Black Folk and ‘that ‘Rona:’ A Black Woman’s Take

lifestyle, self love

black woman red shirt


I’m writing this in the midst of the global pandemic that is the Novel Coronavirus. Many of us Black folk have simply coined it “’Rona” or “that ‘Rona.” No matter what you may call it, it’s striking people all around the country and all around the world at alarming rates. This deadly virus wreaks havoc in the body, often causing high body temperatures, a dry cough and breathing difficulties. Although it is a global pandemic and no one place or group of people has gone unscathed of its wrath, Black people are particularly at a disadvantage in the battle against this invisible enemy. In my humble opinion, Black women, regardless of location, occupation or health status, are universally working the front lines in an additional battle: keeping our villages safe and informed amidst the apathy, misinformation and marginalization that makes us overrepresented in virus cases and causalities.



We are constantly warning and informing. Our parents, aunties and grandparents have been through a whole lot, and to many of them, this is just another struggle to go down in the books. Our friends are stubborn and still holding gatherings and doing other things against the wise counsel of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), Dr. Anthony Fauci or Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. Our relatives may not necessarily be naysayers, but some of them may not be as phased or fearful as we are and we are very concerned. So we’re trying our best to correct their reckless behavior (i.e. not protecting themselves from the virus, going out and about like business as usual, etc.) and keep them updated on the latest developments. While other people have the privilege of watching the news and keeping up with things for their own individual consumption, many of us Black women are looking out for news about Uncle’s job with the virus outbreak, relaying information to grandma Rosie about her “sugar” and the virus and making sure our parents, partners and children are eating and living right during this extremely unsettling moment.


We have to take the lead in taking precautions. Within our own homes, we’re planning to ensure food lasts to minimize trips to the grocery store, and when we do make those trips, some of us are even managing to sanitize the groceries when we get home. We’re often setting the tone for somewhat-healthy diets in our households. In many instances, we lead the charge of cleaning and disinfecting, doing our best to keep things clean. Furthermore, we’re monitoring the comings and goings of our household in a world where staying home is the best defense against the virus. In the face of adversity, we are leading, be it up front or behind the scenes.


We carry the burden of living in the margins. For many of us, our family members are essential workers. The mental stress of their potential risks in the workplace and our own physical exposure to them presents a unique stressor. The marginalization of our own contrasts greatly with the low risks posed to others with the privilege of working from home or not working at all (but still getting paid, nonetheless). Some of our loved ones have pre-existing conditions that are barely managed (often a result of low income, limited access, etc.), and we know that those people have an increased risk of complications from the virus. We know that everyone is not socially distancing, whether it’s because they’re an essential employee or because they simply aren’t aware of the life-threatening dangers of gathering at this point in time. And to top it off, all we have to do is log in to social media to see photos of crowded outdoor spaces, parties and cookouts in which we are the overwhelming majority. In some way, Black folk are always living in the margins, but it is mentally cumbersome to expel the energy to navigate and mediate our oppressed position in wake of a global health crisis – but we must.


Black women are left holding down the fort on a normal day, but unfortunately, today the burden is extra heavy. In the near future, let’s call on our village to figure out how we can strengthen the foundation of our house of cards, so we can all be good as a collective once “that ‘Rona” passes, but for now, Black women, we must find coping strategies for our own selves to lighten the load someway, somehow, for if we crumble, the rest of the cards will come tumbling down right behind us – in the midst of a global pandemic.

You Betta Work: The Labor of Self-Love

self love, Uncategorized



Earlier this month, many celebrated Valentine’s Day. We all know all sorts of emotions can be a buzz during this time. Every year, I think about my grandma because February 14th is her heavenly birthday. Every year, I see opinions plastered all over social media about who should or shouldn’t celebrate this day, how it should be celebrated, who should pay for dinner, who shouldn’t pay for dinner, and so on and so forth. Yeah, people tend to be all over the place.

Every year, I have my own personal reflections about love and my life around this time, as well.  One of the things I try to really hone in on is this idea of self-love. Self-love has become a buzz word of sorts in recent years, but beyond the fluff and the minimization of it (i.e. get your nails done and boom, check off that self-love box), what is it really and are we really truly loving ourselves? I’m approaching the dirty t-word (thirty!), and I’m finding more and more that self-love is indeed a radical act in the words of Audre Lord, but it also takes getting our hands a little dirty in order to truly achieve. Here are just a few things I think of when I think of the “work” of self-love.

Self-love means recognizing our own toxic behaviors. Do we ever get on our own nerves? Block our own blessings? When we answer “no” to both of these questions, we’re probably lying to ourselves. In this season (and all the time, really), we should take some time to think about the things that we do to hinder ourselves. Do you struggle with doubting yourself? Perhaps you find yourself feeling jealous of those around you? Whatever you may do (knowingly or unknowingly) to make life harder on yourself can be worked on. My main toxic behavior is worrying. I worry so much, it often cripples me, robbing me of my joy and sometimes, my sanity. To put it simply: I often miss “the moment” because I’m too busy worrying about the what ifs of “what’s next.” Lately, I have been paying close attention to my bouts of worry in an attempt to identify when I’m doing too much, bringing myself back to the moment when I do. I’m also actively re-centering myself spiritually with scripture and quiet time to fend off the worrying. We need to think about what we need to do to help ourselves.

Self-love means being with ourselves sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with eating lunch alone or staying at home alone all day. The times we’re with ourselves should not make us feel sad or empty, for the most part. Alone time should feel like enough. I’ve just gotten to the point where I love being with myself. Before? I was always concerned about doing everything with friends and I looked at life as a group walk instead of an individual walk. I just could not stand the thought of being home alone for the day or even simply eating by myself. Now? I look forward to being with myself. I get excited about journaling in the quiet or simply laying on the bed with a good book. I even cherish the time I take getting dressed to go somewhere and my commute to work, where it’s just me, my thoughts and my music. If you don’t really know how to be with yourself, just throw yourself out there and do it. Spend some time at home alone doing something that relaxes you — and enjoy it. Go to your favorite store and shop (or window shop and plan for payday 😉 — and enjoy it.

Self-love means getting uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with stretching ourselves and getting a little uncomfortable. When we see new opportunities that require a departure from our comfort zones, maybe we should stick our neck out and at the very least, see what happens. Maybe there are things we want to try to better ourselves (healthier lifestyles, challenging intellectual work, etc.), but we don’t necessarily like big changes. I think this is the time when healthy changes should be considered, at the very least. What I’m trying to say is, we don’t know what we don’t know, and not knowing is uncomfortable. But, on the other side of discomfort could be an upgraded, leveled-up version of us, bigger, better and badder than ever. You don’t know until you try.

The one and only Toni Morrison said it best — “You are your best thing.”

We’re all busy with all kinds of work right about now, be it school, careers, starting families, healing from trauma, exploring our identities, trying to get healthy, fighting for social change — you name it. Amidst this work, let’s try to make more time for ourselves and more importantly, for the work we owe to ourselves. Our best thing.