Activist and actress Yara Shahidi collaborated with Google to create a video and open letter titled "To be a black girl," where she reflects on her deep inspiration, love, and respect for black women as part of Google Arts & Culture's Black History Month celebrations.
"I believe it's important to remember our culture and preserve the legacy of our ancestors. The stories live on through this digital collection dedicated to black history and culture," Shahidi wrote in the Instagram caption accompanying the video.
The open letter takes the form of an acrostic, spelling out "To Be A Black Girl," and celebrates the contributions of black women in all spheres of public and private life.
In one line of the letter, Shahidi writes: "Each and every one of us, embracing our obligation to serve as a mother-shepherd to our society, experiencing with a knowingness the excruciating pains of labor in hopes that the continual rebirth and evolution of our nation will be one that revels in our existence, that lifts us as empowered beings, and that remembers the tenderness of our care."
The letter and video both received a warm response:
I love the spirit of black people ! There'd be no freedom without black lives but lord where would we be without black women? 🙌— Black Jesus Barbie ™ (@RihTweetMe) February 16, 2018
This beautiful young lady has an old soul.— C.J. Hoover (@Old_Soul1028) February 16, 2018
This 🙌🏾🔥❤️— Jamila Wilson (@qveenmila_95) February 16, 2018
The best thing I heard all month— AG5️⃣ (@AlexGrays5) February 16, 2018
We are excited to see what you create next, Yara!