Own your influence

I watched the Joe Budden interview with Nicki Minaj… and besides his split seam skinny jeans and her having her purse on her chair on set … I was super impressed with Nicki and Joe. Joe is an interesting character, I’ll stop there. Nicki… I haven’t rocked with her since the “Monster” era…

“Okay, first things first I’ll eat your brains
Then I’ma start rockin’ gold teeth and fangs
‘Cause that’s what a motherfuckin’ monster do”

But she schooled a generation in this interview…

OWN your INFLUENCE

She talked about starting the trend in “pink hair, thick ass” for female rappers and middle part dark hair that has come to be known in this time as “Kardashian” hair. Not that she invented those trends, but that she was the muse behind their resurrection in style. Her points were solid & salient!

But it did bother me a bit, she failed to give Kimberly Jones her due… like all of it… I mean …

But more importantly, it got me to thinking about a really solid statement she made… that when we, especially Black women fail to acknowledge and broadcast our influence we make it easy for people to attribute our style and beauty to White influence that is really just a mimic of us. It happens all the time. “Boxer braids”, the idea that wearing one side of your overalls undone didn’t come from Black folks in the 80s, the sneaker trend, stiletto nails, logo prints on clothes-helloooooo Dapper Dan… I could go on.

But unfortunately, very often when we do speak up and voice our influence even other Black people see us as cocky, narcissistic, and conceited. The number of times Soulja Boy has SHOWED us that he invented many of the popular trends in hip hop, yet he’s taken as a joke until he proves it… wild. For women it’s that much worse. Lil Kim is singlehandedly responsible for making very high end designer houses popular in hip hop and then in pop culture. But she never gets her props. I mean… again…

So it’s time we start… and not just in fashion… because most of us don’t reign there… but… in our everyday lives to own and not license out our influence for pennies. We can only get what we are due if we don’t allow our value to be stepped on so much it’s rendered invaluable… gotta sell the product while the buzz is still powerful.

So if you are championing breastfeeding in the Black community unlike anyone else before you; you are the youngest Black female engineer in a city, state, county; you were the first of your kind in a setting that used your knowledge and example to grow and change; you are a certified FIRST, breaking glass, plaster, and drywall ceilings and walls; or maybe your influence and presence forever changed a thing… anything… speak on it. Let anyone trying to take credit for it today know you started it yesterday. Then when they circle back, tryna get some more of that thing you do effortlessly, charge double. What did Fat Joe say… “Yesterday’s price is not today’s price!” You want this excellence, FYPE!

And when the White girl at Nordstroms admires your manicure and says… you have those nails like the Kardashians… let her know… Nope, I got nails like Queen Nenzima!

Then… “put your number twos in the air if you did it on ‘em!” –Did It On ‘Em, Nicki Minaj

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

So we have talked about the feces in the dating pool right… well BABY, it’s dead bodies too. I met one at a bar last night.

So a little background… I have had a boyfriend or husband consistently since high school. When my last relationship ended, I got very clear on what I could no longer tolerate, no matter how much love was bring professed. But I also didn’t want to get comfortable in my FTN energy… so I said, hey, let’s meet folks. Ya’ll call it dating… but again we know how much muck that is, so I considered it just what it was, dinner, coffee, a FT chat session. Not dating, because I’m not giving you multiple times to show me you are trash. You get one time. If it’s an off day, well prepare better, take a rain check, aim to be great daily, but I’m only giving limited time because all I have is limited time. I’m trying to get a whole PhD, you think I have time for your games. Nope.

“Only this, and nothing more”

So, I meet a guy. Tall, nice-looking, entrepreneur, good conversation, seems decent. We Facetime chat, he’s got a cute dog, I’m like ok seems at least mildly promising. Good Vibes. So, he asks me out, I say ok. Dinner planned for this evening. But yesterday he calls, asks have I eaten, I say no, and he says well I’m starving and I’d love your company. Spontaneous is cool. So we meet at a bar. That’s where the good part of the story ends.

“This is it and nothing more”

I get there on time, he calls says he’s running a little late but near and on his way. Strike One. Be on time to some shit you asked me to.

He walks in, we greet each other, he sits down and says I smell good and “clean”…

Strike Two… I instantly smelled Black Love perfume oil, fake wax print ink, and incense… there was none, but I smelled it.

So, I have a drink and shrimp tacos, because you are late. It’s a work night. So he orders food, tells the waitress he’s hungry. There are two waitresses, they both ask him if he wants anything to drink. He says no. He orders a burger. Who eats a burger with nothing to drink. So while waiting for his food, he sees me look up at the tv at a basketball game. He says, oh yeah you like sports. I said yes, I do. He says… sports are barbaric. Just let that marinate. Sports are barbaric. It was basketball ya’ll… not cage fighting or lion taming or Russell Crow screaming “are you not entertained…” It was college basketball yo. Sigh. Strike Three.

I knew then this would be our only time seeing each other… because something in the milk ain’t clean… and clearly it’s not me because recall… I smell clean.

Ok so his burger comes. He examines it and then says to the waitress, I smell pork. I look at her, she is looking at me like WITEF. She says, yes it has bacon jam on it. He pushes it away and says, give it to someone else, I’ll pay for it, but I don’t eat pork. He continues, I don’t eat anything unclean or hoofed, (looks at my shrimp taco) or shellfish. The waitress says well you are hungry so do you want the burger remade with no bacon jam. He says, I’m not hungry. Uhhhhhh that was the whole premise upon which you asked me here. He looks at me and says…

We can just go somewhere better tomorrow. TOMORROW?!?!? Nope. All the nopes in Nopelandia!

