Girl-driven education company, Rebel Girls, has released the latest instalment in the best-selling book series ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic’ . It is exclusively dedicated to amplifying and celebrating the stories of black women from around the world and is curated by black women from cover to cover.
The book is edited by award-winning journalist Lilly Workneh, with a foreword by CaShawn Thompson, creator of #BlackGirlsAreMagic. It is designed to directly address the diversity gap in children’s publishing and amplify the stories, voices and incredible work of black women and girls.
Lilly and CaShawn chat to Female First on inspiring young women by sharing real-life stories of black women from past and present.
For those who are unfamiliar with ‘Rebel Girls’ – what is it?
Lilly: Rebel Girls is a global media brand dedicated to inspiring and instilling confidence in a generation of girls around the world through the power of storytelling. Rebel Girls offers an award-winning series of podcasts and books that spotlight the stories of incredible women throughout history. The latest instalment of the most popular book series, ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls’, is titled 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic and it is exclusively dedicated to amplifying the stories of phenomenal Black women and girls of the past and present.
CaShawn: Black Girl Magic is just simply who and what Black women and girls are. It became a hashtag after I responded to negative things being said about us in media by what felt like EVERYBODY. I felt moved to uplift Black women and said it to reiterate what I knew of Black womanhood: Strength, power, and beauty.
The hashtag #BlackGirlMagic is prominent throughout social media – do you think it is important to have a strong presence online?
CaShawn: I think that if you want to be heard or be seen in your work and accomplishments that you should have a strong online presence. Sometimes that needs to be orchestrated because you are looking for support or guidance. Other times, you are simply expressing yourself, and using a hashtag creates community in online spaces. People who wouldn't have had an audience before to express ideas now have a way to do that. I think it's phenomenal.
Lilly: I’ve spent the majority of my career as a journalist working in online media and leading various Black media platforms. I have witnessed first-hand the power of the web and how it can be used to help spread information and spark movements. Social media is what helped catalyse #BlackGirlMagic from a hashtag CaShawn Thompson created into a global movement that is celebrated daily. This highlights the value that Black creators contribute not only to digital media but culture at large.
An impressive array of women support the campaign and are part of it – why do you think this is?
CaShawn: I think that the #BlackGirlMagic movement and this new book "Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Stories of Black Girl Magic" have so much support because we are in a time where finally, diversity is being sought and celebrated. People are learning that globally, there should not be a single story and that all stories should be told and celebrated. Right now, it's Black women and girls' time to shine.
Lilly: There’s still a big diversity gap in children's books so when a book like 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic comes out and truly centres on the stories of Black women and girls, I believe it's worthy of celebration. It's wonderful to see so much amazing support around the book, especially from kids and parents who are eager to see themselves reflected in the pages.
Your new book ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic’ is available now - What can we expect from this?
Lilly: The book spotlights 100 stories of remarkable Black women and girls from the past and present who are both legendary and little-known. There are stories of champions, creators, leaders, and innovators from all over the world who have left an indelible mark on the world. Readers can expect to learn about their legacies and the inspiring contributions of magical Black women and girls.
CaShawn: You can expect stories of Black women and girls from all walks of life from all over the world doing and being their very best. Some of these stories are stories of women we already know and admire and others are stories of little-known women who bring just as much vibrancy to the tapestry of our world.
What advice would you give to anyone who feels like they don’t quite fit in or lack confidence in themselves?
Lilly: I would advise them to embrace what makes them unique. It is our differences that help us stand out as individuals and fully appreciating our positive qualities and traits will only help enhance and empower who we become.
CaShawn: Simply show up as your best self every day, whatever that may be. Your dedication to being your best will help you fit into the place that is meant for you. Understand that we all are meant for something in this world and you are uniquely qualified for yours!
‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic’ out now.