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.

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!

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!

A Stale Mate

Do you throw milk away on the date on the carton. What’s the difference between the sell by date and an expiration date? If you continue to drink the milk, at what point will it make you sick? Do you wait until it stinks? In my experience, we don’t fuck with the milk past the date on the carton, regardless of whether it says sell by or use by. Why wait until it’s spoiled to find out…

So why do we keep people around longer than they are needed and useful? Why do we ignore the expiration dates on our relationships, especially those that are romantic in nature? Why do we wait until people literally stink up our lives, make us emotionally and spiritually sick, before we walk away?

People are complex organisms… our brains, our mental center, and our “heart” or more appropriately our souls, our spiritual center, are both very much guided by our emotions. We may KNOW something is the right choice but not FEEL like it is, and be at a standstill. Our mind and our soul might be delivering the same message, but our bodies start to physically long for what it is used to receiving from a mate, their touch or just presence. We have physical reactions based on our emotional experiences. We cry, we tremble, we feel physical pain and anguish… at the mere thought of letting them go. Like the milk, we don’t want to waste… money or time. But the cost of milk versus the cost of letting don’t compare to the cost of getting physically sick or being emotionally scarred and abused. Expiration dates aren’t written on people like milk, but yet we still know when that time has come. The trick is in letting go.

I once spent years, not consecutively, but years nonetheless, trying to make a relationship work, with this man. We looked good together, we were both successful, we seemed a good match. Yet, no matter how good things would be going, we’d come to a point where he would become what I later realized was emotionally abusive. As good of a match as we seemed to make in paper, he was severely insecure about my friendships, professional success, position, and intelligence. Years would go by and we would run into each other and fall back into old ways, spending time together. Yet the last time, once I was aware fully of what was happening, I no longer needed explanations, closure, or anything but to shelve his ass into someone else’s pantry. He was not healthy for me, he was past his expiration, and was spoiled AF. He probably had mold spores by this point. It was a wrap. Unlike anytime before, I had done the changing. I was so protective of my own peace and my self that I would not allow any stale mate to position himself on my already full plate. I need nourishment, and my food can touch. I didn’t need him ruining or taking any valuable time from the other parts of my life.

We often hold on to people in fear of them leaving an empty space we believe we might never refill. But trust me, other people who are looking for the type of relationship you have to offer are always present. You just have to be as well. Removing the unnecessary will make room for others. The act of being able to remove those who do you no good is not possible until you take inventory of what you allow to sit on your shelves, waiting to be picked up again, and purge everything that is not in service of making you better. It’s much easier to type it than to do it, but it can be done. If you have a new box of Crunch Berries and you both are calling each other’s names, but you still have spoiled milk in the fridge, you’ll never answer the call. That same carton of spoiled milk will flash in ur mind when you are grocery shopping, making you believe you don’t need a new fresh carton. It’ll have you dreaming of cookies and milk… but in reality it’s no cookies and shit for you. Get rid of everything that holds you back… spoiled milk and stale men, moldy bread and broads doing the most. It is easy, you just close that space in your life. Bust a MFin move!

We make excuses for people and our own behavior that keeps us locked in places not meant for us. In love relationships, uncertainty is always there. When we see someone as long term, and the terms don’t meet our expectations, the first time, we tend to make excuses for folks. Yet we carry that little bit of heartbreak through the span of the relationship until it has reached a point of no return💔. Then we reside in that heartbreak for months and years, never standing up and moving out of the muck to fresh ground. That first disrespectful comment will likely be followed by another. That first push or balled up fist will definitely be followed by another. That first other woman may either stay or go away when the newer one appears. Continuing in it is a choice. Letting go is a choice. We can still validate our feelings of disappointment, upset, heartbreak and simultaneously free ourselves from people who mean us no good, who won’t protect us, and who harm us mind, body, and soul. But you can also walk away the first time. They were ripe for the tossing at that point.

