Taking on the Light

Ontological Black Girlhood in the Twenty-first Century

in Girlhood Studies
Renee Nishawn ScottPhD Student, Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Maryland, USA rscott14@umd.edu

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When society invokes Cashawn Thompson's hashtag phrase, “Black Girl Magic,” we laud the accomplishments of Black women and girls as if those triumphs are innate. In this article, I suggest that Black girls participate in a process that I call light making, or embodying that which is lighthearted, encouraging, and self-preserving. In exploring this particular ontology, I deconstruct Black Girl Magic by focusing on contemporary examples of light making as a way of understanding the critical role that Black girls play in Black cultural formation. By focusing on Black girl joy and play in social media, I stress light making as an ontology located in Black girlhood.

Contributor Notes

Renee Nishawn Scott (ORCID: 0000-0003-0170-1901) is a second-year PhD student in the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at University of Maryland. With research interests in post-Civil Rights girlhood, African American Culture, and play, Renee investigates Black Girl Play and Joy as mechanisms for promoting racial health among Black girls. Prior to pivoting to academia, Renee was an administrator, teacher, and curriculum designer for various DC Public Schools, Charter Schools and educational organizations. Email: rscott14@umd.edu

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