Dr. Yaba Blay sits down with The Root to discuss ‘Professional Black Girl,’ the love language shared by black women, and how we twerk and work with unmatched professionalism.
Dr. Yaba Blay, a leading voice on beauty politics and the creator of Professional Black Girl, has been in the game for a minute, loving on black women and girls from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet.
A sister’s sister, Blay has tackled everything from colorism—with her (1)ne Drop project, to affirming melanin as black and beautiful as the universe with Pretty Period. She also unpacks the global practice of skin-bleaching and takes followers into the professional art of shopping for wigs and brown gel in the beauty supply store nearest you; and she does it all while holding down a full-time job as The Dan T. Blue Endowed Chair in Political Science at North Carolina Central University.
Now, Blay has brought us an ode to the Tashas and Keishas, Shakinas and Dedes—the black women and girls who “don’t just shine, they illuminates the whole show,” even when no one says their names.
“The terminology that is often used to describe and define Black girls—such as bad, grown, fast, ghetto, and ratchet—are non-affirming and are words that are intended to kill the joy and magic within all black girls,” says Dr. Blay. “We are professional code-switchers, hair-flippers, hip-shakers, and go-getters.