Black… and Yellow

Some mediocre singer made a song calling herself (and referencing men who want) a “yellowbone” or light skin Black woman with yellow undertones… similar to the term “redbone” which refers to lighter skin Black women with red undertones (perhaps from mixed heritage with Native Americans). Folks are like “OUTRAGE” it’s colorism.

The system of privilege that is begat from favoring people of lighter skin color over those of blacker skin color… that is colorism. Talking, singing, writing about complexion is not colorism, Being light skinned should not be a source of shame because it comes with privilege… mainly privilege we didn’t request and don’t want. I can assure you as a “redbone”, I don’t want any parts of colorism. Matter of fact don’t call me a redbone. My preference.

Ya’ll… we cannot be this silly. Let this girl make a song and get her coin. She’s light skinned, she thinks she’s the bees knees, let her. Men have been referencing redbones in their songs for decades, and nobody writes whole articles about some random song. But again, the problem here is that (1) women are held to a different standard than men and expected to stifle ourselves to promote and suport the masses when the masses don’t support us and (2) Black folks think we can ALL only be about some universally Black ideal and anything else is a problem.

Women can’t tall about our bodies, our hair, our wants, our dreams, the kind if men we want, nothing without some backlash on how what we said makes us look. I’m a hoe if I’m comfortable with my sexuality. Im a golddigger if I like men with their finances in order. I’m a golddigging hoe if I only date men who have stock options. But he can want a hoe, talk about his money, swipe his credit card down some chick’s ass and it’s all good. Hell Lil Wayne had a song Redbone Girl and Childish Gambino’s hit … like BIG HIT… was just entitled Redbone. But Danileigh (I know nothing about her so I had to look up her name) says “Yellowbone” and she’s a full on racist. Stop it. Stay woke.

Black people run the gamut from the palest to the darkest with everything in between. She simply said “Yellowbone that’s what he wants
Prada, me in Saint Laurent”… not Pulitzer Prize winning lyrics… but not worthy of outrage. It’s fake outrage. Be clear, it’s a horrible song and I’m sonically outraged, my ears are upset… but that’s it. She didn’t put anyone down. I think team light-skinned is dumb… but SO IS team dark-skinned… because we are one team. The facts are some men/women prefer light skin, some men/women prefer dark skin. It’s all good, like hair, it’s skin… it covers your body, it’s great. Whatever color it is. Bug let the girl sing her little song.

“French Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Chocolate Deluxe…

… even Caramel Sundae” (Ice Cream, Wu Tang)

It makes ZERO sense that a light skinned woman cannot attest to her virtues the same way a brown skinned woman is celebrated for attesting to hers… despite the past or the present. A brown sister posts that she’s a beautiful chocolate melanated Queen and “Yaaaassssssssssss” fill the comments. We should all get that same love if we celebrate ourselves. Black women are the least celebrated people walking the planet… all of us should come together to big up each other, skin color be damned. If she thinks she’s “sweeter and thicker than a Chico stick” (Sometimes I Rhyme Slow, Nice & Smooth) then that’s her prerogative the same as “drip broke the levees when my Kellys roll in” (Brown Skin Girl, Beyoncé). As long as she’s not proclaiming that she is the only image of beauty in the diaspora of Black skin… it’s all good. Relax.

Again, we have to stop being so judgmental of whatever sits outside of the box that Black Twitter has created. We are not meant to fit in… boxes or stereotypes. It is a stereotype that all light skin Black women are conceited, narcissistic, and vain. It is a vestige of racism that dark skin is inherently bad and therefore lighter skin automatically means a person is smarter, kinder, more beautiful, more desirable, more refined, worth more. That’s a lie that has been told to us… because in general we are darker than those who built the White power structure. It isn’t light skinned Black people racism was meant to exalt… be very clear! These ideas are not our own, they were given to us. It’s time to give them back. We can’t get over this hump because it has been so deeply ingrained that the lie keeps getting passed down in our DNA. I personally have benefitted from that dumb ass line of thinking and never ever wanted it.

There is a reason why a lot of militant ass folks… Huey P Newton, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Kathleen Cleaver were light skin Black people… on the receiving end of racism but somehow labeled the perpetrators of colorism. Nope… I will not be the bearer of your hate because the darkness if my skin was tainted by your rapist kinfolk. FOH! While it’s hurtful to be on the receiving end of racism and colorism surely, it is MADDENING to be both hated and seen as the puppet of your hater. I don’t subscribe to any tenets or byproducts if racism. I see beauty in all that Black people are… and I don’t have to damn any part of it as pennance for my privilege. I’m militant AF. Black mixed with Black. Be completely clear. I’m also smart, cute, and the whole bag. My skin color is apart of me just like my eye and hair color. All together that shit is popping. I hope you feel the same about yourself!

Frankly, Im tired if discourse on this subject, but it’s still a very real source of trauma for Black people. As such, I’ll do my minuscule part in helping solve the problem. But we gotta start with giving each other a bit more grace. If we are going to chastise this girl, let’s berate her on the quality of this song… cuz it swings real low on that scale. But if Childish Gambino can sing to his “peanut butter chocolate cake with Kool-Aid” (Redbone)… then she can sing about being yellow. Revamp those he-man woman haters club bylaws and take the fake outrage out. These ultra raggedy dudes still out here calling beautiful brown skinned women “blackie”… be outraged about that shit please!

“Let the Willie Lynch theory reverse a million times with Complexion/Complexion don’t mean a thing…”Complexion, Kendrick Lamar

Not Your Sally Hemmings

So one of the Proud Boys that broke into, raided, looted, and staged a coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol, after and because of a historic election and historic day for Black people, politics, and leadership in this country, has a Black wife and a biracial baby… so TF what?

Slave masters raped their female slaves and made biracial babies all the time. Hell, one of your President’s had a whole family with a slave woman. But she still had to fetch him a glass of water and empty his chamber pot. He loved to bed her but still clearly believed her so inferior he would continue to own her, work her for free, and take her body. He fell in love with the cocoa but not the woman. Cuz Thomas, like Proud Boy Billy or whatever his name is, had a fetish for Black women. That has nothing to do with love.

