Last month the Lifetime network released the docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. The docuseries brought to light issues within the Black community, and society in general, as it relates to the adultification of black girls including dismissal of sexual assault and abuse allegations, lack of support and encouragement, and interruption of childhood experiences due to perceived characteristics based on myths and stereotypes.
According to The Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown Law, adultification of black girls is the overall view Americans have of black girls as "less innocent and more mature for their age...needing less nurturing, less protection, less support and less comfort" when compared to their white peers. (Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls' Childhood)
The docuseries was triggering for many, including myself as I reflected on my own childhood experiences. I can remember on multiple occasions being in situations where I was expected to conduct myself in an adult manner and being scolded when I made decisions that were parallel with my developmental age. I was often confused about what was expected of me because I received mixed messages about the responsibilities and expectations of a child my age.
The comforting part of all of this is that society is now being educated about adultification and its impact on girls of color. There are several organizations and publications giving voice to the needs and concerns of black girls and women and providing spaces for us to be unapologetically Black and female. These are my favorites!
Builds power with Black girls and women through training, workshops, courses, and seminars.
Committed to healing, supporting and educating Black women and girls through health education, empowerment and advocacy.
Focuses on the healing and restoring the souls of black identities and black women through the exploration of identity, self-actualization, and self-care.
Dedicated to improving the health and wellness of Black women and girls physically, emotionally, and financially.
Works to reduce racial and gender disparities across the justice continuum affecting Black women, girls, and their families by conducting research, providing technical assistance, engaging in public education, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for informed and effective policies.
A literary magazine dedicated to publishing short fiction and narrative essays by Black female writers.
Young professional network of African American women serving as positive role models for young minority girls in the New Orleans metro area through mentoring, community service and social awareness programming.