How a Real Lady Lives
I always thought that my Mom and my Grandmother were the most beautiful ladies in the world. I still see them in the same light, only now I realize why. You see, beauty is only skin deep. A cute face and a fierce pair of shoes does NOT make you a lady. A clear head and an honest heart, on the other hand, will take you places in life.
I have seen some of the most beautiful women in the world appear so unattractive as soon as they open up their mouths. My grandmother always told me that a true lady is able to stick up for herself in the most eloquent way. She doesn’t necessarily have to loose her cool to show people she means business. And when the rest of the world is questioning your motives, a true lady still sticks to her guns. This past month I was reminded of how a true lady lives her life with the passing of two very iconic women, Dorothy Height and Lena Horne. I have looked up to these women for years, and vowed to model my life in a way that would carry on the messages they sent to us.
Dorothy Height was named the ‘Godmother of Civil Rights’, and spent years working alongside of some of our country’s greatest leaders. She served as the President of the National Council of Negro Women for four decades. She essentially changed the scope of leadership in our country, and proved that women can move mountains just as well as men. Furthermore, Ms. Height proved her worth with grace and class. Ms. Height was blessed to have lived long enough to participate in anti-lynching protests, and the inauguration of our country’s first Black President. Of course, there were some that were slow to embrace her presence, as they believed that women should not be center stage in Civil Rights affairs and social issues. Never the shrinking violet, Ms. Height continued to fight until the age of 98.
Every woman has her own unique way of making her mark on the world. Unfortunately today, the entertainment industry is filled with so many negative stereotypes of what fame means to the average woman. The newspapers and magazines are inundated with pictures and articles of women who seek out fame in the most disgusting ways. It is amazing how the overwhelming need for camera time and headlines will take a woman from classy to trashy in a heartbeat. If there were more iconic women like Lena Horne gracing the stage, our need to censor our children’s activities would steadily decline.
Lena Horne was the quintessential icon of beauty and grace. She was the first Black woman to sign a long term contract with a major studio. Her presence is said to have transformed what many people in this country thought of black women. Although accepted by many white audiences, and sometimes dubbed ‘the white person’s daydream’, Horne stuck to her guns and held on to her desire to help change race relations in the US. Using her popularity as a platform, Horne refused to perform for segregated audiences, and also worked with the NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women. Though she caught the attention of many because of her stunning appearance, she proved that beauty is more than skin deep. Her legacy lives on in the hearts of many who were touched by her presence. Ms. Horne and Ms. Height will forever remind me of how a real lady lives her life.