Black women have been in the receiving end of racial fetishization since colonial times, and now it has expanded. Historically, Saartje Barttman was used in freak shows to titillate audiences because of her curvaceous body, just furthering the stereotype of the Black woman as animalistic and sexually motivated. Innocent Black slave girls were described as so sexual that their rapist masters feigned lack of control in falling for their sexual prowess. Black women are often the source of the White male gaze but not his respect.

Today, plus size Black women are sought after because of fetishes of being with thicker women (freakier, more sexually free, more willing to please stereotypes… all bullshit) who are at the same time degraded and fat shamed publicly, in some attempt to hide and shame like you ain’t ready for all the jelly. FOH. We are desired by some men the darker we are (typically White men) and others because of how light we are (typically minority men). Different sexual personalities are attributed to dark skin and light skin women that often have no place in reality. The size and shape of our asses are the fetish of women and men, from non-Black women obsessed with squats and ass shots to famous women using surgery to alter their bodies to be known for the size of their butt. Many Black women take advantage of these fetishes… especially financially… displaying themselves on social media to draw fans and make money, adding to and profiting iff of the stereotype. But I’m not really mad at grown women getting their coins. But the fetishization of Black women has morphed over time from something practiced by the White male power circle to the mainstream.

So who knows what Billy’s thing is… who cares. The bottom line is, if sis wasn’t aware of who she was with before, she is now. If she knew and was ok with it, it wouldn’t be my thing, but I don’t know her life. If she just found out, I hope she makes good decisions moving forward… because he was a bad one. He is the poster boy for hatred and racism, wrapped in a cloak of acceptance and diversity. Welp… bruh is now exposed as the treasonist racist that he is. And she is either his beard of non-bias or some sick twisted Black hate fetish. Either one is fucked up. But you cannot love what you hate, that we know.

Let’s be very aware of the negativity out in the world that can sabotage our success. A woman looking for love should not ever settle for being some man’s fetish… his redhead fetish, his fat girl fetish, his girls with six toes fetish, none of that shit. Is he into you or what you are… that’s a very nuanced thing but a very real thing nonetheless. Be as discriminating about who you give yourself to as the selfies you post. Make sure he’s good to you and for you. Black women are not our weight, skin color, hair texture, headwraps, ass, waist to hips ratio, or the scent of peaches or African oils that wafts behind us as we walk. We are whole entire women whose brain, emotions, and spirit matter just as much as our fineness… cuz we fine AF, be very clear!

These fools ain’t Thomas Jefferson and you MOST CERTAINLY in 2021 are not his Sally Hemings.

Bash Mister’s Head Open…

Did you finish it!?

I know you know it.

“…and think about Heaven later!”

Amen!

Everyday it seems, there is a moment that highlights for me the strength and resilience of Black women who stand in their Blackness and their womanhood. Today was no different. Today’s manifestation gave me greater insight on two groups I don’t belong to… black women (as distinctly opposed to Black women) and coy White women. As women, we couldn’t be more different.

So Black women don’t have the luxury of privilege and protection that White women do or the luxury of patriarchal privilege that White men do. We have to stand up, put our hands on our hips, and let our backbones slip with some stank on it… particularly professionally and socially. We are at the height of a pandemic where simple things like using safety measures to protect oneself are discouraged by our world leader, when the pandemic is having its most major affect in racially diverse and heavily populated areas. We have to be real clear on where we stand. Black people are continually brutalized and murdered by wayward police officers, so we have to be real clear on where we stand. Our incumbent President can’t open his mouth to declare white supremacy a human rights violation, so we have to be real clear on where we stand. We also have to be clear on who we stand in fellowship with, allow in our circle and blindly support.

For clarity, black women belong to the Black racial group but they often see their racial culture as secondary to the other cultures they belong to… women, evangelical Christian, wealthy, whatever. So instead of experiencing their race and sex and class and culture intersectionally, they backseat their Blackness. So they find themselves often in some sort of struggle when they have to defend and stand up in their Blackness with their evangelical, wealthy, White cohorts. People they usually have more affinity to than folks who look like them.

Data shows… White evangelicals overwhelmingly voted for Trump, at 76%. 55% of White women voted against their own interests to vote for Trump with 61% of White men. 54% of those who make over $100K did as well. (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/03/us/elections/exit-polls-president.html). So if these are your folks, you need to know these facts. If you are a black woman, you have to get real clear about where your faith and your tolerance collide. Personally I see no issue. God commands us to love, so as God’s soldier you mandated and indoctrinated with the purpose of calling out hate, whether it is rooted in race, gender, sexual orientation, class, whatever. You should have no problem condemning hate and every instance of it… socially, professionally, even politically. That’s the cause you take up as an evangelical. But again numbers don’t lie… so look your White evangelical friends and colleagues and customers in the face… be real clear or not, the choice is yours. But when they spit back racist, sexist, homophobic, classist vitriol… and you’ve been silent…

“… in yo face/open yo mouth, give you a taste.” -Missy Elliot

It is most likely that 76% of your White Christian friends see you as “a good black” and are okay with the rest of us jungle heathens going back to hellhole countries despite having a much larger ancestral claim to America, as we know it, than they do. If you are okay with that… sobeit. You black, it’s all good. But if you are Black, this is your friendship mantra, and you aren’t afraid to go tell it on the mountain…

“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” -James Baldwin

Be clear, I have friends and acquaintances of many a hue. However I’m very clear about how differently we are allowed to see life. Some shit I can’t ignore or blindly accept. Other shit I just cannot do. Unless I’m surrounded by folks who look like me who make decisions, chances are I’m going to be seen as a problem professionally. I’m smart, assertive, outspoken, and equally skilled and talented. I’ve had to learn how to fight for me. I don’t have the luxury of whining and looking for barriers of protection. But white women…

Do.