So, I just drank my drink, ate my tacos, and talked to the waitress. It was her second day. I planned to give her a nice tip. We chopped it up about sneaker releases. Cuz this nigga is nuts.

“Perched, and sat, and nothing more.”

So, after much prodding by the waitress to fix his order, get him a drink, whatever, HE got annoyed. He asks for the bill. He looks at it. He takes out a $20 bill and says, are you ready? (I laughed… what is the $20 for? A tip? You trying half dine and dash…) I said no, but have a good night. Oh you are staying, he says. Yep! He then slides the bill and $20 to me. He starts putting on his coat… I give the $20 to the waitress and pay the bill. The bill for the outing he asked me to leave my house to come to. She takes his food off the bill. I could have eaten leftover meatloaf and watched Snowfall… this shit was a waste. I’m leaving out alot… but isn’t this enough?!?!?!

Two guys at the end of the bar move down towards me… one says, yeah I knew when light skin came in he was uncomfortable and odd. The other says, we work here, so we see this all the time. These guys are socially awkward, so alone or on the phone it’s all good, but in person, they are weird. He probably plays video games all day. So I share the barbaric and clean/unclean dialogue. They were both like oooooooohhhhhhhhhhh…. He just extra lightskinned, he is trying hotep his way to blackness instead of just being. LPS. We talked a few minutes more… and I wished them all a good night.

No hoteps for the kid. I an anti-hotep. And I like my dudes a lil dirty… some meat from a hoofed animal and a lil bourbon sounds like a sexy time to me. Even if you are vegan, vegetarian, you don’t talk about unclean animals. Are those shoes leather my guy? FOH! Basically, dude had the appeal of roadkill. And you cheap? My girls be trying to get the bill before I do, let alone the men I know. I barely know what my wallet looks like unless I’m alone. I haven’t paid for a date I was invited to, EVER. I never will again. Yeah naw. Dating is dumb. God will provide. I’m gonna just chill, do this keto, get this PhD, and stay outta sucka shit.

To “quoth the raven.., “Nevermore!”

All quotes taken from The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

We don’t talk about Peri

There are a lot of things Black folks don’t talk about… Nana’s full mustache, Uncle James and Uncle Charlie are not just roommates, Cousin Tanya’s drug habit, that baby don’t look like Ray, and menopause. Your mother & grandmother either hid it, described it only as hot flashes, or they had complete hysterectomies and never experienced it. Whatever the case… we gotta talk about it. Specially peri menopause, cuz it’s that joker right there that is not for the weak.

So let’s get into it!

Peri menopause is the transition into menopause, which is the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is during this time estrogen levels rise and fall and cause a myriad of symptoms that basically feel like everything from your hair to your feet is on that bullshit! An internet search led me to a few lists of symptoms: irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, incontinence, bone fragility (1), more severe PMS, hair loss, weight gain, inflammation, headaches, back pain, forgetfulness, loss of libido, inability to concentrate (2), shortness of breath, heartburn, loss of appetite, depression/anxiety, vision issues, bloating, skin breakouts or dryness (3). And just personal one’s I’ve noticed… cold feet, spatial confusion, and tastebud changes. It typically starts in a woman’s 40s, but may start in her 30s, and can last anywhere from a few months to over a decade. (4) Not talking about peri is no bueno!

It makes no sense that women have to get surprised by this very normal and natural phenomenon. It’s not just hot flashes and your cycle ending… it is a whole fucking life change that women need to be prepared for, especially Black women. We know that Black women often face disparate treatment in healthcare settings because doctors don’t understand or have compassion for our unique health concerns, not enough medical research is done into the health realities of Black women, healthcare access is limited in poor and urban communities, and health education is lacking across the board for and regarding Black women’s bodies. When you add our reproductive health into the fold… we need to talk about Peri! She is a whole beast wrecking unnecessary havoc out here…

Our hormones are tied to damn near every physical process in our bodies. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency,

The endocrine system, made up of all the body’s different hormones, regulates all biological processes in the body from conception through adulthood and into old age, including the development of the brain and nervous system, the growth and function of the reproductive system, as well as the metabolism and blood sugar levels. The female ovaries, male testes, and pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands are major constituents of the endocrine system. (5)

Women with hormonal ebbs and flows are a whole environmental concern lolol! Why? Cuz we are literally a whole emotional system out in these streets, suffering from physical changes that mimic everything from mental illness to going blind. She is not to be fucked with. She might bite you. She is savage af, and she is probably sleepy and hungry simultaneously. She can wake up completely happy,

and in a matter of moments cycle through every emotion from confusion (about people, places, things, everything),

irritation,

uncertainty,

disinterest and lack of desire… to do anything,

upset,

choosing violence,

choosing calm & scary violence, or

scaring her damn self.

But whatever it is, she need to be adequately prepared to face it. And ladies, we have been thrown into the pits of hormonal chaos without a life preserver all because we don’t talk about Peri.

So if this sounds like you, if you read this and feel seen, talk about Peri… ask your sista friends, talk to your doctor, find another doctor if the one you have doesn’t listen and tells you that you are imagining these very real symptoms, and peruse social media. Women aren’t being silent… we gon talk about Peri’s raggedy ass!

Check out @kari_wright on Tik Tok… life changing!

******************

(1) mayoclinic.com (2021) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666

(2) Cherney, K. (2020). Healthline.com https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/difference-perimenopause#symptoms-of-perimenopause-and-menopause.

