Actor Taraji P Henson says she has issues with the usage of phrases like "strong black women" and "black girl magic" as it dehumanises women of colour and belittles their pain.
During a discussion with Essence's Wellness House, the 49-year-old actor said black women are at the bottom of the social hierarchy and have been ignored for ages.
'We're not fairies! We don't magically rebound from pain. We hurt and suffer just like others. It started off as an empowerment saying... because (black women are) always neglected, we're always at the bottom of the totem pole.
"We're the least respected on the planet. And so, it came as a (saying) to empower us. But then, as years (went) on, we've been ignored because of that very statement. It dehumanises us. It belittles our tears and pain," Henson said.
She added that the society expects black women to be strong enough to be able to watch their brothers, sons and fathers get murdered and assume that they can deal with it, which is "just not true".
The "Empire" star believes people need to be careful about using the phrase, adding that strength comes from "being vulnerable" rather than being impervious to pain.
"Strength is in being vulnerable, and that's what I want my people to understand. The strength is in being vulnerable and being honest with yourself, and saying, 'You know what, I'm scared right now.' Or 'I honestly don't know what to do right now'," she said.
For the panel discussion titled 'Black Women in the Workplace: Mental Health' Henson was joined by author Rachel Cargle and mental health and wellness expert Tammy Lewis Wilborn.