The Strong “Silent” Black Woman – Myth? Superpower? Burden? with Dr. Seanna Leath and Dr. Martinque Jones

Southern Soul - Live Stream

Apr 7 2022 • 50 mins

“This tension that we’re talking about has direct implications for Black women’s mental and physical health that bleed into the rest of our community,” explains Dr. Martinque Jones. In today’s episode, host D-Rich, Dr. Seanna Leath and Dr. Martinque Jones sit down to examine the idea of the strong “silent” black woman.

The idea of the strong Black woman has both deep roots and a direct impact on the Black community as a whole. Though modern Black women have reclaimed the idea of the “strong black woman” as a way to show they are strong community leaders, overall there are several negative implications surrounding this stereotype. It is a double-edged sword because while it can serve a great purpose, it can also worsen mental and physical health outcomes for Black women. Dr. Jones and Dr. Leath discuss the real issues that lie within our systems, and how they are designed to force Black women to appear strong, even though they may be struggling. To improve the overall health of Black women, it is necessary that we begin to redefine the meaning of the word strength.

Join Dr. Seanna Leath and Dr. Martinque Jones on this week’s episode of Southern Soul Live Stream - Podshow as they de-bunk the myth of the strong Black woman. Learn more about the orginiation of this idea and how the real-life implications are a cause for everyone to reexamine the way they perceive Black women as a whole.


• “Us modern Black women have kind of reappropriated this idea of the strong Black woman. It’s kind of considered a badge of honor for many of us.” (8:03-8:12 | Dr. Jones)

• “Sometimes we are saying that we need help, or this isn’t working, or we need something else, and maybe folks aren’t able to lighten that load or lighten the burden.” (9:56-10:05 | Dr. Leath)

• “This tension that we’re talking about has direct implications for Black women’s mental and physical health and that bleeds out into the rest of our community.” (16:44-16:52 | Dr. Jones)

• “With the strong Black women in our lives, are we asking if they need help? Are we not waiting for them to tell us that they need help, but instead seeing all the things they are doing and being like you know what here’s how I can plug in. Here’s what I can do.” (17:50-18:01 | Dr. Leath)

• “Endorsing or embodying the strong Black woman ideal leads to a wide variety of negative consequences for Black women. (21:40-21:47 | Dr. Jones)

• “Perhaps being strong is saying I need rest. Perhaps being strong for a Black woman is saying I need help. Maybe being strong is unplugging for a day and tapping into your wellness.” (23:30-23:40 | Dr. Leath)

Famous Quotes on the strength of Black women:

• “But what of Black women? I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its finest up through such a devilish fire.” W.E.B. DuBois

• “I’m convinced that Black women possess a special indestructible strength that allows us to not only get down, but to get up, to get through, and to get over.” Janet Jackson

• “Usually when people talk about the strength of Black women, they ignore the reality that to be strong in the face of oppression is not the same as overcoming oppression, that endurance is not to be confused with transformation.” Bell hooks

• “You may shoot me with your words You may cut me with your eyes You may kill me with your hatefulness But still, like air, I rise.” Maya Angelou, from “Still I Rise”

• “Black women could hardly strive for weakness. They had to become strong, for their families and their communities needed their strength to survive. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Rosa Parks are not exceptional Black women as much as they are epitomes of Black womanhood.” Angela Davis


Connect with Dr. Seanna Leath and Dr. Martinque Jones:

Resources The Strong “Silent” Black Woman /

Therapy for Black Girls


Dr. Joy Harden Bradford


12 Resources for Black Women Seeking Mental Health Support


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic


Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength


Dr. Seanna Leath

Dr. Martinque  Jones Links

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