BY: MACKENZIE GALLOWAY // PHOTOGRAPHY: ROMAN HABIBZAI
Name: Alicia Jones
Hometown: West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Background: "I'm an African-American woman. I am Black, emphasis on the capitalization as I do own my Blackness."
Major: Political Science with a concentration in Gender, Race, and Politics with a minor in Dance
Hobbies: "Dancing, playing in makeup, and laying my edges"
I'm an African-American woman. I am Black, emphasis on the capitalization as I do own my Blackness. My Black identity lies within my spirit. I carry this identity through the texture of my hair and the styles I choose to protect these curly strands with. This identity is also strengthened by the way I use slang, the stride of my walk, and even in the way that I as a Black woman, think.
Despite my lack of knowledge of my ancestral lineage, I am well connected with my Black identity by constantly working towards breaking generational curses. I have faced some backlash from peers for not knowing what tribe I am a descendant of, as well as not pursuing the technological advances to seek out this information.
My Black identity lies within my spirit. I carry this identity through the texture of my hair and the styles I choose to protect these curly strands with. This identity is also strengthened by the way I use slang, the stride of my walk, and even in the way that I as a Black woman think.
I showcase my Black pride by practicing a natural hair regimen. It is a new journey for me but, it has been beyond liberating. I do this by using protective styles like braids, wigs, and overnight styles such as Bantu knots and twist outs.
Being Black to me means protecting my space and my energies from all negativity. In particular, one thing that I've learned on this campus as a woman who is Black is to not overextend myself and not to undermine my own experiences as it causes a disruption in my self-healing journey which no one else has control over other than myself.
Being Black to me means always self-reflecting without regret on who or what has gotten me to this place and space that I am in today. This has taught me that I do not need to censor myself in uncomfortable spaces because no one in that space knows what has brought me there. This applies specifically to whiter spaces that I am a member of and want to participate in, without the overwhelming facilitation of teaching my peers about Black experiences if it is too much.
Being Black has empowered me by always showing me that no one is like us. Being Black to me means always authentically being myself. It means never regretting doing things that are solely for my future individual success, strength, or well-being. My Blackness bestows strength and produces resilience that no one can deter. Being Black has empowered me to always embrace myself and to love myself harder than anyone else. (but, of course not harder than my momma does!)