On more than one occasion I have witnessed a White woman’s response to mistreatment or unfairness. It’s like watching her sink in quicksand, hand just outstretched, no fight, no struggle, just this assurance she’d be saved. Often she was. But now I know why it took so long to let women become soldiers… cuz they (White women because Black women been fighting) are gonna scream, drop their weapon, and go hide behind their captain. It’s the same way they vote for their husband’s instead of their own… phantom protection. Be clear sis… he likely dislikes you more than he dislikes Tyrone. Racism is rooted in American society, Sexism is rooted in the American family.

So while coy white women , cuz White women like Black women are not a monolith, are trying to show integrity to people who will lie to them and sabotage them, mainly White men… they willingly shrink instead of bossing up to fight. And for a Black woman who is used to being second guessed, called to prove her worth, sabotaged because I’m so fucking dope and they know it… that captain save me, lily livered, weakassery has no place in my life and it just sounds like desperation and quitting had a baby named Sarah. Stop it. Put on those big girl panties he hates so much and grab a choppa. Blow up his spot by calling out his sexism and highlighting his each and every wrong. Don’t shrink, grow up and strap on your Nancy Sinatra boots. Walk all over his ass!

“For most of history, anonymous was a woman.”-Virginia Woolf

As a woman free from her chains, it’s partially my job to show other women their own… so they can recognize them as chains and break free. This isn’t a condemnation, it’s a truth telling. So share this with your black women and coy White women friends…

Divorce is Ok

I have a wide cross section of friends who are married, single, divorced, some in relationships and others not. Most of us don’t define ourselves by our marital or relationship status, they are surely a large part of who we are, but not indicative our whole person. There are a few women I know personally and many I’ve encountered socially who are married and believe divorce is quitting… or they say things in that spirit.

I’m here to tell you that it most certainly is not!

I have been married. I’m currently divorced and in a committed relationship. I am a serial monogamist. I am that girl whose friends say “you always have a man.” The truth is, if I always had a MAN, I’d still be married. I have been in relationship with many men who simply were not mature enough to be with someone who has her shit together, standards, and her own. I have never been looking for someone to take care of me or to lace me, I lace myself… but I am certainly looking for a life partner. In that process, I have had to learn the hard way what is best for me. That means there are some things I’m unwilling to be involved in long term. Period. But ESPECIALLY for a lifetime. We should all have some boundaries. I honestly believe many women get married and shed and erect those boundaries as they go. As Tamar would say… that right there, she don’t do that !

Gone are the days when women had to be and remain married for financial security. Hell, not that I would suggest it, but women are choosing to have babies without a mate… times have changed. Women spend as much time outside of the home, working to financially support her family, as men do. I have plenty of friends who bring in more than their spouses. But even with those very clear markers that women no longer need to completely sacrifice and compromise themselves to stay married … never had to frankly… we continue to do so.

Be clear, I’m not suggesting divorce as a remedy for simple marital problems. I am suggesting that when you see signs that the man you chose does not intend to respect, consider, and commit to you as fully as you have him, after you have exhausted all other remedies, you don’t have to remain with that person who is refusing to treat you well. Period. We all have our own boundaries… mine are simple. If you are unfaithful to me by bringing another person into the intimate bounds of our relationship or by sharing your body with them, you gotta go. If you mistreat me or my child, you gotta go. If you steal or take from me, either materially or otherwise, you gotta go. Lastly, if you are unable to be trusted and show that continuously by your actions, you gotta go. Otherwise, the table is open for discussion and solution. But I’m not talking about you being unable to control yourself sexually, financially, or behaviorally. Go talk to a therapist.

Those women who qualify it as quitting, are typically women afraid to be alone. Women who say things like, they feel sorry for women who are dating. Women who don’t know their own strength and power.

If I’m practicing for a marathon, and the shoes I picked are not supporting me, are hurting me, are making me feel like I can’t finish the race, it’s time for a new pair of shoes. Doesn’t matter how much you spent on the bad shoes, how long you had them, or how good the reviews were. You need good shoes to plant in to make your relationship with the ground as steady and solid as possible. It may rain, the sun may go down. Other people may be ahead of you, or pass you, but your only competition is you and if you felt like you gave it your best. You can’t be at your best with janky shoes. You can’t be at your best with a janky man either sis!

Marriage is hard. Divorce is much more difficult. When you cleave to a partner, to end it, you have to chop them off like a limb. And like an amputee you will feel phantom emotions from that person you cut off. It’s very much like death. It’s also much like ending a book before the last chapter and having to wonder what might have been. So before you make that choice you have examine and exhaust all the possibilities for healing. But if you dig and find nothing but more dirt, eventually you can stop. There is nothing there. The choice is yours… but by no means is it a choice based on quitting. It’s a choice based on you, choosing you.

If you happen to be reading this and you are married and have sacrificed and compromised yourself into a person you no longer recognize for the sake of marriage, but you choose to stay, I hope you find comfort in that decision. But don’t attempt to weaken the person who makes a different choice. Like you, she too deserves support.

As for me, I chose not to subscribe to the very negative propaganda that is spread about Black couples, Black marriage, Black men, Black women, and Black love. Marriage is difficult to maintain across the board, but so can be your sense of self. One shouldn’t be sacrificed for the other, ever. Choosing you is NEVER quitting. It is imperative. Divorce doesn’t make you a quitter, just a survivor.

If you need to… and only you know that, quell the chatter, divorce is ok!

Hey… those are Lucy’s Diamonds

So let’s start from the beginning.

Ancient Greek philosophers learned Mathematics, Science, Language, the cornerstones of intellectual thought, deduction, and reasoning in Egypt… from Egyptians… in Africa. They wrote of this in the history of their philosophical manuscripts, but that’s not apart of general education. You can’t subjugate and marginalize people if they know you learned everything you claim as the basis of your superiority from them.

Similarly, the oldest human bones were discovered in Africa. Lucy is everyone’s ancestor. Yet that’s not apart of general education. You can’t mistreat and brutalize people if they know your racial categories are just made up tools of classic, racism, and supremacy, and they are the original beings from which everyone else descended. Lucy is humanity’s guiding star. We all see through her eyes… a collection of history and tragedy and triumph that shifts and changes colors like a kaleidoscope.