I don’t know much. But I’m sure that love is kind and patient. It’s not abusive, inconsistent, disrespectful, hateful, chaotic, or ever ever unsafe. It won’t play a hoax on your soul, trick your mind, or cause your body trauma. It won’t make you sick, and it’s not stale and definitely not spoiled. Love is always fresh and nourishing. Get you sum! And cut that zero…

Just Show Your Love

I be your Knower, you be my Wiz
I’m your Mister, you my Mrs.
With hugs and kisses
Valentine cards and birthday wishes…Please
Be on another level of planning, of understanding
The bond between man and woman, and child
The highest elevation, cuz we above
All that romance crap, just show your love
You’re all I need” -Method Man

Once some guy, with great intentions, bought me one of those 7 Mile and the Southfield Freeway clear heart balloons with a bear inside, surrounded by stale chocolates and Reese’s cups. I remember looking at it like… oh, wow, thanks. As he was grinning ear to ear like he had just hit the gift giving jackpot. I recall the bear’s eye was sitting at the bottom of the balloon rolling from side to side. I was that sad little eye in that moment, just rolling about aimlessly trying to find my way out of captivity that I shared with regret, the promise of really bad gifts, and a lifetime of dusting teddy bears with runaway eyes. I vowed that would not be my life.

Most important, gifts are not my love language, so while I understand that may have been his thing, it wasn’t mine. I also realized, when I expressed my thoughts to my friends, that people are wayyyyyy more romantic than realistic in their standards and expectations about relationships. I personally don’t care about candy and shit on Valentine’s Day, or the day at all. We put this pressure on ourselves and others to show love in ways that don’t register as such to the receiver. Moreover, we give in to these ideas because it is what other people think is acceptable, sweet, romantic, and thoughtful… and we adopt that view. Those folks selling cellophane wrapped love are not there for the true gift giver, the guy or girl whose guy or girl is going to squeal with delight. They are for the guy who knows that shit is ugly but doesn’t yet know if you do or not.

You wanna do something that’s gonna make her smile? You want to show your love… Be her knower.

Since I’m repping Black History Month all 29 days of February 2020 and Black History every 365 days I’m granted, Black Love is the highest form of Understanding that Black people can attain and aspire to. Knowledge according to Supreme Mathematics is to know, listen, and observe. The purpose of Supreme Mathematics is to give us a framework for discovering who we are in the universe. Before we can know and learn anything else we must first know and see the divinity in ourselves.

Only one who knows who he is can fully learn (knowledge), accept (wisdom), and love (understanding) who I am. Once he can explain to me who he is, what pleases him, his desires, his wants, his needs, his passion, and his purpose… he can absorb mine. Receiving gifts may be how he feels love, but other than a birthday gift, flowers from time to time, and maybe that pair of Js I’ve been eyeing, they just don’t equate to love for me. So he will be able to communicate that to me, and then both hear and listen that it’s not for me. He won’t attempt to make his love language mine so it’s easier for him to remember and process, but will want to have full understanding of who I am, what pleases me, my desires, wants, needs, passion , and purpose.

This shit is so simple. It will save you money buying two dozen red roses when she likes sunflowers only in June, that pair of $800 Louboutins when she only wears flats, or tickets for him to see Nas when he wanted to see Kenny Chesney. We shouldn’t be attempting to love our partners in the ways we want, but in the ways they best receive our love. Sure, we can sprinkle in some surprises and buy a gift when he really prefers Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch, but we first must make sure we are giving what is needed, not just what we want to give. That’s wack.

Stick with your girl, I got that M-E-T-H-O-D, man!

I’ll be your wisdom. I will help you make good decisions and process that knowledge, to a level of elevation where a whole lot of real has splashes of well placed romance… keep the card, give me the hugs and kisses! Be my knower and everyday will be like Valentine’s Day.

But hey if your woman likes cellophane wrapped love, do your thing.

Proud does not equal Prejudiced

Only modern marriage has been concerned with the notion of romantic love as its impetus. Historically in America and currently in most countries and cultures, marriage serves a far greater purpose for continuing and maintaining legacy through progeny, wealth, and cultural traditions.

Anti-miscegenation laws in the US were enacted in many colonies in the early 1600s, forbidding marriage between African slaves and White colonists. Even as white men were allowed without punishment to engaged in most often forced sexual relationships with Black women, marriages between Black men and White women were strictly prohibited. Into the early 20th century many states enacted miscegenation laws also banning minority races from marrying each other . The Supreme Court ruling of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) struck down those laws as unconstitutional. Many legal historians and sociologists have cited the threat of miscegenation as the primary reason for segregation laws from the 17th to early 20th century. These laws were used to set racial boundaries, control immigrants, and set up a racial hierarchy.

