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Meghan Markle doesn't change things for black women

The magic of the Royal Wedding captured in photos

See photos from the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle accompanied by music from the wedding by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir.
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See photos from the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle accompanied by music from the wedding by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir.

Fact: I’m Team Meghan Markle. She’s talented and speaks her mind. She’s a brilliant actress, feminist and philanthropist.

And we have a lot in common. She’s mixed like me, we’re both divorced and have crazy families. I want to see her win in her marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry.

But one thing Meghan is not: a beacon of hope for black women.

It’s true that Black America paid attention to Saturday’s Windsor wedding, with its black bishop, black choir, black cellist and black bride. Meghan, whose mother is black and father is white, quickly became a #blackprincess when the engagement was announced.

We can root for her and be happy to see her shine while also realizing that Meghan becoming a royal wife is not the answer to our prayers.

I keep seeing headlines, like the one “Good Morning America” apologized for last December, claiming the engagement gave black women hope. The Guardian just did a story saying the royal wedding is workplace inspiration for black women. Please.

I get it. Black women are twice more likely than white women to never have been married by the age of 45, according to a Yale study. Dating apps continually find black women and Asian men at the bottom of the preference list.

It took “The Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” franchises 34 seasons to cast a black person as the lead. And when they did, Rachel Lindsay’s season was among the lowest-rated in the series.

Meghan is not going to change that. Perhaps she will add to the nuance of black beauty – even though she identifies strictly as a biracial woman, and she looks racially ambiguous. She grew up seeing her black mama mistaken for her nanny.

Beauty standards will not be turned upside-down.

Plenty of white men, whether we’re talking Kansas City Chief Travis Kelce or David Bowie, love black women. George Lucas has a black wife, and that has yet to silence racist fanboys.

Why are we upholding the idea that being a wife makes Meghan matter more? Oprah isn’t married. You mean to tell me wifehood makes someone more inspirational than Oprah? Hella sexist.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are not Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, the interracial couple who made it possible for my parents to legally love each other. This wedding isn’t going to change laws. But being that she’s a biracial 36-year-old American divorcee, she does break the mold for royal princesses.

If anything, this marriage shakes away the shame of divorce. Maybe it makes interracial dating in royal circles less taboo. And that’s important.

As crazy as it sounds, “Black Panther’s” fictional Princess Shuri may have a bigger impact than Meghan on our day-to-day lives as black American women. Shuri will open the door to better roles for black women and allow audiences to see our value.

Melanin might be poppin' in the monarchy, but she’s not going to upend the institution. Her pending royal status didn’t stop tabloids from racist comments, so it certainly won’t stop dating bias against black women.

When President Barack Obama took office, there was this half-baked idea of a post-racial America. Y'all. Author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz found that on Election Night 2008, one in every 100 Google searches that included “Obama” also included “KKK” and the n-word.

Following his presidency, our country elected a racist xenophobe. But Meghan’s wedding is the answer? I wish.

That won’t stop me from swooning over a fairy-tale romance. But since she wasn’t born into the royal family, she won’t be granted the title of princess. With or without the crown, though, Meghan, like all black women, is a queen. No ring needed.

Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir peform "Stand By Me" at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.



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