But let’s fast forward to modern day, during the most racially tense time we’ve seen since the Civil Rights Movement… where Black people are told to go back where they come from, that they come from shithole countries, that them living amongst the majority is understandably unwanted, and that their dead bodies being laid out in city streets like urban snuff movies… when images such as the one above permeate the media as a joke. But in reality it is our thoughts, art, music, style… cultural intellectual property… that is stolen and used like it emitted from their fingertips like pure magic. This can be especially true in the professional dynamic between White women and Black women. We are sick of Melania. We are taking control of our own credits!

I work as a public servant. I’m underpaid and overworked and could make much more money in the private sector… but this is the path I chose. I have a law degree and upon getting my job where I decide, analyze, and write legal decisions for federal service, I knew as the only legally trained officer I’d fare well. And I did, at first. I moved to more complex and autonomous cases quickly, leading to my first promotion training other officers. I helped develop a program used nationally to help prepare new officers learn the law in a practical setting. And then our office got whitewashed. All the minority leaders were pushed out, and my Black face didn’t look like success. So, they found a way to push me aside and hire White women to benefit from my work and take credit for it. But nope… I keep all the receipts. You won’t cheat off my paper and get an A while I get a B.

So here it is… put your name on it. Add your spice to it. Pour honey and cocoa on it. Make the shit yours, so nobody can ever mistake that it belongs to you. Be Beyoncé with it. Put on your leotard and nude stockings, bling it out, and Black it out. So when they put on them dukes, holographic fringe boots, and cropped sweatshirt… you know it’s appropriated cuz it’s missing your tag. Make sure everybody knows it’s yours. Make them work for their own if they want the credit for excellence.

Similarly, be your own voice, and make everyone else have to use theirs if they want the credit for change. How often Black women are allowed to put themselves on the line and speak up for the mistreatment of women because we have experience speaking up for mistreatment because we are Black… with no support on the front lines. Then in the mess hall everybody wants to big up you for saying what needed to be said. Nope! Speak for you until White women, Asian women, other women of color join you as an ally. Talk in the office instead of in the conference room. Don’t kneel for anyone who wouldn’t even stand up for you! Take fierce ownership of your intellectual property.

Michelle Obama is a national treasure. Melania Trump is the President’s wife. We ain’t all the same. Some of us make history, others of us just want so badly to be great again. Some of us are Lucy, and ain’t nobody fucking with our clique!

“Picture yourself on a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with the kaleidoscope eyes… Lucy in the sky with diamonds”
-The Beatles

That Hotep Over There

So I preface this with… if you don’t do any of these things, this IS NOT about you. But be clear, I speak for more than just myself. Trust and believe I do. And what will not happen on my watch is that Black women’s experiences will be negated or silenced because you read about your raggedy self, you take offense, and in the name of Black solidarity or Black love you dare try to bully us out of our opinion. It won’t work. We are sick of the self righteous and sanctimonious Black dudes who think it’s their place to put us in our place, but simultaneously preach Black love and solidarity. The hoteps are amongst us. But you can’t have it both ways.

If, however, you want to learn, grow, be better, or just understand us with more clarity… carry on.

I’m a believer that often people can better see through example, they can place themselves in the proverbial shoes of the actor to see the error of their ways. Let’s go with that.

So Black women are notoriously and consistently going to bat for Black men… and many times we get the short end of the support stick in return. We aren’t built up in the way we lay down our loyalty, lives, name, and livelihood for Black men, brick by brick. We sing their praises. We keep ten toes down to fight for and with them. We say their names louder and with more fight in our breath than we hear the names of our fallen sisters. Black Lives Matter, founded by three Black women, is often used in exclusion of the Black women who have been soldiers in the front lines. We can’t continue to love Black men unconditionally when we can’t even feel a portion of empathy or compassion back. We can’t continue to break our backs carrying the stronger of us upon it… we aren’t your mule.

So here are our demands.

1. Dead the Patriarchy

So Cardi B and Megan The Stallion were the talk of the Town of Internet, USA when they released WAP. And while White conservatives blamed their absent fathers… tell that to Megan The Stallion’s very present father… there were Black men, some that I know personally, actually questioning a Black woman’s right to be respected and simultaneously discussing or rapping about her own body parts and their fabulousness.

Similarly, Cee Lo Green stayed in an interview with Far Out magazine, “Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, they are all more or less doing similar salacious gesturing to kinda get into position. I get it, the independent woman and being in control, the divine femininity and sexual expression. I get it all. It comes at what cost?” This the same guy who rapped, “I’d have my way with what’s left of the will of her. Cosmopolitans, and cocaine, and an occasional pill in her.” So it’s okay for him to rap about taking control of a woman and her parts under the influence, old Bill Cosby ass lyrics, but not okay for a woman to talk about her own parts of her own free, and sober, will? GTFOH.

So understand, patriarchy like country clubs was not meant for y’all. You weren’t included in the planning meetings. They don’t want you there… but they want women there even less. White men despise White women. Sexism has always been more universally pervasive than racism. The same way he controlled and commanded slaves, he controlled and commanded his own wife. He doesn’t want her there, just in his bedroom. But your Black ass ain’t wanted either… and when he sees you coming, he wants to channel Deborah Cox…”HOW! DID! YOU! GET HERE!” So stop.

You got to vote, legally and on paper anyway, before women were even imagined worthy… including White women. You! But be clear, both of us were sitting at home a long time, together, on Election Day! You weren’t included, and there are a lot of alt-Rights, skinheads, KKK members who still are determined to put us both back in chains, together. So act like you know.

You say you have reclaimed the word nigga well we are reclaiming our sexuality…. that they told us either didn’t exist or was too pervasive for our own good. But guess who couldn’t stay out of the WAP… BOFAYALL! They took it and it was given to you out of love and affection and desire… but you bought into that weaker sex bullshit and thought you owned us and the coochie. We own it. Understand. And we know ya’ll want it more than air and water. But you got a choice to make. You wanna get in here or the country club!? Your choice. But keep talking all that nonsense and you’ll be locked out of both.