That’s racism at its finest!

Yesterday I read an article on Black Detour, You Can’t Be Pro-Black and in an Interracial Relationship, which stated emphatically, pausedwriter’sthatideabecauseisisn’tofmanyit’ssomereasonmentallyword

I’velongershe’sexperienceIlearned

Let’s

hundredslanguageslaveryhierarchymembers ofexistedcycledayJamestown

enactmentmiscegenationofcoloniesconcoctamiseducateofandthathumanthat’sandmuchature, just wild and reckless actions in the name of racial purity and the rejection of difference. Who are we if we take on these pathologies. I’m pro-Black but I will never be a a Black supremacist.

Let me assure you, I’m educated, middle class, I’ve succeeded in terms of the American Dream, but I am not immune to the system of racism and the virulent White supremacy that infects far too many of our White counterparts. I have been targeted because I’m smart, Black, and female by mediocre White men and scared but protected White women. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. My parents were big Afros with fist picks and Black Panther Party Black. I’m my Grandma played the numbers around the corner; dressing not stuffing; hair braided in the summertime; Pink Oil moisturizer; bamboo earrings; asymmetric hairstyle Black. My high school graduating class was 98% Black, and 98% college educated. I’m pro-Black; Black and Proud; Young, Gifted, and Black; Blackity Black. But I’ll never be a Black Supremacist.

Marriage is a civil institution, and in most of Western civilization it has morphed from a contractual agreement between families into a partnership agreement between individuals. In America, the results of immigration and war changed the priorities of marriage as different cultures brought their traditions and women went to work. The changing gender roles and integration put people in different spaces, so women no longer looked to men primarily to take care of them and people if different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups were in closer proximity to one another. As the climate changes, so does the landscape. Interracial marriages grew in number as the climate changed.

Love has always been the foundation of relationships between humans, how that love or genuine care for another began, was expressed, or was manifested has certainly changed over time. But love, at the end of the day, is the expression of understanding and acceptance of another in their truest form. Love is a choice to grow with that person and support them in finding their true self. It is void of all prejudice, celebrates difference, rejects ego, and is never an act of power or control. To declare that to be proud to be Black, and for the forward progress of the Black culture in America is impossible if you partner with someone other than a Black person is a statement of power, control, and supremacy. It seeks to keep us separate to advance some notion that the purer our Black, the better.

Purity is a racist notion. In every iteration of the word where race is concerned, pure equals White. There is no such thing as racial purity. Europeans have colonized almost every country in the world, and they have had jungle fever, rainforest fever, dessert fever, you name it, since the beginning of time. Miscegenation was began by White colonists and continued by White people until it was in their best interests to control it. They did so under the guise of purity… yet that didn’t keep Thomas out of Sally’s bloomers. So clearly, purity was just a decoy. Power and control were the captains of that ship… and the love boat simply doesn’t sail with them at the helm.

People should be free to love who they love. Regardless of how they arrive at that choice, it’s their choice to make. That choice does not alone take away someone’s pro-Black card. Any Black person about the forward progress of Black culture is going to marry someone who is also about the forward progress of Black culture. That is not an idea that is bound by race. Ultimately, anyone pro-Black should first and foremost be pro-humanity, pro-inclusion, pro-equity, and pro-diversity. Our allies, regardless of their heritage, share that with us. That is what we should desire to see in the image of our partners… real acceptance and understanding. Love.

We can uplift, support, and celebrate all of who we are, what we produce, and our talents and still be interested in being members of the larger society that respects all people, who they are, what they produce, and their talents. Period. White supremacists have tried to paint us throughout history as savages, ignorant, unable, uneducated, thugs, miscreants, nothing more. But we are as unique, creative, intelligent, talented, and different as humans are. Yet ancestrally we come from a more communal culture that is unlike the individualistic culture that is America. Our nature is different, and that is okay. It’s neither better or worse, right or wrong, it’s just different. If we start rejecting difference, we are no better than the supremacists our ancestors were tortured by.

