“I went to Zimbabwe. I know how white people feel in America now; relaxed! Cause when I heard the police car I knew they weren’t coming after me!“-Richard Pryor
I feel like there is a fundamental difference between the comedy of Black folks and everybody else. We display our shit in our funny. You get to hear about our relationship problems; which one of our friends might be a hater in real life; how broke we are; our 62 year old gay uncle coming out and bringing “Lionel” to the family barbecue in matching short sets; how much toilet paper our kids use; and the amount of gray hairs we counted in the shower. We also talk about politics, racism, and all the horrible shit we experience. The thing about it is, those same jokes we laugh about, we are quick to get sensitive about if they hit home. That joke about cheating ain’t funny to your wife who decided to keep your ass despite you having an outside kid. Shit just ain’t funny. #toosoon
If you know anything about me, you know I LOVE Black people. My love is deep though, so my jokes are deep. I’m not holding you up about how extra fucked up your ways are or out here fooling myself about my own flaws. Our standards are different. Our priorities are different. We need to be honest with each other… but we can do it with laughs and love.
When I post the Black Men are the White Men of Black People article again, of course it isn’t all of you. But if you are hotepping , rape apologizing, comparing Black male v female racial injustice, and R. Kelly and Bill Cosby “our Black heroes” stanning… I’m gonna clown you and label you. I’m gonna let you know you are acting real male supremacist and since you experience your race and gender simultaneously, you can’t live by the same rules and get the same privilege. That shit ain’t available to you. I feel it my job to let you know how far from the right path you have strayed. Now I’m gonna wrap it in a funny bow… but again, it’s gonna be a bow soaked in truth and potlicker because we all we got. These thick thighs save lives in more ways than one!
When I say Light Skin Ni$$a Shit, trust me I mean that with all the love I can muster. I’m light skinned. I dance randomly in stores. I likely have on something leopard print. I’m a little extra and a little sensitive about my shit. I’ve been judged. I have a privilege I didn’t ask for and don’t want. I have simultaneously had my Blackness questioned … while still being quite Black enough to face racism from white folks. Living in that space can result in attention seeking behaviors to stand out and distance yourself from that privilege, sometimes displaying stereotypical behaviors or making up a reality just to lessen that sting. The fact still is that unless he’s in a Regal blasting UGK, El DeBarge is less likely to get stopped by the police than Johnny Gill. Traveling at 40mph it’s harder to tell if El is their intended target, a Black person. But he is not immune. It’s a strange and debilitating privilege that doesn’t feel like privilege at all. A privilege you only get because you are close to whiteness, but no cigar… and you don’t smoke! I’ll take the smoke tho and call it out when we display it erratically … with humor. You ain’t gotta prove you down or lie Craig.
I’ll do the same thing when we try to box each other in, as if we can’t be both smart with a side of ratchet; study James Baldwin and W.E.B. DuBois and twerk in trap fitness; or be fiscally responsible and still buy Jordans. I got Twitter and E-Trade apps on my phone. I am multi-dimensional. I’m soul food and eye candy you hotep. And I’m gonna joke about it, but that’s my way of sparking some dialogue… because you need to know that I am not the bearer of your insecurity. Regardless of how you may decide to narrowly view yourself and your Blackness, the rest of us are out here contributing to our 401K AND busting a mf move when Cash Money takes over for the 99 and 2000s.
“There’s a thin line between to laugh with and to laugh at.” -Richard Pryor
What I need for us NOT to do is get all sensitive because the jokes hit home. If the shoe fits and it’s in your closet, you bought it. Be accountable for who and what you are, and if someone strikes a nerve with the truth, decide to do better. #WWJD… #JWDB (Jesus would do better!)
Besides, comedy is truth. It was our comedic national treasure , Richard Pryor, who said… “I went to the White House, met the president. We in trouble. ”
We still are Richard, we still are!