(3) Sharkey, L. (2021). https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/i-have-weird-symptoms-with-perimenopause

(4) health.harvard.edu (2020). https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/perimenopause-rocky-road-to-menopause

(5). USEPA (2021). https://www.epa.gov/endocrine-disruption/what-endocrine-system

After she said, I do…

…she became a stone cold idiot if she believes that simply because a woman is in the presence of her husband, she wants him or she is interested in bringing her wild, Jezebel energy into their presence. She is also fooled into believing that she is protecting something by keeping women away from her man… does he work, get gas, go grocery shopping, get an oil change, play basketball, go to the gym… it’s plenty of women there he can fornicate with at his will, if that is in fact his will. But mostly, she has embraced the patriarchal idea that women are so purposefully enticing to men that men can’t control themselves and just naturally want to hump them and the misogynist idea that women, particularly single women, got hoe tendencies and a hoe spirit.

We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression… -James Baldwin

I think marriage is grand. I have been married. I am honest about marriage, from my perspective. Marriage does not make you smarter or more valuable or a better person just by virtue of being married. Now perhaps you do get smarter or better, great for you, and if you give all the glory to your marriage for that upgrade, then more power to you. But trust and believe, there are single women getting smarter and better every minute snd they are no more or less valuable. Being married does also not make you an expert in marriage. You are not the national marriage spokesperson. You are an expert on YOUR marriage. No one else’s marriage, relationship, or otherwise is your subject matter expertise. Relax.

So do you. But the minute you try to sacrifice or demean other women, particularly Black women, and I can hear you or read your words, I am going to express. Why? Because a) I can and b) I am fiercely protective of Black women. I won’t ever allow my station in life to allow me to believe I am better than my sisters. I may be doing better, and at that point I believe it’s my duty to share my success notes. That goes for success in relationships, finances, career, health, mental well-being, or if I got a bomb recipe. You cannot say you are interested in elevating people when you simultaneously live by and promote devaluing them.

The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. –Malcolm X

Beyond just the blatant divisive discourse, there is also this widely held notion that people who speak on marriage, who are not married, are out of order. That’s laughable. I have heard and read married women who think they can dictate what people in non-marital relationships call each other or how they structure their home. I constantly see people refer to women in long-term committed relationships as being doomed to the unnamed “special friend” label in a man’s death notice or being left financially unprotected. That has nothing to do with marital status and everything to do with a man respecting and protecting the woman he chose. That comes from some ideation that as a married woman you are automatically valued more because some man picked you to marry him. Newsflash… single women, divorced women, widows even likely have their fair share of choices in men and probably ain’t lacking in proposals either. But more importantly, you were once single yourself. What happened to your hoe spirit?

I’m willing to go the extra kilo-meter
Just to see my señorita get her pillow
On the side of my bed where no good ever stay
House and doctor was the games we used to play
But now it’s real Jazzy Belle
-Outkast

I personally don’t care WHAT you do in your house, but once you share that with the masses, especially if it’s full of negativity about other people, then be prepared for commentary. Nobody gives a damn what you do with that crusty foot negro you married, nobody wants him in real life but you, but no one has to be subjected to or accept your foolishness. If you buck, you give folks an opportunity to knuck.

So just keep all that stupid stuff you heard while getting your ears burnt by the pressing comb or from Mother Caldwell on the ursher board about the Jezebel spirit of Black women to yourself. Cuz if you think a woman’s mere presence is the reason your man will stray… you got a Not Smart spirit.

All My Life I had to Fight

Oh you know…

Mrs. Sophia is home now and there are about to be some truths told and some discussions had. Mrs. Sophia is the collective 40+ Black Woman who has lived a little life, turned a couple of heads, kissed a few toads, had to tell some wrinkled old ass White lady in the store that she is not her errand girl or handmaid and will not be cut off or disrespected, and had to get into someone’s actual ass, like a baby mole, because they fail to get the message… I AIN’T THE ONE!

Imma be all over the place this time, cuz this is an all over the place kind of conversation. But bear with me, because I guarantee you are gonna wanna shout, do a praise dance, sit in silence, and plan as my girl called it “a pajama and bonnet caper” all at the same time after you read some of these stories I’m about to tell you. So let’s jump in the deep water.

• • •

A girlfriend of mine sought my counsel (I’m kind and smart, but twice as ignorant and very liable to choose violence… in other words, very wise counsel) because her Black child’s predominately White school decided it was a good idea to take a trip to Monticello and Jamestown. Wait… one second. Monticello, the place where Thomas Jefferson owned 600 slaves that does tours of slave quarters. The same place he impregnated his slave, a woman he OWNED, who was not considered a WHOLE HUMAN, Sally Hemmings, with six children. A place where young Black girls were enslaved and raped. THAT place. And Jamestown, the site where Africans stolen from their land were sold to White plantation owners who enslaved these people in what turned out to be hundreds of years of violent servitude. We have primarily White teachers taking their White students and a handful of Black and Hispanic children on this trip down fucked up memory lane. You wanna beat them over the head with your privilege?

I have been to Monticello, now I hear that now they are much more forthright about Jefferson’s slaveowner history. But it’s been clear… the slave cabins are still standing. They talked more about his china service than the very real historical implications of this plantation. So my friend was concerned about how these teachers were prepared to have discussions about slavery in Monticello and Jamestown and asked such questions to the teachers and staff promoting the trip… and she was ready to scrap if the answer was wrong. Cuz this is often our lives. Taking responsibility for educating clueless White people on how their actions, choices, decisions have racial implications and moreover exposing to them how unprepared they are for the ricochet. Be clear its not always a contentious conversation, but we go into it ready to pounce. There are just some fights we shouldn’t have to continue to have… but yet ALL my life I had to fight.