We deserve respect PERIOD, to own and control our own sexuality by our own terms, and to be treated like human beings. You can dead that patriarchal judgement, because we might welcome you back , the patriarchy never let you in to begin with.

2. Do unto Us as we Do unto You

Every single one of my friends has been duped, ensnared, mistreated, or otherwise wronged by a Black man at some point in their lives… daddy, uncle, cousin, husband, boyfriend, whoever. Yet, yet, AND YET… we might bring a few pieces of luggage, but we chose you again…not HIM personally, but YOU as a collective. Very few Black women I know only date exclusively non-Black men… very very few. So if we can choose you as an independent person, often in the face of uncertainty, surely you can do the same.

Case in point, article after article negated Kamala Harris’s record as a district attorney and Attorney General. So when she was named Joe Biden’s running mate she was met with great vitriol about her record against “Black men” by Black men. Y’all got your info from articles written by the uninformed and biased. She couldn’t even get the benefit of the doubt, she was just guilty. But based on WRONG information. So take, for example, the article by Blake Simons of the Hella Black Podcast on AfroPunk, “Kamala Harris has been Tough in Black people, not Crime.” In it he references her failure to legalize marijuana, citing the high incarceration rate of Black people for marijuana related crimes. In reality while she did prosecute many marijuana related cases, which was her JOB, she rarely sought convictions for low level possession or jail time for any marijuana related convictions. These are the facts. His are the claims made by White conservative media that he latched into. Is she as a Black woman not worthy of your responsibility to independent research? He also claims she advocated for the death penalty in the case of Kevin Cooper and rejected his DNA evidence. Again, not true. There is no case where Kamala Harris can be shown to have advocated for the death penalty. The rejection of the DNA evidence was done by her office, as there are many prosecutors who work there, not her personally. And that rejection was not based on supporting his conviction, but because on appeal he had failed to bring up the evidence in a lower court… so the evidence was not admissible. If we are going to talk about it, let’s talk facts and not just regurgitate articles typically written by people that hate Black women… unless you too hate Black women. And if that is true, stop tryna get at us.

As a Black man with a platform, DO BETTER by Black women. Afropunk gets about 170,000 site visits a month, so it’s safe to say this article was likely read by thousands of people. It’s a website specifically geared towards telling the stories of and changing the narrative of Black people. So to use this forum to sabotage and spread falsehoods about a Black woman is heinous and irresponsible. And WE DON’T DO THAT TO YOU. Yes, Black women demand your respect and hold you accountable for your shit. Yep. Yes, Black women call out predatory Black men, famous or not, because they have abused and mistreated us and women. Yep, and we will continue to. Even then, many of us still stand by you. Black women defended Bill Cosby until he couldn’t be defended anymore. That was by his doing not ours. But that level of honesty should not beget blatant lies. We hold y’all up. Hold us up.

3. Be DEDICATED to Seeing Us Win

So example number three is on some straight Judas shit! Don’t bite me and call it a kiss.

So Master P’s brother Corey Miller (C-Murder) was convicted of second degree murder of a teen at a club in 2009. In true Kardashian fashion, Kim K tweeted that she was joining forces with R&B singer and Miller’s ex, Monica, to help free him from prison. She’s been credited with getting Cyntoia Brown and Alice Johnson freed from life sentences in prison. Sideye number one.

I saw a plethora of brother’s big upping her like she was really doing anything more than self promotion to get her law degree without going to law school, buying her way into the California state bar. The truth is the real WORK being done is by a team of Black women lawyers, Brittany Barnett, MiAngel Cody, and Topeka Sam, who have been dedicated to prison reform for years. While I do give credit to Kim K for helping these Black people pay for these lawyers and other legal fees, let’s not crown her as some prison reform activist. She is not. Credit belongs not to the figurehead but the people responsible for doing the real work, hidden from view, and not getting the credit they deserve. Her big ass, Black husband, and families’ medley of biracial kids by Black wealthy and talented men don’t make her down. She’d swallow the devil whole to be down. She’s a culture vulture… taking advantage and appropriating of the work, style, vernacular, and culture of Black people without paying us due homage and appreciation. Bantu knots and cornrows don’t make her honorary. She doesn’t really want this life… she wants the grillz but not the ills.

So don’t do that. Don’t Stan for her like she’s single handedly gonna get Corey Miller out of jail, like she single handedly did for Cyntoia Brown and Alice Johnson. Sideeye number two. She didn’t spin the gold, we did. Black women. If you must do that, then don’t expect us to be your loyal sidekick. Cuz we ain’t Robin, we are Wonder Women, the Dora Milaje, Catwoman, Storm, the Powderpuff Girls too… we superheroes out here saving lives and souls. We choose you, but we don’t need you if you aren’t gonna ride for and acknowledge us as the magical beings that we are. And we most certainly won’t be pushed aside for you to worship at the alter of lopsided ass and cultural exploitation without giving us our due.

So give us our due. EVERY TIME dammit!!!!!! Cuz we ride for you til the wheels fall off.

4. Fix Yourself

I shouldn’t have to suffer through your uncertainty, inconsistency, infidelity, abuse, or mistreatment, lack of personal responsibility, or misplaced self righteousness because I’m available. Drop that off at the therapists, cuz I don’t want it. Sure, I’m willing to help you across some reasonable crossroads, but I’m not bearing your cross. It’s not mine to carry… I’ve had to carry my own.

I’m not gonna be the Ciara to your Future, cuz I know Russell is out there. I won’t tolerate the immature playboy Jay-Z, I’m gonna call you out and demand the grown up Shaun Carter. I am not interested in inundating your unhealthy Richard Pryor foolishness into my Pam Grier goddess body. I also an not interested in your so woke you asleep Dr. Umar Johnson, Sheharazad Ali ‘How to control Black women for the culture’ bullshit. I shouldn’t have to suffer first to get some promise of the best of you later. Be your best self in that moment, the moment you walk up to me… or keep walking past me. I’m not interested. Your raggedy attempts at love are not welcomed. Bring me what I’m worth… the first time. I’ll ride, but I’m not dying… you should come with automatic seatbelts so I’m safe the minute I sit down. That’s it. That’s all.

