Black, White & Royal? What Meghan Markle’s engagement means for Black women
Queen and Country just got some much-needed color.
It’s official! Meghan Markle (Suits) is set to marry Prince Harry in spring 2018. Amazing news, right? Not exactly. It seems there are undercurrents of dormant feelings surrounding this union of nationality and race. The overwhelming response on social media has been either happily congratulating the couple or harshly critical of Markle’s bi-racial ethnicity. I’ve found the majority of these internet posts originate from non-POC sources.
But what does Meghan’s impending marriage mean to black women?
First and foremost, this announcement reverberates throughout the black community with a certain pride and regality reserved for historical moments like this. To quickly dismantle any objections to the following statement based on the fairness of Meghan’s skin tone thanks to her Dutch-Irish father, all arguments are invalid. Meghan Markle is a black woman. Soon to be royal black woman as Duchess of Sussex. The assumption that she must be a quantifiable percentage African-American to “qualify” for this title attempts to belittle her black lineage and take away the respect she deserves.
Over their courtship, Meghan is often referred to, first, as his fiancee then by other monikers she held before their meeting. She’s definitely more than an actress, writer and model. Markle was founder and editor-in-chief of lifestyle website The Tig and global ambassador for World Vision Canada’s Clean Water Campaign to provide safe, clean drinking water. She worked with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and counselor for international charity One Young World, speaking on gender equality and modern-day slavery. Markle also added fashion designer to her list and released a line of women's fashion workwear in 2016. She attributes her effortless natural black excellence to her caramel-skinned, dreads locked, clinical therapist and yoga instructor mother, Doria Radlan.
Meghan Markle with her mother, Doris Radian
The one-drop rule still applies. Meghan’s happiness reinforces a long-known message to black women everywhere that we can save the world and find unconditional love but there will always opposition. But it won’t stop us. It’s the smile on Meghan’s face that reminds us that in the end, it will be worth it.
Meghan says : “So you make a choice: continue living your life feeling muddled in this abyss of self-misunderstanding, or you find your identity independent of it. You draw your own box. You introduce yourself as who you are, not what colour your parents happen to be. You create the identity you want for yourself, just as my ancestors did when they were given their freedom.”
Congratulations Meghan, we are all ecstatic for you.