Lemon saying that Trump voters were on the same side as Nazis, members of the Klan, and insurrectionists. The writer of the article (Tommy Christopher) ponders whether or not Lemon should apologize for his words, and, while openly Black sounds like a typo … if you keep reading, you see that it very much isn’t.

Lemon’s assessment was factually correct, these people did vote for a man who is an overt racist, who had already sided with Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville and actually campaigned on his support for the Confederacy, and who had been sowing the seeds of the Capitol insurrection for months before the election.

But that’s not the most important question in determining whether Lemon should apologize. Something can be true and still be messed up to say.

That’s the reason I mentioned that Don Lemon is openly Black because that fact adds to the sting of an already painful statement — pain that was evident not just in the response from these two prominent Republicans, but also in Cuomo’s devil’s advocacy, and in his attempt the following night to separate Trump voters from the Capitol insurrectionists.

So yeah, I guess I just have one followup question:

The bottom line is … openly Black is trending now, and it is AMAZING, and I’m not going to do the mental gymnastics to turn this into a serious moment because OH MY ENTIRE GOD.

Now, allies, I think an important thing you can do is to support those of us who are coming out as openly Black today. Don’t speak over us. Just work to uplift us and raise our voices as we take this next step in our journey.

This is your openly Black Mary Sue writer, signing off.


(image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)