I’m not your project or your savior. I can’t be bullied into Kente clothed submission or abused into Stockholm Syndrome. I deserve a good man ready to love me properly and completely, consistently and without limits from the very beginning. The idea that I must be tweaked to your specifications or tested to see how much I can take in the name of love is some psychotic thriller type script that Black women are disinterested in. If she does accept that and seem to like it, be careful, she’s likely not well either. Y’all should both seek counseling. But in general, we have come too far to be willing to put up with your toxic masculinity dressed up as a concerned and loving mate. Come correct or not at all!

Again, if this doesn’t apply to you, it’s just information. But if it does, do better! And when you open your mouth to speak on or to Black women, do so with our due respect. You understand? Otherwise, be ready to get exposed, cuz the cat most definitely got your tongue and she’s exposing all oppression… all of it!

Be Culturally Appropriate

Sooooooooooooooooo… we are gonna have a great Christmas free of foolishness. But before we do, there was this.

And I have opinions.

What in all the Dorothy, Diahann, Diana, and Eartha is this fuckery. She is darker than me, and both my parents are Afros and Black Panther Party Black. This is a public service announcement to White Women everywhere, in the Americas and beyond…

NOPE!

You cannot have my beauty without my ashes.
You cannot have my pleasure without my pain.
You cannot have my hip without my hop.
You cannot have my rhythm without my blues.
You cannot have my triumph without my testimony.

There is so much to say. This is rooted in oppression… it’s rooted in disrespect and dismissal of all that we are.

I (the universal Black woman) have been told that you are the epitome of aesthetic beauty. Thin features, thin body, long straight hair, light skin, light colored eyes. So much so that your beauty idols were used to portray our historical idols. Cleopatra.

We were only considered beautiful if we resembled you in some way… despite your attempts to look like us.

Tans. Melanin.
Lip plumpers. Full lips.
Teased hair. Crowns of curls.
Corsets. Natural curves.

Yet, our heads filled with the message that we paled in comparison. So we cut our Jackson Five nostrils in half. Starved our curvy bodies slim. Straightened our locks. Lightened anything we could. Our blond hair a choice perhaps because we like it or maybe to look more like you. And even if it’s in some attempt to look more like you, it’s not in mimicry but in a traumatic search for aesthetic acceptance. That pain is deeper than any you will ever understand. But trust, it’s not in an effort to appropriate your culture. My blond hair is not in absence of understanding that lil Timmy calling you a bitch in Target is heinous or Weinstein using his power over your success to bed you simply because you are female is rapey bullshit. We’d gladly volunteer to beat either of their asses for you. But trust anything we might do to model you is in complete presence of our own trauma.

You want no part of our trauma… to understand it, consider it, or better yet to stand in protest of it. But you want to steal our image as your own. An image we fought to find and recognize beauty and power in. You can’t borrow it. It’s not for sale. Your boxer braids are cornrows. Africa… not Bo Derek. Your mini buns are Bantu knots. Bantu tribe … not Khloe Kardashian. Your hair clips are Bobby pins. Doobie wraps not whatever the fuck you call it. Your white Cleopatra is an African Queen. Egyptian… not Elizabeth Taylor, Claudette Colbert, or Vivian Leigh.

So stop it. Tell your friends. It’s not honorable… it’s disrespectful. Fenty 340 is not your color.., so don’t come outta makeup looking like your parents might be named Tyrone and Mercedes. Kanye, Travis Scott, or whatever Black football or basketball players you have Black children by can’t make it ok.

Be culturally appropriate!

This ends the PSA… be well!

Queen me Slim

(Spoilers)

Listen…I saw Queen & Slim last night, and it was first and foremost cinematic excellence.

“Why Black people always have to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves”

Well… sometimes who you are is just fucking excellent, and Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas are that. This movie was black on black, and it spoke on love, brutality on Black bodies, freedom, and protest. It was in so many ways #BlackLivesMatter on film. It was also so much more. I found myself paying attention to things I don’t normally think I would have. It made me feel things I didn’t expect to. Let’s get into it.

1. Black Skin

This movie moved around melanin.

The cinematography highlighted it. The colors that surrounded it seemed to make it look smoother, richer, and more beautiful. The bodies of the title characters intertwined on the side of the road, was like watching chocolate stirring. The scene at the jazz club, appropriately called The Underground, was a sea of Black skin, darkest mahogany to cafe au lait, moving in syncopation with the heavy blues music. Uncle Earl’s “girls” moved about in lace and natural hair, bodies thick to thin, and skin glistening. It was a huepalooza! Everything seems to move around it. Everything.

2. Black Freedom

What starts as a blind date, ends up as a freedom story. The couple moves from Cleveland to Florida, trying to escape to Cuba and avoid certain death for killing a police officer in self-defense. It’s a typical traffic stop turns fatal, but this time the usual victim turns the gun on the clearly racist cop. Somehow in this struggle they find strength and freedom.

As they move through the country, they are celebrated and protected by other Black people along the way. It’s not a celebration of their killing the officer so much as a celebration of their remaining alive. A vindication of sorts for the Black folks they encounter who have grieved for Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Willie McCoy, and countless others. It’s also a celebration of the Black network. The Uncle Earl’s along the way that often help all of us when we are in precarious positions, to find our way out. The various people they meet along the way that cry for them after they perish. I am my brother’s keeper.

Most importantly, they find themselves. The uptight and loner lawyer is able to heal from her past and embrace sharing her most personal and intimate spaces with her cohort.

 “I want a guy to show me myself. I want him to love me so deeply, I’m not afraid to show him how ugly I can be.

They fall in love as she is healed and he is able to be his true self, telling her about his wants, fears, shortcomings.

“I ain’t going to bend the world. As long as my lady remembers me fondly, that’s all I need.