• • •

Another friend of mine moved her family to take a position that promised upward mobility, greater responsibility, and support in meeting her professional goals. Not very long into her position, she realized that while she was extremely qualified for the role, they had hit the jackpot by hiring a qualified, Black, female for this job. So many tokens earned off the one hire. And like a company that lack diversity and inclusionary policies, she soon realized she had jumped in a chlorinated pool of White tears and privilege. But Black girls put on a swim cap and a one-shoulder ruffled one piece… and swim. So after being questioned by one of her colleagues to the point of harassment, she had to “per my last email”, “to reiterate” and “kind regards” her way to Human Resources. If “Get this bitch the fuck off of me QUICK” was a person….

Understand… I can get her off of me, but neither of you will like how I do it. This is a professional environment, and if you want to keep this Eames chair and Steelcase desk you paid a thousand dollars for from sailing through the hallway at her big ass head, I suggest you be the one to remind her of where we are. For many Black women in the corporate space, the expectation to keep quiet and tolerate discrimination and bias; being overlooked and underpaid; having folks think they can touch or comment on our braids, natural hair, or African wax print blouse, or for that matter any parts of ourselves, is still a power play. But we often out work these clowns and are more educated and experienced, and know we can take our talents elsewhere… so it’s in a company’s best interest to ensure it’s slow are made fast and those of limited intellect are made whole. I mean there is always the parking lot… cuz All MY life I had to fight.

And just so we are clear, this is not necessarily a White v. Black issue, but a Supremacy & Privilege v. Black issue. There are some real self-hating Black people who align with the discrimination and anti-Black tactics in the workplace (and out). One of my former co-workers was often commented upon by a jealous hating ass Black woman in a management position, about her body. Sis is thick like Luke dancers, and this woman would ask her about having work done, what undergarments she wore, why her body was shaped that way, and why her clothes fit like they did. “Why is your body so big and your stomach so flat?”

See… I can’t even put into words how magnificently I would have burrowed myself so deep in her ass she’d have been defacating dance videos, candy corn, J. Alexander crab cakes, and Jordans for three months. But alas when this same old miserable cow attempted this line of similar foolishness with me, I let her know all bets were off in your neighborhood Spartan store… and there was nothing but space and opportunity outside the company gates. I was prepared to make her pay for all the Africans who sold slaves off the coast of Congo, and each of the “my name is Toby… the first time” slaves who readied young Sally with a lemongrass bath and a starched yellowed petticoat to Jefferson’s liking. While White folks are lynching us in the streets and in our homes while we sleep or watch tv, often there are a few folks that look like you who try to hang you by the rope they are dangling from. But nope… you can’t take me out. All my life I HAD TO fight.

• • •

So here we come full circle. As much as you shouldn’t try me, my kid is a war you don’t want… and don’t let it be a race war, I’m playing whack-a-mole with a frying pan. My kid had to be about five and his teacher, a substitute, called a group of Black boy children being a little disruptive… but it was KINDERGARDEN so there’s that… thugs. Yep, you read it right. THUGS. I picked him up, dedpite bring under the weather, and he told me immediately upon getting in the car. So I slid into a parking space, got my blanket and my box of tissues, and we proceeded to her classroom where I went off for for every wronged Black student since Ruby Bridges.

I inquired whether calling her, she was Arabic, brothers terrorists would be acceptable, or whether talking to her with a stereotypical “hiyact” or “ach” attached to English words would be offensive… as I sneezed, collected snot rags in my palm, and swaddled myself in the Spongebob blanket. She didn’t say much, and the couple in the room with us were chuckling when I was serious. I reminded her that boys and girls, young little ladies and young lads, or descendants of African Kings and Queens, was to be the extent if her name calling. She remarked she hadn’t said it to my son. “They are ALL my sons!” I exclaimed. Listen, I won’t bring you none, but don’t start none either! All my life I had to FIGHT.

Fight for respect from old, racist, crotch rotted Millys. Fight for my people against Donald and David and their lynchmob of good ole’ boys. Fight against Candaces and Condoleezas who were live and in living color Pecola Breedloves secretly hoping for blond hair and blue eyes to the point of being cultural turncoats. Fight against Karen and her group of Susans and their fragility and tears, while siccing their racist hounds upon us. See while fighting for a seat at the table or for the capital to buy our own table, against racism, for diversity and inclusion, against the “strong, Black, invincible” woman trope, we still gotta knuckle up against other humans. It’s exhausting, we tired. But trust, while my sister is about to go in with a hot 16 on dat ass, I’m always there to be her hype man, repeating the last word of every sentence, to let folks know, “Mrs Sophia home… and things are gonna change round here!”

Mules of the Rule

But she broke the rules. But he shouldn’t have been convicted in the first place… justice was served. But… but…but.

Nope.

If you don’t like Black women… just say that!

The Olympics along with these international sports organizations have decided in 2021 that it will not stand on the right side of humanity and history… particularly where Black women are concerned. First the International Gymnastics Federation refused to give Simone Biles her just due for completing a move NEVER done in competition, by devaluing it. Then, after being held on the heels of one of the most tumultuous racial times in America since the civil rights movement, the Olympic committee announced no Black Lives Matter propaganda was welcome. This week’s double whammy was the Olympic Committee’s ban of the SoulCap, a swimming cap made to make room for natural hair, for not being in the natural shape of a human head and the World Anti-Doping Agency banning THE track and field STAR Sha’Carri Richardson after she tested positive for weed. What a time to be a Black woman…

So let’s explore the bullshit.

WADA bans substances that are either illicit, performance enhancing or harmful. There is no evidence marijuana is performance enhancing, it’s legal in 40 countries and about 20 states including Oregon, and many studies show its helpful for pain, emotional balance, and mood.

