For my daughters,

You’re gonna be born into a society that will try to sew your lips and chain you down but before they try to seize your voice remember that you are born with scorching flames inside of you, you’re meant to roar like a dragon. So never let anyone silence yourself.

You’re gonna grow up surrounded by people who will insist on sculpting your body according to what their idea of perfection is. But before they blind you with this delusion, I want you to know that you’re not obliged to meet up with their standards of beauty.
You’re made of cosmos and combat, and that’s far more beautiful than what anyone can ever be.

You will be expected to keep quiet, may it be when a boy in your class pulls your hair or when a man gropes you on the street. You will be told not to overreact. At times like that I want you to know that you’re stronger than you think, and you should raise your voice against anyone who violates your body. Tell the boy in your class not to pull your hair so he won’t grow up to think it’s okay to grope a girl on the street.

Education is one of the most important part of you life, don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise. You will be born to be leaders, to move mountains, to make a change in this world and nothing will help you more than having a good education so never compromise your education for anyone.

You’re gonna be born with divine fire wrapped in thunder. You’re gonna be strong like hurricanes and cyclones. And nothing can ever stop you.

For when you will be born,
It wouldn’t be the birth of just a girl;
It would be the birth of a revolution.

—  Mahin Ismail
the peaches shrivel on the counter,
refusing to make themselves into jam.

& what an insolent woman I have become,
knowing exactly how sweet I am
on a hungry man’s tongue, and still –

call it rotting if you need to.
I’ll stay till all my skin gives out.

ugly
                & uncontained.
—  Brenna Twohy
For cishet black men 4:44 was a Godsend. For the rest of the black population, however, 4:44 a curse. Almost immediately, a man who presented himself as feminist and activist posted a tweet thread about the pain and restrictions black men experience growing up, and how black women needed to be patient with black men who are still learning. When multiple black women responded that black women grow up under the same conditions with equal or greater constraints on emotional display, he gaslit and dismissed them. This is exactly what I feared. This is The 4:44 Effect in action, cishet black men sobbing about the emotional/empathic growing pains while expecting grace that was never afforded to black women. All the while, these same black men continue to “learn” by harming and discarding black women. They continue to learn by ostracizing queer black men, but then want easy access to the emotional spaces queer black men were beaten for entering. Cishet black men want the applause for finally gaining emotional depth that the rest of the black community had to develop as children for our safety and their comfort. The 4:44 Effect, I fear, will be particularly toxic in spaces once considered safe for black women. Cishet black male allies can can now dodge accountability under the guise of “still learning”. They can berate black women for not being impressed or wooed by their juvenile grasp on emotional intelligence. They can berate queer black people for not graciously allowing their casual queerantagonism because that’s “how I was raised.” The bar wasn’t raised, it was just repainted. Jay-Z and the other men in the Footnotes, in all their blissful enlightened ignorance, don’t realize the pandora’s box they’ve opened on the people they claim to now care about.
—  The 4:44 Effect  by Saki Benibo (@mrbenibo)