Habari Gani?! Imani! The Black Women of Alabama Embodied Faith in 2017

Two women vote in a recreation center in the presidential election Nov. 4, 2008, in Birmingham, Ala. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Faith. George Michael crooned about it; black people in America somehow maintain it—even if it’s the size of a mustard seed—time and time again.

Faith, or Imani, is the last principle of Kwanzaa, the weeklong black cultural holiday started more than half a century ago.


This entire week, for each day of Kwanzaa, The Root shone the spotlight on one person from the community who exemplified the principle of the day.

Umoja was Tarana Burke:

Kujichagulia was Cardi B:


Ujima was Patrisse Khan-Cullors:


Ujamaa was Chance the Rapper:


Nia was Colin Kaepernick:


Kuumba was Robin Thede:


And today, Jan. 1, on the seventh and final day of Kwanzaa, the folks we felt represented faith did not embody a person but a collective—that is, “the black women of Alabama.” Because, really, who’s more faithful than a black woman?

Right. Sometimes faith is not about religion.

For Kwanzaa, Imani is defined as believing with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.


And for this, in the special senatorial election in Alabama—one in which an alleged pedophile and confirmed racist who was dating teens when he was in his 30s went against yet another tone-deaf white guy—black women once again showed up and showed out. As we did for Barack Obama. And Hillary Clinton. As we did for Black Lives Matter. As we do on the usher board each Sunday or the PTA board that week; for our families and community every day, although we, too, bear the brunt of state-sanctioned brutality, the weight of poverty and health disparities, and the lion’s share of sexual assault and violence.

This year, the black women of Alabama, and black women in general—Jemele Hill, Rep. Maxine Waters, Erica Garner—did what we have always done: spoke truth to power but, moreover, did the work.


Doug Jones is now the U.S. senator from the state of Alabama, loosening the vise that Republicans have on power in the Senate and keeping a truly unqualified candidate from office.

In the name of decency and what is right, 98 percent of black women voted for Jones, compared with 93 percent of black men, 35 percent of white women and 27 percent of white men.


So here’s to the beautiful black women of Alabama who, in the face of voter suppression, bloody history and the plain ol’ fuck shit of everyday living, conjure miracles at every turn. While others bask in the glory, they continue to simply do.


Cuz like Big Daddy Kane once quipped, we get the job done.

And best believe we look good doing it.


Happy Kwanzaa, y’all! #MakeKwanzaaGreatAgain

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About the author

Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.