New Year, Same War Cry

 

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It’s a new year, and as much as I wanted to begin my first 2019 blog with something motivational, something inspirational, I found myself needing to vent, needing to purge, needing to wail the same war cry I’ve always bellowed:

“Protect Black Women, Love Black Women.”

2019 started with multiple stories detailing the assault against black girls.

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First, there was a video going viral on social media showing a black girl — Yasmine James — getting assaulted by a white man while working the register at Mcdonalds. The white man — Daniel Taylor — reaches ACROSS the Mcdonald’s counter, GRABS Yasmine by the collar, and violently PULLS her back to the counter. Instinctively, James defended herself with a series of blows she gave Taylor. Her co-wokers watched James defend herself for quite some time before mildly stepping in and telling Taylor to stop. What started the quarrel? Taylor was upset that there were no straws readily available to him, which led to a heated conversation with Yasmine.

 

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Second, the R. Kelly docuseries aired on Lifetime and chronicled the horror stories of underage black girls who were manipulated, brainwashed, and muscled into an illegal, sexually abusive relationship with the R&B star. The docuseries led to a flood of commentary and criticism from the public. There were many within the black community that overlooked the alarming evidence produced by the documentary and defended R.Kelly while chastising the victims.

 

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Third, 7 yr. old Jazmine Barnes was killed during a drive-by while out with her mother and sisters. Jazmine’s mother was shot as well. The shooters claimed it was an act of “mistaken identity”. Jazmine Barnes’ murder caught national attention. Based on a criminal sketch of the shooter, it was believed that the killer was a white male. To the surprise of many, the shooters were black. 

 

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Fourth, today it was reported that in North Carolina, 51 yr. old David Bell — who is 6’5″, 250 pound white dude — stood in the center of an altercation with a group of black girls while standing outside of a mall. He gets into verbal combat with an 11yr. old black girl  and violently pushes her away. Upset that she was pushed, the 11yr. old girl aggressively walks up to Bell, and Bell heavily PUNCHES her in the FACE, and the little girl is instantly knocked to the floor. While the girl lies immobile on the concrete, the group of spectators scream and flee the scene.
Pause. Let me breathe.

First, I will address the two white brutes who viciously attacked two young, black girls. These animals — they are not men — have no respect for black people, especially black women. Their strong distaste for black women does not surprise me considering the brutal history of this country; however, to be so bold, in this day and age, to publicly & violently abuse a black girl — a child — is beyond comprehension. No matter what the verbal exchange was, neither one of these girls did anything that would warrant such an assault. At the end of the day, these were GROWN MEN who, instead of handling the situation like mature adults and walking away, decide to fight these girls as though they were men. They acted as if these girls posed a serious threat to them, which they didn’t. 

The black consensus has been that, had these two girls been white, their safety would have never been discarded in such a manner. To be white is to be human — it means that your life is worth more in the eyes of society. To be black is to be un-human — it means that our existence holds little value in the eyes of many, and is, therefore, not protected. To know this cognitively is one thing, but to see this truth visually re-played over and over again is another thing entirely — it’s traumatizing.

 

Lastly, I will address the black brutes who also violated the safety of black girls.

What the f*%k is wrong with you?!

As African Americans we know what our struggle has been and we are aware of the war against us. Why then would we commit war amongst ourselves? R. Kelly is a sick, tortured monster who has emotionally, psychologically, and physically infected young girls with his same illness. He leaves these young girls as zombies — the walking dead — totally disconnected from themselves and the life they once had. And the fact that there are black people still willing to listen to his music and refuse to let go of the idea of this R&B “genius” is absolutely enraging. To ignore the truth shows an unwillingness to prioritize the life of black girls.

And the goons who killed Jazmine Barnes are lowly fools caught up in a familiar killing cycle that continues to take so many black lives. I also find it really hard to believe this whole “mistaken identity” non-sense. How can you pull up to a vehicle and not see a woman in the drivers seat with her kids in the back? Something about that excuse makes no sense to me.

We have experienced so much trauma in the black community, that we are now passing that trauma on to each other. But we know too much now to continue the abuse, to continue this idea that black women and girls are not worth protecting. If the world will not come to our defense, then it’s expected that the black men in our community will, in fact, come to our aid. But, alas, not enough black men come to serve as a place of refuge and security for black womanhood. Those voices of support and love sound faint and need to grow louder and stronger and more consistent. We need to see more black men provide a shield for us — not against us.

Until this happens, black women must do what we have always done, and that is to pick up our daily armor of whatever scraps we have been given and protect ourselves once again.

 

 

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I Am Not From Wakanda

 

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I absolutely loved black panther. The thoughtful and beautiful showcase of black people, black beauty, black strength, black ingenuity, unity, and power were real things that few writers and directors prioritized showcasing before. I applaud Marvel, director Ryan Coogler, and all those involved to bring such a project together. This movie made history, but more importantly, it allowed black people, black children to see their image exalted on a major platform. They saw their image reflected back at them in a way that highlighted black people and black culture — african culture — in a positive light.
With that said, I would absolutely love it if Wakanda were a real place, even more so, I would love it if I were ACTUALLY from this amazing country. But here’s the truth —
I am not from Wakanda.
I don’t know what’s been going on, but lately men — black men — have been making comments jokingly suggesting that I am from Wakanda. 