To be able to love and be vulnerable is the greatest freedom. It’s a love story sure, but much more a freedom story.

3. Black Culture

Music

jazz, hip hop, blues, gospel

Clothes

snake skin boots, jogging suits, jewel tones, gold, animal print, Gucci, lace, sexy, all white

A major big up to Shiona Turini as costume designer. That fur Bokeem Woodbine wore to the funeral was some of the dopest shit I’ve seen in a movie in a long time, fashion wise. And that Dapper Dan jogging suit was major. Way to focus on Black fashion!

Ancestry

Langston (as in Hughes) the Black cop who let them go ; The Underground (as in Railroad) club and the bartender like a Southern Harriet Tubman “you’re safe here” and the reverse fugitive slave narrative (North to South); and Assata Shakur’s escape to Cuba after escaping from prison for her part in a shootout that left a white cop dead.

Being Black in America. After shooting a cop in self-defense, they become the criminals simply because they are Black and the cop was White. They are hunted, labeled armed and dangerous when they don’t even have a weapon, and killed, her by a overzealous female cop and him execution style, holding her lifeless body, unarmed, and clearly not dangerous. We don’t ever hear their names until the end… Angela and Ernest. The news clip is the same victim as criminal shit we heard after pictures of Trayvon Martin putting up the middle finger and Michael Brown possibly robbing a party store were used to lessen the severity of their murders. We are assumed criminals by birthright in America. We are born into the bondage of racism.

4. Black women

I watched Angela Johnson go from a judgey, I’m smarter than you stoic figure dressed in all white with her middle parted braids to a flirty, sexy, fun woman in a short dress, short hair, and open and vulnerable disposition. She was every woman. She was me. She was my sistafriends. She was strong and afraid. She was in control and able and willing to relinquish it. When they both knew their lives were over, she looks to him and says “Can I be your legacy” … the ultimate ride or die. And while most of us aren’t willing to pledge death, we will die for what we believe in. And she believed in Ernest. Black women are all these things. We were represented well.

“He is nothing out there, but in here he’s a King!”

A Queen is indeed her King’s legacy!

Queen & Slim was an excellent film. It was a full circle film, where everything made sense. At one point Ernest attempts to assure Angela telling her that they are safe because the person they encountered was Black, and she remarks “that’s not always a good thing” under her breath. The movie, which rides the music in the film in perfect rhythm, reaches a crescendo and her comment rings true when that Goodie Mob meets Hootie Hoo snitch ass negro feigns helping them to turn them in. Ole sucka MC ass! Sorry… he made me feel a way! A testament to good acting. Did I mention that Bokeem Woodbine was awesome…

These characters, these actors, the fimmakers… they are Black excellence. They don’t have to try, they can’t help it, they just are.

I deserve this, bye

Y’all know how I do… I applaud all dope girl shit, and don’t be Black too… cuz how does the saying go …

Speaking of Issa Rae…

Her speech at the Women in Film Awards was the stuff all dope girl shit is made of. It was witty, clever, creative, real, and absolutely awesome af. Sis said…” we are conditioned socially to be humble…and I grew up in the age of hip hop…. none of my favorite artists are humble, they don’t even know what that means…” She went on to give a hip hop inspired braggadocious speech about being the first to win the Entreprenuer award saying…”I’m the first so you future hoes need to bow down unless you wanna catch my fade, wit yo week ass!”

I was all 😂🤣, then all 🤷🏽‍♀️, then all ✊🏽! Listen here.

It was the epitome of litty!

But let’s be real, any woman who grew up in the 80s and early 90s and listened to LL, Big Daddy Kane, Special Ed, Snoop, Nas, Jay-Z, and Big L really can’t be faded. We excel then prevail. We was nice before ice. We could sell water to a well. Walking with a switch, talking with street slang. It ain’t hard to tell. We break em and bake em and rake em and take em and mold em and make em.  We will not lose, ever. We… are the magnificent.

That’s right, we are unapologetic about our shine in 20-1-9. It’s one of the most rewarding results of the impact of hip hop on the culture. It gave us permission to let a nigga know we the bomb, and… you can MOST CERTAINLY catch this fade.

So to all those that say be humble, we say…

…sit down!

That’s right, cop a squat, get comfortable, and if any of this confuses you… Lemme learn ya.

………..

This. IS. a public service announcement:

In 2015-2016 64% of all bachelor degrees awarded to Black students were earned by women. In that same year, 9.7% of Black women were enrolled in various college programs, higher than any other race or gender. (National Center for Education Statistics) We smart out in these streets.

From 1997-2013 companies started by Black women increased 258% and had revenue of $44.9 billion dollars. (Blackdemographics.com). We securing bags out in these streets.

In 2019 we have 22 Black women serving in Congress, out of only 42 in history, with Shirley Chisholm being the first elected Black female US Representative in 1969, and Carol MoseleyBraun serving as the first Senator in 1989. Today we got Auntie Maxine reminding us our time is valuable; Ayanna Pressley giving these white boys hell and hella sideeye; Ilhan Omar representing the culture and the struggle; and Jahana Hayes showing that teachers, perhaps the most important career professional, needs a seat at the table to represent the needs of our future. Too.much…sauce.

But it’s some hoes in this house, so…

We still make considerably less than any of our White or male counterparts, making 64 cents to a White man’s dollar. In the venture capitalist world, we get very little investment support for our ventures, making up only about three percent of investment dollars spent in 2016. There is currently only one Black woman that runs a Fortune 500 company, Mary Winston as as interim CEO of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, out of the 33 women in total. We own ZERO Fortune 500 companies. Even in the federal government, though Black women make up about 11% of the workforce, we are grossly underrepresented in the higher paying GS levels and SES level jobs. (opm.gov)

Our positioning is just one thing. We are forced to navigate issues of race and gender that others simply don’t have to consider. We are simply left out of the dominant cultures conversations and decision-making. We often have to find sponsors, particularly of color -which is challenging in itself, to help us get special projects, interviews, promotions. We are forced to code-switch as Black vernacular, style, and values, while copied by the majority, are not valued coming from us. If I hear blah blah blah “gurlfren”, or such and so’s “babee daddee” with some feigned attempt at colloquialism by my privileged co-workers, one more time, I might let out a tribal scream! We butt heads with Black men attempting to play a game of patriarchy they were never included in, with White women, whose feminism we simply don’t fit into, and even other Black women who have bought into the dim your light strategy. But yet…In the words of Antwon Fischer…”You couldn’t break me. I’m still standing. I’m still here!”

