Growing Up a Black Girl: On Growing Up in New York.

This post is a submission by Ingrid A. Lyle, author behind Invocation of Her Muse.  


Growing up a black girl in New York. The 90's. Hip Hop music is the tone for the culture. Single mother working hard to make sure big sis and little sis are taken care of. We share a bedroom and we share hobbies. Music. Dancing. Double Dutch in the cul de sac whenever we could get an extension cord or telephone wire. Those licks used to hurt. But it was all worth the girls counting you in "April, May, June. How you like the weather girl!?". Pop ups, jumping straight up and down when you got tired of hopping from one leg to other, responding "Fine fine very fine."

When your homegirls were your cousins and they lived around the block. And your mother let you walk as long as you were home by the time the street lights were on. Hand games like "Miss Mary Mac", "I met my boyfriend" (which was way too grown), and "Candy girl" where we all showed off the new dance moves. Cabbage patch, our little hips rolling in circles with our little arms working. Tootsie roll, Bogle and whatever dance our parents had been doing years before we were even thought of.

When there wasn't a gender role at your grandpas house. Wearing your best polka dot and striped outfit that matches your sisters (just in a different color) wasn't an option. Had to wear your "play clothes" because cuts and bruises were unavoidable. Skateboarding. Bike riding. Choreographing "where my girls at" by 702 on the cobblestone walk way. Picking snails from bushes because back then bugs were interesting. And eating peaches that fell from the peach tree because grandpa was a southern boy from Tennessee and McD's only happened on special occasions.

UPN was your go to TV. School ended at 2:30 and nothing mattered but getting home, plopping in front of the TV and watching Ricki Lake and Moesha. Your yellow and black walkman followed you wherever you went. Music was important so you made sure to stay up late listening to Hot 97 and making sure you had enough space on your cassette player to get that one song. When times changed you scoped the magazine for those 12 CDs for 1 cent ads. Playing them in your anti skip player that still skipped on occasion.

Growing up a black girl in the 90s was everything in New York. Scenes from Crooklyn were real life. Trips down south were relevant. Carefree living. Friendships were important. Family was as close as it would ever be. The memories are always golden.

Toi BlyComment