If we attempt to police love by injecting it with prejudice, we are attempting to build our own systems of race based exclusion, in the image of White Supremacy. I refuse to believe that is who we are. That is not who I am. I once married, and if I marry again he’ll likely be a Black man. I could also meet and eventually marry a man of any race who was interested in all people being celebrated, respected, included, and considered not in spite of their differences but because of the richness and diversity of difference. But trust…

To simplify pro-Blackness as one thing is to simplify Black culture… it’s too colorful, creative, and beautiful to fit in a box. We can spread love, promote love of all colors, still and root for everybody Black… at the same damn time!

Love & Marriage… and Divorce

I happened upon this online “conversation” of sorts about divorce being people “giving up” while I was catching up on Black Love, the show on OWN. It was an odd coincidence that gave me pause. It’s really interesting to see the inside of people’s marriages and how they got there in a way you typically never do. More inspiring is the way they have dealt with the obstacles in their relationships. I listened as many of them considered divorce at one stage of another of their marriages. If you don’t know that struggle… consider yourself lucky but the consideration and decision are a lot of things, but giving up isn’t one of them.

First comes Love, the comes marriage… and sometimes later comes divorce … hopefully and prayerfully not.

Here’s the thing… if you have not experienced any one of the three, you really cannot with wisdom and full understanding, attest to what the experience is like. And while everyone’s love, marriage, and divorce is different, there are some commonalities that exist that really define the experience.

Love

Let’s first clear this up. Love is not defined by physical desire for another person. Period. Love is not made in words. Period.

Love is an action. It is defined by someone’s consideration of you, consistency with you, their constant intention to understand you and show their affection and connection in ways that you best receive them. We often use words such as respect, loyalty, communication, touch, quality time, sacrifice, etc. to describe the actions people who love you show you. But ultimately all those things are included in consideration, consistency, connection, and understanding.

Life is not sustained without relationships, which are not sustained without love. It is the most essential building block of life… water, food, shelter, clothing, and love. We romanticize love so much that we see it only as an emotional outpouring of devotion and adoration… and while that may be how some people demonstrate love, it’s far deeper than that. True love is a demonstration of acceptance and understanding. Accepting a person as they come and navigating growth and change with them even when it doesn’t reflect the growth or change you expected and seeking to fully understand who they are completely and loving them more because of it.

Marriage

Love alone does not sustain a marriage… let’s start there! A marriage is also not a continuation of a romantic relationship. It is a cleaving of two people into one. Now what that looks like and how it is done is completely up to those two people. Completely. The terms they set upon their marriage spiritually, financially, physically, sexually, and otherwise are based on their values, morals, traditions, and needs. But unless they are one, and operate as a unit, most marriages won’t work. Two people operating from two different spaces and places in time won’t be able to navigate the terrain that is life as a team. Life is a series of hills and valleys, mountains and deep sea dives that tend to happen for two people simultaneously or not at the worst times. Only a tandem working as a unit can pull one person from a lightening bolt onto the other’s rising cloud… or can ride that lightening bolt like surfers until they can jump off and pull their parachutes together.

For Black people especially, many of our ancestral notions and images of marriage and partnership were lost when we were brought to America. We have taken on very “American” individualistic views of not just marriage but success and life, while our ancestors were very much communal in nature. We were kept from the more European notions of intermarriage for wealth building that the wealthy American families practiced, and still practice, to maintain their position in society. African families and the community at large surrounded married couples with foundational support to help them navigate through changes and issues during the marriage. We lack that as a culture. I could see how the couples who had that kind of support flourished, not only on Black Love, but in real life.

But sometimes no matter how much they try, the pairing wasn’t right, they just don’t fit like puzzle pieces, so they never fully come together as one. Read it clear… despite trying their best.

Divorce

Listen… I know a lot of divorced men and women who would be in jail or dead if they were still married to their former spouses. When you label those people as quitters, you disrespect their journey and their choices. Until you walk a mile in my shoes…

Some people can forgive and move on from cheating, that doesn’t make them better it makes them different. Some people can recover from financial, emotional, or even physical abuse, but others cannot. I personally have a very deep rooted sense of loyalty that will not allow me to be unfaithful. I would rather tell you the entire truth, so you know that no matter if my personal decision hurts you, I would never deceive you or make choices for you. In fact, my main goal would be to make choices that bring joy to us both, but if I’m unable to do that, you can’t ever say I betrayed you. Ever. So of course, I cannot accept betrayal. You don’t get to tell me that a walking alway from betrayal makes me a quitter. To me, that’s much more than “for worse”… that’s a dealbreaker, a covenant cleaver, the dismantling of the unit.

