What Is A Sister?

By Kinnon, Joy Bennett | Ebony, March 2000 | Go to article overview

What Is A Sister?


Kinnon, Joy Bennett, Ebony


SISTER CEO, Sister to Sister, Sistergirl, Sister President, Sistah, Sistah, SISTAH. What is a Sister? Has the term become generic?

Has the term become passe? Is it a relic leftover from '60s radicals that is no longer applicable in the 21st century? What does the word mean?

We asked Black women around the country what the term Sister means to them. Essentially, they agreed that Sister is more than the sum total of its letters. It is, as author Toni Morrison says, "a knowing so deep." It applies, as Dr. Maya Angelou says, to women of "a certain age," with a particular flair, with a certain sense of style. The consensus is that the word applies to Black females of all ages and orientations.

The answer is personal to each woman. A Sister-friend is a long-term friendship or a casual acquaintance. Chosen, not given, they are friends because they want to be, not because biology dictates a connection. They come in all ages, shapes, sizes and colors. They can cook on a stove, microwave or personal computer. They are rule makers and power brokers, peace-makers and warriors; they have come here to stay.

They rock the cradle and the microphone. For those they love, they are both the ship and the safe harbor. Never the wrong size or the wrong color; never too early or late, but always right on time. Sisters can be counted on in any millennium to watch your back or your babies. To keep it real or keep it hidden. To shop until you drop. These are the vows of Sisterhood--'til death do us part.

Following are some other thoughts about the qualities of a Sister.

CECE WINANS Six-time Grammy Award-winning gospel singer

"A SISTER IS A WONDERFUL THING. I think a Sister is one who loves you no matter what. To me, a true Sister is one who prays for you. She covers you in prayer. That's a valuable gift. I have several non-blood Sisters. I value them and appreciate them because I know that they always keep me uplifted in prayer and I know that I can feel the love of my Sisters from my home church (Born Again) in Nashville no matter where I am in the world. Of course, I've been blessed to have two wonderful blood sisters too, Angie and Debbie. They drive me crazy (laughs), but they pray for me and bring me a lot of joy too."

DR. AUDREY F.

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