Where are we from? Michaela has lived in Columbia, South Carolina for her entire life, with the exception of a few months in Orangeburg, South Carolina and her time at boarding school in Greenville, South Carolina. Gabriella was born in Washington D.C., lived in Bowie, Maryland until fifth grade, and then moved to Lake Wylie, South Carolina. In her junior year, she also moved to Greenville to attend boarding school. These origins shape us and our understanding of the world, and are a large part of the inspiration for this blog. For this reason, we find this question really important, and we’ll be asking it quite a lot.
How did we meet? We went to the one school in South Carolina that actively supported artistic expression and marginalized people (though even this is questionable many times.) At first, we were mortal enemies in the way all black girls in a room of white people are trained to be—as if one of us would be kicked off the proverbial island at the end of the semester. We like to think that we’ve gotten better at motivating each other in healthier fashions.
Well, where are we now? After miraculously getting into out of state institutions and being able to afford them, we found ourselves surrounded by people who thought of the entire South as the punchline to a joke, a less beautiful version of Gone With the Wind, or a place to visit, but never to put down roots.
How did 2BG become a thing? While we'd always known that there was a unique southern perspective and lifestyle, being surrounded by people who inherently misunderstood the complex way we value our homes, particularly as liberal black women, was disappointing. The realization that we were both having this experience led to discussions about all the ways being a black female southerner is inherently beautiful, difficult, and important to record. 2BG is an effort to share this experience.
Who/what is 2BG for? First and foremost, this blog is for black grits that both love home and are suffocated by it. It’s for those of us who want to deal with our complicated feelings about the South and ask the serious questions about what it means that so many "high-achieving" black grits are going way out of state to establish themselves. Secondly, we want to make this a place for people who are curious about this experience, but maybe haven't found anyone capable of describing it well (definitely not us in person.) Finally, we want anyone who has ever referred to any place in the South as a "drive through, not to" location to read Gabby's piece on Northern Blacks and then never speak of places that aren’t New Jersey again.
What can readers expect from 2BG? When we were trying to come up with a name for this blog, we spent about five unsuccessful hours gesturing to what the black, female South was like, without coming up with many concrete symbols. We were like, yes, it's food, but it's also the women in Outkast interludes, and how you plan funerals, and the way you (don’t) look at white people in the Bi-Lo. Much of this site will be us gesturing to this experience through other mediums—music, food, women we love, and so on. We hope if we keep discussing very specific examples of black Southern womanhood, we'll get an idea of how to more broadly define the identity.
That’s all nice, but more literally, what can readers expect?
· Regularly-scheduled blog posts every Tuesday and Friday, specials when we feel like it
· Lots of our personal thoughts and reviews on other people’s work, but also just casual links to videos/articles/other things we like
· Essays on historical figures/events and current issues we feel are important to grits
· An open ear to readers. We’re really interested in engaging with what y’all are thinking about, experiencing, and consuming, so hit us up!