The same is true for many people who experience trauma in the marriages: abuse, financial ruin, patriarchy, family and friend interference, infidelity… when the things that we enter the marriage valuing the most are broken and battered we have every right to evaluate whether this is where we belong. Life is too short to stay with someone who does not value and honor you, because even through tough times, those things should remain true. If marriage is the penthouse, the basement is friendship, and upon that foundation everything is built. When you are no longer friends… well, your whole house is bound to cave in. Deciding to take your half of the bricks and build again is not giving up. It’s starting anew.

“Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage.” One pulls, one rides, and we take turns pulling and riding, until the wheels fall off. Sometimes, the wheels fall off and we realize that horse was never the best to pull that carriage, so we make other plans. Other times, those bad boys fall off, we get more, and we keep pulling and riding, riding and pulling into the sunset. And just maybe, hopefully, we’ll inspire those carriage-less horses and horse-less carriages to pull and ride again someday!

Or maybe they’ll just say fuck this and get a car.

Love is a tremendous responsibility

Black love certainly is…

Almost a year ago I was scrolling through Facebook and heard the sweet voice attached to the even sweeter face of Nikki Giovanni talking to the almost melodic and lyrical voice of James Baldwin. They exchanged quips and banter, then went into a painfully deep conversation on the experience of love, relationships, and humanity for Black people living in a state of constant oppression, poverty, and despair. “Love is a tremendous responsibility,” Giovanni says softly at the end of the dialogue. Those words frame the conversation.

It’s not an afterthought but an affirmation. It’s the kind of thing that floats above whatever that is below which could drown it. It persists and moves about the world spreading its truth. Love is indeed a tremendous responsibility… especially for Black men and women. It’s a dance and a battle. A beauty and a beast.

If I love you, I can’t lie to you,” Baldwin says.

Of course, you can lie to me,” Giovanni replies. “Because what the hell do I care about the truth? I care if you’re there.

….

I have loved Black Men. It has been difficult. I’m sure I have been no cake walk. They have been inconsistent and inauthentic. I have been difficult and demanding. They have been selfish and soulless at times. I have been over emotional and overly harsh at others. It’s a dance I constantly turned in my dance card for… but rarely made it to the end without a stepped on toe or otherwise forced to take the lead to get us to the end of the song.

I have yet, until now, had someone who is willing to give of himself in such an emotionally free way that is not dictated by what he can give or not give, buy or not buy, but instead by giving me the one thing I cannot purchase with dollars, credit cards, or extra care bucks.

Himself.

His entire self. His time. His days. His moments. His emotion. His rationalizations. His conversation. His silence. His sleep. His awake. His starving. His full. His all the way up, and his down.

It’s not predicated on what he doesn’t have.

“…especially if I love you… I can’t come with nothing.“-Baldwin

But what he does.

Sometimes you’re not able to clothe your family. Do you then, also, deprive them of your manhood?” -Giovanni

Whether it’s money or power or strength or … whatever it is that he thinks or knows he’s lacking, he does not deprive me of his presence. He uses me as his inspiration and catalyst to dream bigger and better, while being and living beside me as my support. Rarely do I need money or things, but I always, as long as he is willing to be present, need him and his manhood and his presence. And he’s willing… his actions show me and his future talk and preparation assure me.

Love is a tremendous responsibility.

It means giving. Of yourself and to yourself simultaneously. Being aware that what a woman needs most is you, something you first have to value and see the importance of independent from your resources. Sure, we teach men that their job is to provide… but the idea that provision is only financial is steeped in bullshit.

You will work it out. Because you are intelligent enough. You are sensitive enough. You are man enough to work out a new system. … As long as the assumptions are the same, nothing will change. So, we must corner ourselves to make a new assumption.Giovanni

We understand the pressures Black men face. In many ways we are the recipient of that same vitriol with sexism as the root instead of fear. They are afraid of you and convince you that the closer you come to their patriarchal individualistic and capitalistic ideal the more of a man you will be… while simultaneously blocking you from that ideal. They think we lack the ability because we aren’t men first and then because we aren’t white. But they desire us so we don’t have to fight for our womanhood in quite the same way, at least not anymore.