Ultimately, this ban speaks to the sheer dominance Black women are exhibiting in the Olympic trials; we plan to run those gold medals. It also points to the reality of Black women… just the sabotage and barriers thrown in our way, even after we defy the odds, to thwart our success. We make it to heights where we’ve never really had representation, to break those glass ceilings, only to be stabbed with the shards. Sometimes even by our own, some on purpose and l others without ill intent. “But she broke the rules…”, “But she should have known better…”, “But…”

“Black women are mules of the rule.” Zora Neale Hurston

Stop it. It’s illegal to say “g@ddamn” in Michigan (MPC 750.102). It would be illegal for Whoopi Goldberg to film scene for “Sister Act” in Alabama playing Sister Mary Clarence (Alabama Code 13A 14-4). Most would agree those are stupid laws that nobody should really be penalized for, even if they commit them, The same can be said for being tested and banned for marijuana in amateur sports. Professional athletes aren’t tested. It’s legal in many states. It’s legal all over the world. It is a stupid rule. But there is a “harder, better, faster, stronger, smarter” double standard for Black women. We are being expected to not do harder skills in a sport built upon doing harder skills to get more points. We are expected to wear swim caps that won’t cover our heads, when white female athletes and their straight hair is accommodated by the approved caps. And we are expected to follow rules with no basis, but I’m sure folks drive black cars in Denver on Sunday and nobody gets a ticket (because that’s illegal too).

Again… If you don’t like Black women… just say that!

So Bill Cosby ya’ll. First he’s an admitted racist. Second, rape is typically a crime committed against women. So, when we are talking about the sexual assault and rape of women, like when we are talking about abortion, men should probably just agree, that whatever women feel is right. Period. Your opinion on female sexual assault is not needed. AND rapists belong in jail. That’s Weinstein, Epstein, Allen, Cosby, Kelly, Uncle Tre, all of those nasty and horrible mofos. The idea that Bill Cosby’s age, alleged blindness, a due process violation, or … this is laughable… justice, somehow justifies him being released from prison is the Most BACKWARDS SHIT ever.

Let’s set this up like dominoes. There is no justice that you can ever get for a woman whose body has been touched or entered without consent. It doesn’t matter if that rape, say it with me, RAPE, has been effectuated by violence, intimidation, substance, mental incapacity, or age. The emotional and physical trauma that often results from being raped lasts a lifetime. There is no returning the victim to the place she’d be in but for the crime. The only consolation is him being put in jail where he cannot engage in that behavior anymore. THAT is the justice. End of story.

So the fact that a man was wrongfully convicted the second time doesn’t negate how the system failed the first time. The DA in that instance decided because the victim kept speaking to and seeing Cosby after the assault, that led credence to it being consensual, and the case was too weak to win. Hence why he declined to prosecute. It is that which was the original sin. Most women are raped by people they know, who they very well may encounter again. She deserved to face him in court. Now she gets no justice. Money from a civil suit in exchange for sexual assault going unpunished isn’t justice. The results of the second trial are based on DA error… the results of the first, the DA’s patriarchial discretion. Miss me with that.

Many of Cosby’s supporters, most in fact, are Black men. They speak on The Constitution protecting him the way it has so many other White people in history like that is somehow justification for him being free. What we cannot do is sacrifice women’s protection from violence in the name of Black men being treated the same as white men. Patriarchy and racism are shit from the same ass. If racism towards Black men is not as important as sexual violence towards women, that sends the message that only Black men’s issues and not Black women’s are worth fighting for. Some of the same brothas who support Cosby support or turn a blind eye to R. Kelly. All women deserve to be able to make consensual decisions about who they have sex with, race notwithstanding. But when Black men blindly support rapists, simply because they are Black, that’s a slap in the face to Black women.

“Rule-following, legal precedence, and political consistency are not more important than right, justice and plain common-sense.” -W.E.B. DuBois

“I’m That Girl” Energy

So this isn’t specifically about Sha’Carri Richardson, but it is inspired her “I’m That Girl” energy… that big boss energy… that oh you fancy hunh …hair did, nails did, everything did… energy, that Meg the Stallion “ahhhh” energy, that Beyoncé stripper kick energy.

It’s our time to be cocky and confident and courageously outward about just how dope we are. Period.

But like EVERYTIME a woman dare flex her muscles, here comes some weak ass man releasing his negative energy… or to put it simply, talking shit. I won’t promote him by name, but I’m sure you can find this fool if you just search him on Facebook, but dude is definitely on his Kevin Samuels shit. And even though he sounds just like him, he even calls Samuels feminine and he assigns to women that are strong, in body and mind, confident, and über talented the masculine label. That’s a clear sign he has ZERO idea what he is talking about. Case in point, his rant about Queen Olympian Richardson.

First, feminine and masculine energy is in all of us. The claim that her face or body makes her masculine is not only aesthetically untrue (she’s a beautiful girl expressing her personal style, period) but a false narrative. She is the divine feminine and rests perfectly centered between masculine and feminine energy as we all should, a doer and a feeler. This woman is physically fit, a dreamer, intuitive, self-aware, self-confident, and nurturing. Listen to her, read an article, educate yourself on a topic before you voice your misinformed negative opinion. She is divinely made. Recognize! But sadly, this ass rat’s page is full of these anti-woman rants.

***
***

He represents a subset of Black men who are so unhappy with themselves, they spend their time criticizing and putting down women. Then he has the nerve to put the moniker King in his name… cuz surely God didn’t bless this clown with said surname. He is talking about the bible and non-modest women one minute, then bragging of “knocking down” older women… some real HAN way of saying he slept with them. Knocking down? We trees now? Clown. And I won’t even start on the whole haughty foolishness. A woman being proud and out loud about her dopeness is only haughty to a weak ass dude. And guy is weak as a paper chain around a Rottweiler’s neck.

