At the 2021 Soul Train Awards, Jazmine Sullivan won album of the year for her latest album “Heaux Tales.”
The Soul Train Awards is an annual award show honoring the best in African American entertainment and music.
After six years of not releasing an album, her most recent album dropped in January earning her second No. 1 album on the genre chart. Her first was “Reality Show” released in 2015
Sullivan’s goal for “Heaux Tales” was for it to be designed like a short story, she said. It’s a series of untold stories by women who are close friends and family of Sullivan.
Black women are often told that we have to be strong no matter what — we are the superwomen. We are expected to be the pillars in the Black community, but no one talks about how this heavy burden is harmful to Black women’s mental, physical and emotional health.
“I feel like society makes it seem like we have to be perfect and present ourselves a certain way to be considered a good woman,” she said in an interview with NPR.
IU junior Jada Harris has herself been told she has to be strong no matter what.
“It’s sad when I can’t have a moment of weakness because as a Black woman, I am taught that I need to be on point at all times,” she said.
Assistant professor at University of Virginia, Seanna Leath, researched how the expectations of strength placed upon Black girls and women is harmful.
In her findings she discovered this demographic of women responds to hardships by concealing trauma. Oftentimes, showing weakness or anger is often frowned upon by family members.
“I wrote this project for women to love themselves no matter what stage of life they’re in,” Sullivan said in her award speech. “You have to love yourself especially because society would have us (Black women) not love anything about ourselves.”
When we get on social media, we constantly see the standards of how women should look so it can be nerve wrecking trying not to compare yourself to others. According to Today, 88% of girls say they compare themselves to images in the media and around half claim that they feel negatively affected by this.
Harris said she constantly reminds herself of her worth.
“I remind myself of self-love by affirming myself each and everyday that I am enough,” Harris said.
Sullivan wrote this project to remind ourselves that we’re not alone in this and to give ourselves grace. It’s important that we continue to love ourselves and not feel ashamed to not be the strongest all the time.
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