I first and foremost want to begin this letter by saying a simple Thank You.
Thank you for all that you do, for all that you have said, for all the laughs, for the motivation…. But mostly importantly, thank you for your courage as a professional.
For a few years I’ve encountered your wit, via movies such as “Lottery Ticket” or “Top Five”, and seen you shine in numerous sketches on the hit comedy series “Saturday Night Live.” There was always something about you that felt so relatable, and so real. It was easy to partake in your humor because it felt like laughing with my cousin or my best friend. You presented yourself in the raw, letting jokes flawlessly slip from your mouth, and owning your identity as bad ass black woman. A bad ass black woman who followed her calling, inspite of the odds.
See, where I come from a lot of people don’t even remember how to have a dream, let alone take the first steps towards it. But it’s women like you that remind us all, that we all have a purpose here… no matter how crazy it seems.
My heart broke for you this past week, watching the senseless hate thrown at you on social media for your recent role in an all female cast of “Ghostbusters.” Reading those racial slurs jolted my soul back to the time of Jim Crow, and I can’t even imagine how deeply they impacted you. Honestly, their treatment of you had nothing to do with that movie, but everything to do with their un-comfortableness at another black woman on the big screen.
There are troves of people profiting from our demise as black women, waiting and wanting to see us fall. They’ve selected boxes for us to cram inside of, forcing us to fit standards we were never created to uphold. We have to look a certain way, talk a certain way, behave, and always remember our “place.” But I say to hell with that, and to hell with their archaic racist opinions. Let them keep adding pressure, its only turning coal into diamonds… Diamonds like you Leslie.
For a girl like me, you’ve shown me that who I am in the flesh is more than enough in the journey towards success. You’ve shown me that it’s not about their standards, but it’s about my God given talent and the amount of work I’m willing to put in. It’s not about the conventional; it’s about all the boundaries you can break being unconventional. It’s not about following the status quo, it’s about shattering it.
So again Leslie… all I can say is thank you. Thank you for representing a category of women the world wants to forget. Us women with our dark skin, our tall stature, our bold personalities and fearless hearts.
And to all those haters, f*ck them. Beyoncé said it best; the best revenge is your paper so keep on succeeding and taking what’s yours. Just know I’ll be watching and supporting you every step of the way.