Dudes comment section is a lesson in how to come for a HAN, fa real. The Queens came dressed in their robes and coronation crowns to let him know how janky he is.

“A lioness never worries about the opinion of sheep… EVER!”

“Just say you inferior and move on…”

“Weak men just sit quietly please… learn how to talk less unless it’s something along the lines of “CONGRATS QUEEN!””

“Men going out of their way to reject women who don’t know they exist.”

“I hope she keeps turning up on yo ass!”

Absolutely! You see, gone are the days when sistas have to wait on White men, White women, Black men, and everyone from the area formerly known as Mesopotamia to big up them and validate their success. It’s I AM THE BAG energy all day and everyday up in this bitch because Oprah, Michelle, Angela (Rye and Bassett), Kamala, Bey, Meg, Serena, Naomi, Amanda, Issa, Gabrielle, Tracee, Tamar, Ava, Jill, Erykah, Abby, Stacey, Simone, and Sha’Carri said so! We are breaking ceilings and barriers, stereotypes and systems, to claim our dominance, power, and influence. If you don’t like it, the suggestion is that you just sit these next 100 centuries out and wait until we’ve had enough of celebration this dope ass shit called being a Black woman!

And yes, we are strong, beautiful, smart, free, wild, gentle, loving, sassy, petty af sometimes, stylish, hard-working, change makers, big ballers, shot callers, responsible for each other, and down to ride to the bloody end for our people who are down to ride with us. If that’s too much for you. I suggest you boss your life up. Or perhaps you are a false king like that fool above, that’s cool too. Off with your head, you peasant.

Ladies, keep up this Queen energy! It’s self-care and self-love wrapped up into one! And f*#% the haters!

Bonnet Applebum

Ya’ll have taken bonnets so far… to places they never imagined they would go. Misgynoir. Hating Black women. False narratives. Freedom. Being chastised by a woman with her breasts hanging free in a robe on a video broadcast beyond just outside, but for everyone to see. My sweet babies never did anything to anybody but try to preserve your roller set while you slept. But like ya’ll do, it’s gone too far.

This is simple shit. Let me tell you what it is not before I tell you what it is. It’s not misogynoir. Stop it. Stop that now. So someone pointed out to me that it’s been said durags, the Black male version of a bonnet, are worn outside and haven’t received as much static. Others that the bonnet is just a stand in for anything that represents a Black woman’s freedom, and this backlash as a way to police our freedom by limiting our comfort. Nope and nope. Back in the late 90s when durags came in black and the occasional white, Black guys started wearing them under their caps, tied with the flap in the wind, or untied flaps to the side similar to a Nemes headdress worn by Egyptian pharaohs. In fact it’s designed in exactly the same style.

In 2001 and 2005, this primarily Black cultural item was banned by the NFL and NBA and then several school districts as gang related. This item made specifically to help lay down hair to create a 360 degree wave hairstyle, which was coincidentally (or not) started in ancient Egypt was not gang related but used as a tool of racism. So it cannot be said bonnets are receiving some unprecedented hatred. In protest, durags in multiple colors and styles started being worn by Black men and women. This isn’t new… but I would venture it is different.

Venture with me… take a walk if you will. The original version of “Bonita Applebum” by A Tribe Called Quest was rapped by Q-Tip in a typical rap cadence that confirmed to the beat. He read an 1985 issue of SPIN magazine with an interview with Miles Davis who spoke about using pauses, or moments of silence in the song, to create space for conversation between the notes, the instruments, or in this case, the words. When the song was mixed for the ATCQ first album, Q-Tip slowed down the cadence and used pauses to mimic having a conversation with a young lady about his interest in her. “Hey Bonita (pause) Glad to meet ya!”

Bonnets, Bonnets, Bonnets…

Bonnets aren’t being chastised by the White establishment as some object of racial negativity. This is mainly sistas talking to other sistas, a moment of pause, to create a conversation about the phenomenon of wearing hair bonnets outside as a head covering. Every sista doesn’t engage her peers in the most compassionate and understanding way… understood. However, this isn’t an attack, it’s an observation and the attempt at conversation. Women in my age range were taught that you don’t go outside representing yourself poorly… you can be unique,yourself, and comfortable while being the best version of yourself. There was a separation between what you did in the privacy of your home and how you showed up outside those doors. Women in younger generations seem to attach themselves to the IDGAF mantra, and present and dress however they want in any forum. Social media has blurred the lines of private and public and all of your life is on display, so there is no privacy. No one is trying to police Black women, but simply trying to understand and educate. The hair bonnet is a tool of self-care, like your perm rods to set your natural hairstyle, your nightgown, your unicorn slippers, your pajamas with the feet in them, or the little pieces of paper you stick to your face after you do your weekly facial. Self-care can be many things, and one of those things is engaging in sacred self rejuvenation to reenergize and reinvigorate. We typically emerge from these rituals ready for the opportunity that awaits us. Oh you fancy hunh?

