Everybody loves a compliment. While black women are experts at giving praise (according to an article in Madame Noire), we aren’t always the receivers of these kind words. Let’s change that! Here are five compliments to shower over the black women in your life:
1. You Will Get To Where You Want to Be
Sometimes we are so used to being held back by racism and colorism, it’s hard not to believe those systems of oppression will eventually stop you from getting to where you need to go. Sometimes the best thing you can say to another black woman or sista’ is you’re going to make it. Whether “making it” looks like finding true love, developing a successful career, or living a passion-filled life of travel. To the black women who don’t have someone to encourage you, read this: It may only take a short while or a long while, but you will get there. The universe is conspiring FOR you, not against you.
2. You Are Beautiful
Personally, I don’t like being called royalty or a queen. I don’t need to be a long-lost African princess warrior to be valuable…I only want someone to look me in the eye, say you are beautiful, and mean it. Not in a patronizing manner, but I want to be admired the way that women all over the world are admired. I want to be admired for the way my 4C hair grows in coils towards the sun and the way my ebony skin gleams under light. Don’t admire me by my proximity to whiteness, but by my unique and beautiful African features.
3. Your Hair Is Killing It
Ever seen a black girl walk by with killer hair? Let her know! Maybe your comment will make her day! However, there is a right way and a wrong way to compliment a black woman’s hair. Don’t reach out and touch her hair as you compliment it – and definitely, do not couple the compliment with an insult. People will often say “your hair looks amazing even though it’s so nappy!” or “your hair is gorgeous! Are you mixed with something?”. Both of those comments are not cool. Older black women tend to compliment my hair and suggest a relaxer or texturizer in the same sentence. Don’t be condescending. If you want to give a compliment, do it and mean it. A well-intentioned but offensive compliment still feels like a slap in the face.
4. I Aspire To Be Like You/You’re My Role Model
There’s so much change that needs to happen in the black community—particularly when it comes to the self-esteem of black women. It’s a priority that we begin to love ourselves, and that’s going to start by the black women of today passing on self-love to the younger generations. I try to inspire younger black girls to wear their hair natural, to love their dark skin and to feel worthy and desirable at all moments. I may not feel confident all the time, but remembering that there are young black girls looking up to me reminds me to love myself even when I don’t want to or feel like it. Even adult black women can inspire other similar-aged black women to live happy, inspirational lives with a clear set of values and a commitment to our community.
5. You Have Nice Skin
Although black women tend to have really good skin (thanks to our melanin), we can still be prone to acne, dark spots, sun damage and dry skin. I work really hard on my skin, using many black-owned skin care products that are designed to moisturize my skin and it’s always appreciated when someone notices that effort and says “you have nice skin”. You don’t have to put down white skin to compliment us, but the appreciation of our shade and deep tones is always welcome.
"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."