It’s story time.

Story#1: About a week ago, My girlfriend and I decided to go out to this club/lounge in downtown L.A. The lounge was real cool and the crowd there was very diverse. There were latino people, asian people, black people, white people — it was cool. We were all there to get our groove on to some 90’s R&B/Hip-Hop. So there we were — me and my friend — getting our lives on the dance floor, when suddenly I was approached by this white guy who wanted to dance with me — let’s call him Eric. Eric had a really positive vibe about him and he was interested in just having fun and dancing. I welcomed Eric as my dance partner and we had a good time, we danced to, like, five songs which is unusual for me.

Then Eric’s black friend comes up to us and starts dancing with us — let’s call him Michael. After introducing himself, Michael begins to brag about Eric, “Yea my boy here is about to graduate from UCLA Medical School!” I respond, “Wow, that’s awesome, Eric, Congratulations.” Then another R&B jam comes on and Eric and I start dancing again —with Michael standing by. Michael keeps urging me to dance with Eric. However, keep in mind that I’ve been dancing with Eric for the past FIVE SONGS. What Michael really wanted me to do was “back my ass up”. He wanted me to twerk, to break it down on Eric. But I was not about to do that.

Then, gesturing with his arms, Michael says to me, “Come on Wakanda! Come on Wakanda!”
I stopped in disbelief.
Did he … did he just say, “Come on Wakanda!” to me??!! As if that were the motivation I needed to back my ass up on his friend?! Oh, hell naw!
Meanwhile, Eric was so busy getting his life on the dance floor that he didn’t even hear what Michael said. I had two options at this point. 1st option: I could set Michael straight and give him ALL the words he had coming to him. 2nd Option: Ignore Michael and dance with Eric like I had been doing all along. I chose the latter. First of all, it was way too loud in there, and If I were going to read Michael and set him straight, then I needed for him to hear EVERY SINGLE word. Second of all, addressing Michael meant that I would have to disengage with Eric who I was having a good time with, and I didn’t want to kill my own vibe.
But I have time today. So I will address Michael and all the other “Michaels” out there:

1). I would expect that comment to come from an ignorant white person, but not by a black man — someone from my community who shares the same culture, history, and plight as I do in this country. Someone who I would assume would not make a statement like that because they know how dumb that would be.

2). The Black Panther is an awesome project , and the women in the movie are bad asses. So DO NOT associate me with Wakanda unless you are referring to the intelligence, beauty, and strength of black women, which the movie showcased. Do Not associate me with Wakanda in a mocking tone as to suggest that I am some type of caricature from the movie. I am not a caricature. I am not an exaggeration, nor were the women in the film.

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3). As a man — especially a black man — don’t you EVER push me up onto your white friend as if I am some type of black exotic that he should sample or partake of. I am not a sample. I am not some black fetish to promote. I am not here to fulfill some type of black stereotype that would have me twerk or gyrate for your buddy. I am not here to perform or dance for you. I am not on some auction block to be examined. I am no Hottentot Venus. You have me all the way twisted!

4). As my black brother, the hope and the expectation is that you would protect me and stand up for me the way black women have always done for black men. Instead, you subject me to being nothing more than a piece of ass, a body that has less value in the eyes of society and, therefore, gets no respect, no protection, and no love.

5). You are an embarrassment.

Now I don’t want to make it sound like there are no black men out there who wouldn’t protect and value me and other black women. However, there are also men like Michael who simply don’t value us and this read is for them.

This was not the first time a black man used a Wakanda reference with me. Prior to the first story I just mentioned, I had another encounter.

Story #2: It was All-Star weekend here in Los Angeles and I decided to attend a day party that had an Afro-beat theme. I was excited because I really enjoy dancing to Afro-beat music and I knew the DJ well enough to know that the music would be good. Given the theme of the party, there was a large African attendance — Nigerians, Ghanaians, Cameroon, Senegalese, etc. I was walking towards the bar and I was stopped by a Nigerian guy named Uche. Uche stops me and with a pretty thick Nigerian accent he says, “Excuse me, excuse me … but are you from … Wakanda? Me and my friends have been wondering.”

His question caught me off guard and I chuckled a little bit. I told him that I was not from Wakanda and then Uche says, “Me and my friends, we are intimidated, I don’t know why.” I kindly tell Uche that I didn’t know why he was intimidated either, and that it appeared to be a personal problem that he had to reconcile. Uche seemed pleasantly surprised by my answer. He then proceeded to ask for my number. I kindly told him no. He persisted. So I told him I would take his number. We chatted for a bit, he told me he was a doctor, I told him what I did and then after a few minutes of idle talk, I excused myself.

Now the interaction I had with Uche was different than my interaction with Michael. The interaction was different because the energy and the implication behind their comments were different. Michael’s comment associated me with a black female stereotype which prompted that I dance and back my ass up on his friend. Uche’s comment associated me with black womanhood which had to do with beauty and strength. They both connected me to Wakanda, but the consciousness by which they did it was different.

I need my black men to remain conscious of how they interact with black women and to understand that their actions and their words actually MEAN SOMETHING to us. We need their support and love. We need them to have our back. We need them to see us for who we really are: Black Queens.

Stay woke my brothas. 

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