For some African-Amer­i­cans, Meghan Markle is cause for cel­e­bra­tion

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

WHILE most Amer­i­cans are fast asleep be­fore dawn on Satur­day, Ishea Brown and more than a dozen of her black friends will gather around the TV set in her Seat­tle home to watch the bira­cial ac­tress Meghan Markle marry Bri­tain’s Prince Harry.

Brown is not a long­time devo­tee of all things royal, and she was not par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the House of Wind­sor be­fore Novem­ber. All that changed with the an­nounce­ment of the wed­ding of the queen’s grand­son to Markle, whose mother is black.

“These are things that grow­ing up I never would have thought that we would see,” Brown, 33, said, re­fer­ring to a woman with African-Amer­i­can her­itage be­com­ing a royal in the United King­dom.

“I hope that women, but par­tic­u­larly black women, are able to see them­selves in her and her mother, and know that there are no spa­ces that are not meant for us,” she said.

Brown has dubbed her party “Black A.F. Royal Wed­ding Brunch” and is us­ing the hash­tag of #Wakan­daWed­dingWeek­end, a ref­er­ence to the fic­tional African coun­try Wakanda fea­tured in the block­buster movie “Black Pan­ther.”

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of royal watch­ers around the world will tune into the royal nup­tials on May 19, and in­ter­est is par­tic­u­larly in­tense in the United States, with its his­tor­i­cal, cul­tural and lin­guis­tic ties to Great Bri­tain.

There has been a surge of in­ter­est and ex- cite­ment among some black Amer­i­cans, es­pe­cially black women, who are in­spired by Meghan Markle’s new-found sta­tus, said Sarah Gaither, a Duke Univer­sity psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor who has fo­cused on di­ver­sity issues and race re­la­tions.

“Most com­mu­ni­ties of color re­ally aspire to have rep­re­sen­ta­tion or role mod­els, said Gaither, who is also a bira­cial woman. “That’s what I think is re­ally unique of Meghan Markle - be­cause she’s bira­cial.”

That said, Gaither pointed out some peo­ple within the black com­mu­nity do not fully iden­tify with Markle be­cause she is a bira­cial woman.

Kim Love, a black Amer­i­can with a large Twit­ter and YouTube fol­low­ing who fre­quently com­ments on so­cial mo­bil­ity issues, raised that point in an on­line post on Tues­day.

“Meghan Markle’s mar­riage does not rep­re­sent a win for black women,” Love said in a tweet. “Be­sides, she doesn’t even self-iden­tify as a ‘black woman,’ so please stop forc­ing it.”

In New York City, Claire Os­borne, a 34-year-old stage man­ager and a fan of “Suits,” the USA Net­work tele­vi­sion se­ries that starred Markle, is one of those black women fas­ci­nated by the wed­ding. In fact, her in­ter­est runs so deep, she says she now spends much of her free time on Twit­ter to learn more about the fes­tiv­i­ties.

“A lot of my friends, we all weren’t that in­ter­ested in the royal fam­ily but now she’s in there, as a per­son of color, we want to fol­low now,” Os­borne said, who also plans on wak­ing up early to watch the wed­ding on tele­vi­sion. “We’re kind of root­ing for her be­cause you see some­one in that world who looks like you and rep­re­sen­ta­tion mat­ters.”

The wed­ding ser­vice starts at 1200 GMT (5 a.m. PDT) and to get in the spirit Brown and her friends will wear tiaras or fas­ci­na­tors, a style of head­wear fa­vored by women at Bri­tish wed­dings. But in a nod to the bride’s her­itage, the Seat­tle women will lace their hats with African prints.

Brown says Markle rep­re­sents the kind of woman whose life was not lim­ited by pre­con­cep­tions and ar­bi­trary so­cial bound­aries.

“I find it in­spir­ing,” she said.

Meghan Markle

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