And that doesn’t mean we present how men want us to, or White people want us to, but how we feel our best and most prepared selves. Being able to present that self to the world is freedom. She can be fresh faced or made up, hair natural or straight or brown or blue, clothing tailored or bohemian, pierced or tatted or bejeweled or thicker than a snicker. But she is prepared for the opportunities she wants to find her, so she can scoop them up and take advantage of them. The blurring of the private and public is real, but that doesn’t make everything private, it makes it ALL public. Saying mind your business is cute, but if I’m the one with the opportunity that you want, good luck with that! How you present is my business. Freedom is more than just doing what you want. Lots of people in jail did what they wanted…

Freedom is the ability to be our best self without constraint, to practice self-determination in a responsible and bold manner, and to have equitable access to the reservoir of opportunity. When our choice of head gear was being used to discriminate against and punish us along racial lines, we cut patterns out of floral velvet, lace, and rhinestone mesh and made a fashion statement of it. When our hairstyles were being banned at work we made noise, made our natural hair a cultural phenomenon, and got legislation passed to protect our right to wear our hair as it grows from our head or any other way we choose. But labeling bonnet gate some kind of ministry against Black women by some phantom Black woman hater is bordering on the dramatic. Mainly because it’s us heeding the call. I don’t hate Black women… I am a Black woman with a drawer full of bonnets, naturally curly hair, and an occasional bad hair day. Yet I despise seeing women in bonnets in public.

Now I’m not gonna sweet baby you to death and approach you about the bonnet on your head in Target. I am not gonna do a bonnet call to action. I’m not going to tell you what you cannot do… you certainly can wear a bonnet in public. But I am going to tell you that object was not made for outside wear. That object is a tool of comfort, and if you feel most comfortable in it, more power to you, but chances are you are hiding or protecting what’s underneath it. If you are hiding it, trust that the bonnet is worse. If you are trying to preserve your curls for your date night, trust that ain’t the way. There are a bevy of scarves and headwraps made so that you can do just that, and still present like the free woman you are, who does and wears what she wants, who is ALSO prepared to meet all the best opportunities the world may offer you at any moment. You are best prepared for that with your bonnet on your bedside table. Trust me.

What I am not interested in though, ever… is the false narratives we didn’t author being the reason why we make choices. What White people or men think… which is often the underlying idea… especially when those thoughts are teamed with racial and sexual stereotypes and biases, should never be our raison d’être. Ever. Fuck racism and sexism twice. That is not our ministry. Everything that centers Black women does not have to be about or regarding negativity surrounding our Blackness and our womanhood. Black women are highly policed in terms of how we present. Black women are also highly criticized for how we look while simultaneously mimicked by the most famous White women in the world. So I get it, but this isn’t that. This is simply another sista reminding you who you are, what our freedom looks like, and how we can seek and express that freedom responsibly and boldly free from racist and sexist gaze. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, especially our younger selves, that our freedom, my sweet babies, doesn’t look like anyone else’s… it’s intersectional, complicated, and more nuanced. Let’s not confuse us reminding each other who we are for misogynoir. That’s not hot. And you can accept it or reject it, but I’m gonna always put you on…

If you can’t stand the heat…

“Women want too much”

“Black women are too aggressive”

“Older women with children aren’t desirable”

“Less than perfect women should not expect to be protected and provided for by a man”

“Strong women don’t intimidate men… unless she thinks strong means aggressive, rude, unpleasant, and outspoken”

Strong, old, Black, too short, too tall, too big, too skinny, and just people with vaginas say a rousing… Fuck you! The Trumps, Richard Spencers, Robert Fischers, Kevin Samuels, Umar Johnsons and all the men who subscribe to their particular brand of women hating can also grab a seat on the Fuck You train. Men who have taken credit for women’s accomplishments, deemed us too weak and not smart enough, or James Evan’ed us to the kitchen and the bedroom instead of the lectern, boardroom, classroom, or wherever the hell we wanted to be… fuck ya’ll too! Check this out, real men don’t sit around dissecting and dictating who and what women should and can be. Men with time to focus on what women are doing or not doing should perhaps find another job, lift some weights, pick up a hammer or chisel, do some carpentry or masonry, or choke on BBQ smoke. Pick one.

Sexism is a tale as old as time. Before a White man ever thought about enslaving a Black man, he was controlling his wife. Many extremely smart women in the 19th century and early 20th century never married, such as Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Caroline Hershel, or their accomplishments were credited to their husbands. Women feigned being dense or dim-witted to marry, because men weren’t interested in smart women, but women who would bear them heirs, look pretty on their arm, curtsy, and make a good biscuit for their tea. Sadly, not much has changed. Women who champion feminism and the rights of women, or those whose successes brought about the need for that championing are looked at as aggressive, masculine, independent, and uninterested in male companionship, marriage, child-bearing, and things the patriarchy paints as feminine. This is true across racial lines, and especially true, a remnant of both racism and sexism, for Black women.

Here is a truth… as a collective, NO other group of women in history have been as abandoned and abused, and then victim blamed as Black women. None. Our victimization has been at the hands of men: men in power, particularly White men, and men we share blood or affinity to, particularly Black men. Those are facts. Slavery separated us from our ancestral families in Africa and the ones we created in America. We were forced to bear the slave children of our Masters, creating an emotional wedge between us and our slave husbands. The Civil War left us without husbands, alone to raise children, who fought on the front lines for a country that would never treat us fairly. Jim Crow and Black Codes destroyed the communities of color we built, leaving us destitute and unable to feed, clothe, and house ourselves. Black women were forced to take on maid and mammy roles while Black men were forced out of the job market. Desperation and unjust laws left them jailed and us alone to raise kids with no men in the home, practically destroying the Black nuclear family.