But we will help you change that narrative… because you are men to us. Any woman that predicates Black manhood on financial ability is ignorant of history and our ancestral model. This model of female fragility that many Black women have attempted to adopt is synonymous with the white female ideal. This timid, soft, breakable, weak woman whose only strength is her beauty is a sexist trope that white women in the past and some in the present modeled. But that is not who we are. We aren’t mules, but we aren’t glass. As Sojourner said… “I could work as much and eat as much as a man… but ain’t I a woman?” We are capable of providing and helping to provide. We are a collective, you and me, not just two individuals trying to get over. That’s their way… not ours.

Love is a tremendous responsibility. It is especially true when you have to prove your worth, are told you have to work harder than everyone else to get scraps, and risk your dreams, health, body, time, patience, and goodness to get to these unreachable and unnecessary ideals. But we have to change the narrative together.

If a man comes home, and he’s in a situation he cannot control, it’s got to come out somewhere. They got you by the neck and by the balls, and it has to come out. It comes out with the person you are closest to.” -Baldwin

You grin at him all day long. You come home and I catch hell. Because I love you, I get least of you. I get the very minimum. ” -Giovanni

A man is not void of value because he doesn’t have or because he does have according to the American ideal… he’s valuable because he has and gives of himself. He’s valuable because he gives himself to those that love him, and saves the best parts of himself for them. He can do it, it just takes a change of mindset. That’s the narrative we should push. We have everything we need to excel, and we can do so in this landscape, with these rules, with our own ideals, traditions, and ancestry intact. We first have to love ourselves enough to believe that, then be present and open enough with each other to share ourselves and create a collective partnership. From that, there is nothing we cannot create.

We all we got! Love responsibly!

How to Write a Love Letter

I’ve heard it many times before, but yours sounds different, feels especial-ly different. It dances off of your tongue different. It echoes in a room full of furniture and tchotchkes. It melts in the cold and freezes in the heat. It sends me swingin’… takes me riding in rocket and gives me a star. E-ver-y time.

You Love Me.

….

The point of it all … is that love finds you perfectly when you are ready to accept the heart that dispenses it to you in perfect measure. When you release all those past traumas and painful experiences, heal from them, and open yourself up to the person who, like you, introduces you to your best self. The person who, like you, dedicates themselves to helping you realize all your wildest dreams. The person who, like you, makes everything okay the minute they step into the room, smile, and out stretch their arms to you. There is no more perfect place. No more perfect union of souls.

I’m a movement by myself..

Yes, you love me different… better, the best. You love me whole heartedly, not because of what I can do for you but how I make you feel. How I follow your lead in sync and rhythm, trusting you fully, showing you that I believe in us because I believe in you. You love me because we fit. You love me because … because you just do. Without conditions or doubts. Just completely. From the first day we met to this moment.

“… but I’m a force when we’re together.”

I write about many things…and I never imagined I’d be inspired or bold enough to write about any parts of my personal life in such detail. But I can’t continue to write about things that are important to me and not share how I feel about you.

You make me better.” -Neyo Make Me Better

You have shown me very simply that a partnership doesn’t have to be contentious or complicated, but it can be easy and breezy and beautiful- ly different. You have shown me that anyone who truly loves you does so peacefully and purposefully. I never have to question where we stand, how you feel, or what you want. You know just how to ensure, that I’m assured of where we are and where we’re going. And I am. E-ver-y time. I never have chaos with you. If I need, you want to listen and comply. If you need, you tell me with tenderness and compassion. Give me some things to think about…

I had to learn to trust myself. To release any fears and worries, forget those toxic lessons, and embrace what I know to be true. To turn your back on knowledge that is staring you in the face is not wise and is not love. When I finally released myself from the questionable, certainty was staring me in the face. Ready and unflinching. Certainty was you. How amazing to be chosen without reservation or hesitation. E-ver-y time.

We form a perfect circle of understanding… we’re on another level!

You ignite me. You co-write me. You love me.” -Jill Scott, Lyzel in E Flat