5 Books Every Black Woman Should Read for Women’s History Month

Available now on Sorella Literary Magazine

It is inevitable that I would end up bearing witness to 2020 as a just cause to move forward with pressure applied in 2021. Maybe it was because I wandered with my worth when the officers who killed Breonna Taylor were not formally charged, or when R Kelly’s victims became vocal in their fight to substantiate Black women’s need for protection, too. Maybe it is because…

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About Sorella Magazine:

Growing up, I watched my white friends scour through their copies of J-14, Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan.

They could flip through every page of their magazines and find someone who looked like them, as the majority of the women in these magazines were white women who lived up to the Eurocentric standard of beauty.

There simply weren’t the same media alternatives for young black women and girls like myself. The stories and the lives of black women and girls were largely ignored, save for a couple of black magazines (most of which were aimed towards older black women).

That’s where Sorella Magazine comes in. Whereas in a traditional magazine you’d see maybe one or two token black women sprinkled throughout the articles and pages, here, you’ll find that black women are the story. We’re the meat, sauce and the spaghetti.

Sorella Magazine first popped into my mind in November of 2018. I was scrolling through one of my favorite publications (a regular past-time for me) and felt frustrated at the lack of black women represented on the company’s website. For every black woman visible on the website, maybe one-fifth of them were of a darker complexion.

While I loved the magazine’s artsy, optimistic lifestyle vibe, it had an undeniably serious diversity problem. Right then and there I decided that, instead of sending a nasty email to the magazine’s editor, I would instead create an alternative publication just for black women. This magazine, I decided, wouldn’t leave out darker-toned black women.

Black women wouldn’t have to work twice as hard to be in photoshoots and model for the magazine, nor would black female writers struggle to allow their voices to be heard. My dream was to create a digital magazine (now Sorella Magazine) that would serve black women everywhere.

There is such a deep, gaping black woman-sized hole in society that needs filling — a hole that Sorella Magazine is going to attempt to help fix.

While black women likely won’t solve society’s diversity problem, we can certainly change our own mindsets by creating alternative platforms on which we can celebrate ourselves.

We can recognize that we deserve better treatment in the media and in our day-to-day lives and begin to demand more. Here are some of the reasons why Sorella Magazine was created and the mission that it hopes to accomplish in the coming years:

Sorella Magazine Empowers Black Women (Especially Darker-Skinned Black Women)

Through our articles and our online courses, we want to teach black women and their daughters how to love themselves fully, in spite of the media’s attempt to discourage us. We have an especially soft spot for darker-skinned black women, who deal with the added pressure of colorism and featurism, on top of racism and misogyny.

A 2001 study called The Blacker the Berry: Gender, Skin Tone, Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy revealed that the disadvantages and emotional pain of having darker toned skin are much greater for women than men. As a result, having a darker skin tone is a predictor of low self-esteem among Black women with darker-skinned women reporting lower sense of worth than their lighter-skinned counterparts.

The experience of colorism is a form of psychological abuse.

Growing up, there were days (more days than I’d like to admit) when I wanted to bleach my skin.

Yes, you read that correctly. Eleven-year-old Grace was willing to apply a cancer-causing chemical to her skin, for the simple sake of appeasing society’s beauty standards.

This experience is not uncommon; nearly eighty percent of Nigerian women bleach their skin, while a number of East and South Asian countries are leading the world’s global skin whitening industry.

Unfortunately, the media has sent a clear message about its preference for lighter skin complexions and keener facial features. As a result, it has actually become typical of darker-skinned black girls to struggle with their skin tones.

Look no further than the gorgeous dark-skinned beauty Lupita N’yongo, who admitted that when she was a child, she would often pray for lighter skin at night, only to wake up the next day and re-experience the disappointment of being dark-skinned.

That’s why Sorella Magazine mainly promotes dark-skinned black women. Because we see ourselves so rarely represented correctly in the media.

Freelance Writer & Journalist 📝📚| #WEOC | Blackivist| Editor for Cultured, WEOC, & AfroSapiophile. Bylines in Momentum & AnInjustice! Publications.