I’ll Still Be Black When I Wake Up Tomorrow

The immutability of African-ness and elusiveness of Blackness is a source of contention and confusion — perhaps forever

It's Ericajean
4 min readJun 25, 2024

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As a Black woman, I have the freedom to indulge in whimsy and fantasy whenever I choose, particularly in relation to the arts, literature, or experiencing life through actors on screen. However, one aspect I cannot choose is my Blackness. Being Black differs from being African American, as each term carries its own history and implications. Thus, I cannot dwell in a fantasy world and anticipate respect at all times — that remains a fantasy.

Recently, Tyla, the singer of “Water,” has faced criticism from some individuals within the Black community for not responding to a question on The Breakfast Club. Charlemagne the god inquired about her self-identification, and Tyla, appearing nervous, looked behind her. Her manager interjected, stating, “We’re not going to answer that.

I pondered, if I were a star, would that question ever be posed to me? What would my answer be? In truth, the question would not arise because it’s evident at a glance that I have two Black parents. Celebrities such as Drake, Tyla, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, and others are of mixed racial or ethnic backgrounds, which means their experiences will be…

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It's Ericajean

Essayist and poet | Author of Rumors of Ouroboros . Learn more about Erica at https://linktr.ee/itsericajean/