Black Girl Magic is more than a concept, it's a lifestyle. To proudly wear the armor of Black and female in the face of adversity stimulates a power of resilience the likes of this world has never seen. One woman, in particular, leading the vanguard of unapologetic, tenacious Black women is Mahogany L. Browne.
As an impactful figure of the literary industry, Mahogany vigorously created a platform through poetry for women and girls to feel empowered worldwide. She has been featured in the PBS NewsHour segment, Brief But Spectacular, where she read her poem "Black Girl Magic" about the struggles facing African-American women and girls in modern society. Most recently, Mahogany teamed up with Spotify to curate the #ReimaginingArmor project — an eclectic installment highlighting Black History Is Now — featuring the collaborated work of Mahogany, Theresa Chromati and Sadé Clacken Joseph.
With the release of her new book, Woke Baby, coming in January 2019, I met up with the incomparable spoken poet, author and activist to discuss what it means to be at the forefront of Black female empowerment:
21Ninety: Who is Mahogany L. Browne? Where does the name stem from?
Mahogany Browne: Mahogany L Browne is a mother, a sister a friend and a rider. I love hard. I fight hard. And I write about it all tomorrow. When I started, I was going by my given name, and I started in Oakland, CA at this open mic. And then someone followed home like 3 months in — I started doing poetry when my daughter was 6 months old, and as a single parent I just thought it was not the mood to be so easily findable — so I asked my friend, "if there was a nickname I could have, what would it be?" She was like, "definitely Mahogany, because it's wood, it's poison." So, that's how Mahogany the name was born.
21N: How was the Spotify Black History Is Happening Now event?
MB: The event was truly magical. Working on the project, sometimes with Sadé, most times with producer Cynthia, I was really concerned about authenticity and working with a platform as large as Spotify. However, they were really beautiful and open about our ideas and allowed each artist to bring to the forefront exactly what they wanted. So to go to the event and watch black and brown Women well up with tears of joy, was a gift in itself. And that’s the fight, right? To fight every day to be heard and seen and then sit in a room where women like you say “I see you sis, and your beautiful” with no fight or malice or disregard — that is how we lie down the armor. Even if for a minute.