Juxtaposing #BlackGirlMagic as “Empowering and Problematic:” Composite Narratives of Black Women in College

Christa J. Porter, Janice A. Byrd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Across empirical examinations and within popular culture, Black women continue to (re)center and (re) define what being Black and woman mean within a society wherein Black women have been relegated to the margins. The purpose of our study was to highlight the complex and nuanced understandings of the hashtag BlackGirlMagic (BGM) as a mantra for Black women in focus groups at three higher education institutions (two predominantly White and one predominantly Black). In relationship to Collins’ (2009) personal, community, and systemic dimensions of oppression, authors interpreted the following three themes: (a) juxtaposing BGM as “empowering and problematic;” (b) “her extraordinary has to be ordinary:” BGM should not be synonymous with perfection; and (c) complicating the BGM narrative by (re)defining “what it means to be a Black woman.” Individual participant quotes are represented as composite narratives; implications for practice and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Diversity in Higher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 22 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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