Today, remnants of watching our single mothers struggle but persevere while knowing our father’s chose not to participate in our family reside just under the surface. We watched our brother’s take on man roles in a child’s body, and now see them struggling to overcome the stigma of incarceration. We remember our uncles, real and play, teaching them that manhood was about how many women, cars, and dollars you could stack and never showing emotion, compassion, or vulnerability. We see them mistreating our friends and sisters, helping themselves to whatever we have and leaving us worse off than we started. We stay at Friend of the Court trying to get them to help buy a pack of diapers or help pay for DeVanté, who looks just like his trifling ass, go to the private school so he can be a doctor like he always talks about. Before you get in your feelings, YES, there are plethora of Black men, men period, who are excellent husbands, fathers, friends, and leaders. We salute you!!! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 But for any man to spend his time determining that how we broadcast strength and resilience is wrong and indicative of our worth, without acknowledging what we have been through… he might want to consider that he is just further victimizing us with his judgement and patriarchal bullshit. Fuck you guy.

You want us in the kitchen frying your pickerel in lace underwear, real booty banging, hair laid (and it can be weave as long as you can’t tell), smiling and calling you King. But fish grease pops, so when we put our clothes back on we are rude, when we tie our hair back we are aggressive, and when we stop smiling we are rude. No, we just got fucking burned… but we keep on cooking. It’s you who can’t stand the heat bruh… so back your ass up out of the kitchen until your balls drop, you can grab them, and come help me tend to my burns. Until then, keep your fucked up opinions to yourself. How I exhibit strength is MY BUSINESS. If you don’t like it, then go find a woman you like, cuz the fact that you are talking about it MEANS that you are single af. Figure out why that is before you lay out your philosophy on why some woman, you don’t want, acts in a way you don’t agree with. Newsflash… she likely doesn’t give a fuck!

Your homework: Before you write a dissertation on why certain women are so undesirable, figure out why nobody wants you?!?

Women are always caping for men… all women. We keep your secrets, help you hide bodies, and cover your abuse with Maybelline… because we want to help make you better before we give up in you. But we are sick of your abuse, your judgements, your dominion… and we won’t continue to be your victims. We can be bad by ourselves. We can choose who and what we want to be. We can exist, live and breathe and walk and talk, without seeking your approval. And the entire truth is…

“Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” 1 Corinthians 11:9.

Get it right!

Bonnets belong in private; Derrick belongs to the streets

I don’t care about your favorite Instagram relationship guru. I don’t care about his infidelity …. or not. I don’t care if he was on a break… how you on a marriage break, but whatever… or not. But what I do care about is women who are justifying staying in unfaithful marriage by calling upon the horrors of singlehood. That… I care about. Gonorrhea from your husband and outside kids (not the kids themselves, but the act) are a horror. Being single… it has it’s moments, but it’s not like sticking needles in your eye.

I read a post “justifying” staying in an unfaithful marriage and then simultaneously damning singlehood. I read a few such posts. They all read like women trying to still justify to themselves why they married or are still married to some ultra raggedy ass negro cheating on them. Nobody wants some poison penis thats dipped in every inkwell from New York to Massachusetts. But if we are comparing, a married wayward penis is much more dirty, no matter how much you kiss that joker up to God. A single man is free to generally do what or who ever he likes; a married man that “turns the trick pages from loose leaf to zig zag” is raggedy and dirty. Just because you picked him or lie next to him, that doesn’t make him fundamentally good . That notion just makes you sound silly. If you need justification, that ain’t it. Try again.

Furthermore, that man contracted himself to you. Either committed to love you before God; to create a family and cycle his wealth to heirs; or to keep Wu-Tang money in the family. So being ultra raggedy is being irresponsible AND breaking his covenant with you. You may choose to overlook that, stay with him, and work on your marital issues. Conversely, you might be afraid of being alone and single, insecure about your ability to find someone else, or unsure if you can handle responsibility for yourself and kids. I don’t know your reasons, and I don’t care. I do care that you taint other women with this idea that marriage, even one to a dishonorable (at most) or irresponsible (at least) man is better than being single. That messaging is toxic and just plain wrong. I typically find it’s the effort of women married to trash men to make themselves feel like someone is less well off than they are. But as someone who has been married, single, and every relationship status in between, nothing is worse than being married to a fool but a cheating fool. He belongs to the streets sis… it’s ok to accept it.

Another theme running through these posts are built upon the notion that married men are collectively better than single men… talking about your Instagram guru’s wealth and a single man’s lack thereof… often attempting at some joke about waiting on his stimulus. So, first there is nothing wrong with a man who gets a stimulus. He might be making six figures or might be a teacher, police officer, or a street sweeper. A gainfully employed man is working in the job of his choice. I suggest you get yours instead of worrying about what his check looks like… it’s not his responsibility to make your financial dreams come true. It’s your dream. Wake up if you can’t handle it. Second, you and hubby probably got your stimmy… meaning ya’ll each make less money than him. Third, there is nothing that suggest married men are better men than single ones. Marriage does not signify that a man has become better or is more valuable. It is a man who is honorable and honest who trumps. Studies show women initiate divorce 70% of the time. They aren’t divorcing single men..,just saying. Studies also show that single women with live in boyfriends do less housework than married women. Looks like single men also contribute more. You know what they say about men, women, and numbers… the numbers don’t lie.

Most importantly, our boundaries are our own. If infidelity is a deal breaker for you, that is cool. If it is not, that is cool too. You only have to justify those decisions with yourself. But putting down non-married women or singlehood in some effort to convince anyone that marriage, mostly your marriage, is the ideal place, even if it’s a trash ass marriage, is neither cool nor accurate. You might think the guru’s wife is smart to stay. Someone else may think she’s a damn fool. Opinions are like…. Speaking of asses, if your husband is a cheater, just be sure you go get checked; if they prescribe penicillin, you take the full dose; heal so you can stop acting like he wasn’t foul; and promise to never ever let him film you on video in your nighttime hair bonnet, especially when his line up is fresh and the topic is him being a whole heauxbag.