Google has been celebrating Black History Month with different representations from arts and culture. They started off Feb. 1st with a doodle that celebrated the great American Scholar, Carter G. Woodson, often called the “Father of Black History.” Then on Feb. 7th, rapper Nas teamed up with Google Arts and Culture for a special Black History Month tribute to pay homage to the different generations of Black music.  And now for their second installment of their 3- part Black History Month, Google posted a video and letter from his cousin- Grown-ish star, Yara Shahidi entitled “To Be a Black Girl.” In the video, Yara honors Black women, “the mothers and care takers, the aunties and rule breakers, the sisters and sister friends.” She thanks them for the lessons they have taught that have been passed down through generations.

“To be a Black girl is to be one of the reasons the universe thrives. Our lineage has taught me that I am integral, that we are important, even when society dismisses us, hiding the wonder of our presence, a trail set for and before us by generations of powerful and empowered Black women.”

See below to view Yara Shahidi’s video and open letter “To be a Black Girl”

To be a black girl is to be one of the reasons the universe thrives.

Our lineage has taught me that I am integral, that we are important, even when society dismisses us, hiding the wonder of our presence, a trail set for and before us by generations of powerful and empowered Black women.

Bell hooks, Angela Davis, Janet Mock, Cicely Tyson, Patrisse Khan-Cullurs – an ever growing list of undisputed change-makers and boundary-expanders.

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.

A study of my history tells me that I will soar, despite the continuation of oppression, neglect and objectification. We will soar. I’m inspired by my own family of powerful black women, I carry the intention to continue making space for black girls to be black girls.

Bluer eyes may tell us of the glory of “Mary Jane,” but we mustn’t forget the glory from which we came.

Living in our ancestry are the stories of queens, pioneers, mothers, warriors, poets, and unifiers.

As Nikki Giovanni says, “Art is not for the cultivated taste. It is to cultivate taste.” We are the cultivators, uncredited, but ever present.

Colonized by people who truly believed Rock and Roll was an innovation of Elvis Presley, never speaking the name of Sister Rosetta Tharpe – who pioneered the mixture of gospel music with rhythm & blues – but we continue to push forward, sharing and telling of our evolutions.

Knocking down barriers, our achievements, your achievements, my achievements, allow all to rise—from propelling suffrage and civil rights movements, to propelling the first man to the moon.

God bless Black women, in the form of my mommy and caretakers, my aunties and rule breakers, sisters and sister-friends, who have nurtured both you and me; whose grace under pressure has made it possible for us to be.

In this day and age, the chaos may seem so overwhelming and new, but I turn to the past and see the path that was already cleared by more than just a brave few.

Reflecting upon our vast history, the one thing I know for sure is:

LEADERS – WE ARE ALL LEADERS IN EVERY FORM THAT WE ASSUME