We figure that shit out, because we have no other choices. It may take us longer to break those ceilings, but when we get close we breaking holes in high definition, loud and clear! Many of us leave corporate America, with its racist and sexist ways, lack of diversity or inclusion, and failure to implement real family friendly policies, to bet on ourselves, bet on each other, invest in each other. We are designing furniture and sneakers. Moving from online Instagram boutiques to brick and mortar stores. Opening restaurants, and selling our cosmetic, food, and clothing lines in major retail stores.

We find ourselves growing apart from or just having to drop off those dim your light sistas and patriarchal brothas. So often we have to build our own supergroups. We epitomize the hip hop crew philosophy, get you a clique of like minded individuals with one goal… success. Like the Zulu Nation, Native Tongues, and BDP to our hip hop juggernauts Death Row, Bad Boy, and No Limit, Black women have created and crafted groups of like minded sistas, personally and socially and professionally, in everything from entrepreneurship to tech to fashion and even health, media, and motherhood. The bonds we form, help us find the tools, opportunities, and assistance we need to move forward and progress.

“We can’t stop now b*tch. We can’t stop. You can’t stop us, so b*tch don’t try.”

So while there has been a lot of hateration in our dancery… our sistafriends are also apart of our crew. They “gon pull me up… never let me drown” and make sure I’m mentally healthy enough to be the boss I was born to be. Sometimes they are both our personal and professional support. Other times, they just hold us down by ordering mimosas, sending a care package, listening to a rant, or doing choreography on a balcony… whatever works!

And when we win, because we will win… they win! When we eat, they eat. And when they call our name, we taking everybody on stage, the whole crew, Ty-Ty, Jungle, and all ’em. “What about your friends”… they better than yours that’s what! “…they pray and pray for me. See better things for me. Want better days for me unselfishly

So as you can see… Black women are legit. We overcome. We support. We defy the odds. We succeed in spite of. We won’t stop. We WANW. And we have to let folks know from time to time: I deserve this, bye!

Makidada

Weezie & Helen

Florida & Wilona

Pam & Gina

Whitley & Kim

Joan & Toni

Cleo & Stoney

Taystee & Poussey… (real tears)

Suzy Skrew & Sascha Thumper (thots need friends too)

Issa & Molly

Celie & Nettie

We don’t need “Thelma & Louise” we got our own Black Girl Besties in History to choose from. Don’t underestimate the real life need for a Black Girl Bestie. She is like your very own superhero. I call mine boonapolis, that’s Greek for she’s mine (not really, but go with it). Every so often she just unties my cape, puts it on over hers and scoops me cuz I’m out here tired, sleepwalking, had too much tequila (ok that’s usually her), being wild, or just need to be Robin for a little while. So she does her whole Batwoman thing… slaying and what not. Lemme explain…

Basically, it’s hard out here for a pimp…

and by pimp I mean “Phenomenon in Melanated Pulchritude” (you’re welcome and yes you can use it…)

… and we need some support. A group of like minded sistas is very important, but that one you can depend on, the keeper of your secrets, the holder of your most deep truths, the one that keeps their “dressed in all Black like the omen” outfit in a duffle in the trunk, always ready to knuck if they buck…she is very necessary. And when people say one name… the other usually follows.

👏🏽You and me, us never part 👏🏽

In a world that diminishes us no matter how much they mimic us, she is like your shadow, the only one that really understands. She knows your number; she remembers the ones you no longer claim. She completes your thoughts; she knows what you are thinking. Y’all got inside jokes and code words. She will call your ass ALL the way out, and everyone else knows only she can do that. Likewise you call her on her shit, because every partner in crime needs an equal partner. You help bury her dead bodies, she’s got a shovel in the trunk too. You know how we do.

Most importantly, she knows your heart. While you are code switching in your intersections all damn day, you can send her bat signal and she’s ready!

If you are sensitive, she guards you like Fort Knox. If you are sarcastic, she enjoys your banter. When you suffer from uncertainty she adjusts your crown and reminds you that you are royalty. When your heart is broken she reminds you of how awesome your heart is when it’s healed and whole, and waits until you are okay to remind you that she said he was trash. She gives you a safe space to talk about your passions, face your fears, and be your authentic self.

👏🏽You and me, us have one heart👏🏽

Likewise, you pick up the phone in the middle of the night because she knows you like sleep… so something is up. You let her know her fave movie is on, and and pray for her because some things only God can do… limitations and what not. She is your person and you let her know by being a constant and continuous support. By cheering the loudest when she wins, and being there to help her up when she has a loss. Bottom line, when one is falling, the other one has the parachute…

You see, your best girlfriend will say shit that makes you think… mind blown! They will give you advice tailored just for you, because they know you so well and they can relate. They are like your life partner with the same PMS, love of mimosas, and attraction to men with strong backs. She will be uncomfortable for you. She will be dependable and loyal to you… even if she doesn’t give other folks that same energy.

👏🏽Ain’t no ocean, ain’t no sea👏🏽Keep my sista way from me 👏🏽

For Black women, our bestie is much more like a sister. We go in the refrigerator and might go find a place to take a nap. We just show up at family dinner… cuz we are family. Her mom and dad like our own. The kids think we are really related. Blood couldn’t make us any closer. Now maybe you are lucky enough to have two or three… but most of us are too flawed and complicated to have more than one Nettie to our Celie. Someone who will hold on to our collective promise to be by one another’s side. Our best friend. Our greatest confidante. So, we stay on sideeye… she all we got!