Black Women Have A Love-Hate Relationship With Black Men
Dave Chappelle was my all-time hero.
I spent many a' summer nights eating burgers while glued to the my dad's couch, watching re-runs of "Chappelle's Show."
It was our family thing.
The black Klansmen skit was our favorite, and still makes me laugh.
But it wasn't Chappelle's culturally acute jokes that made him the GOAT to me. When Chappelle walked away from a $50 million-deal and a fan base that worshipped him, I mourned and cheered along with many of the black people I know.
He was sticking up a middle finger to the powers that be, like so many other black people that I love. Watching a black man defy the mainstream in the name of his dignity was like our Hollywood Super Bowl.
When I woke up to his new comedy shows in my friend's Netflix account (ssh!) and his name trending on Twitter, to say I was "happy AF" is an understatement.
The joy left me when I learned his comedy special was full of transphobia and misogyny.
I'm not the same kid I was when Chappelle was popping on Comedy Central.
I've grown up, taken women's and gender studies classes in undergrad, gotten schooled by my black feminist friends, read more books and gotten a damn clue.
Dave Chappelle, as writer Damon Young so eloquently put it in a GQ piece, has not matured with me.
My old fave can call out racialized police brutality, but has yet to grow his politics concerning women and LGBTQ+ people.
Then there's Chris Brown.
He's arguably one of the most talented male entertainers in our generation. The man can sing, dance, act, write, paint, rap, flip, you name it.
His boyish smile doesn't hurt either.
But this man beats women. He just does. And I can't forget it, though I admit, I tried.
Sometimes, I'd cut off his music in disgust, but then he'd put out a record so good that the music junkie in me could not stay away. His latest smash, "Party," pulled me back in.
I've watched the video upwards of 20 times just to see him and Usher dance.
But his violent behavior did not stop when he assaulted Rihanna in 2009.
After reading reports of his former girlfriend, model and actress Karrueche Tran, filing for a restraining order against him, alleging that he assaulted her too, something in me cracked.
There are two black women who have put a restraining order against him for domestic violence.
As talented as Chris Brown is, there are two black women who have put a restraining order against him for domestic violence.
I acknowledge that Brown needs help due to drug addiction and mental illness. An exposé in Billboard, confirms as much. But I'm done supporting his music.
This man beats women. He just does. And I can't forget it, though I admit I tried.
There is also the Migos...
"Bad & Boujee" is a bonafide hit and my MFing jam.
It's feels good bleeding from my car speakers.
The record is southern trap music at its finest and reminds me of home. It is also incredibly misogynistic (as many hip-hop songs are), but I typically overlook it because if I stopped listening to every misogynistic rap song, I'd be left with only Kidz Bop.
It is what it is.
Hip-hop is the music of my culture, retelling the harsh realities of African-Americans, exclusively. As problematic as some of its elements are, it tells my story like no other genre can.
As the genre changes, so do its players.
Southern rap pretty much owns radio stations now and the Migos are the frontrunners of the "culture"— also their latest album's namesake.
They are country kids with thick accents just like me, and it feels good to see them make it.
I winced when I read a Rolling Stone profile on my favorite boys, detailing an incident in which the frontrunner, Quavo, got into an altercation with a woman, who somehow ended up on the ground with her nose busted.
When I caught wind of the epic performance Migos did of "Bad and Boujee" with The Roots on "Jimmy Fallon," my heart bursted for them almost.
It almost felt great to see the country boys "straight out North Atlanta" fight their way to mainstream and get accolades after years of not getting their just credit.
But my face is twisted because I still have questions.
I want to know what happened to that young woman and why they released a statement clarifying homophobic statements they made in the Rolling Stone interview about rapper, ILoveMakonnen, but didn't set the record straight on her mysterious fall.
If he didn't hurt her, shouldn't he want to clarify that?
I'm confused about them but proud of them at the same time. And that hurts just like it does with Chris Brown and Dave Chappelle.
I'm confused about The Migos but proud of them at the same time.
It's not just famous black men.
If I had a dollar for each time I heard a black man degrade or dismiss a black woman like we aren't in the same struggle against racism in this country, I could retire from writing and live like a Kardashian.
In 2015, the following meme was circulated on my Facebook page by black men whose lives I have taken cops to task over:
I have also attended too many police brutality rallies that lifted up the black men killed, but failed to mention black women cops have also murdered or who have died in police custody.
There is only one black woman who became a household name after she died following interaction with police: Sandra Bland.
She actually joined a long list of black women who have died in such a manner with little acknowledgment. I have pointed it out at rallies and literally been told by black men that our justice "has to come later."
It's the same thing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was told about the Civil Rights Movement, and what he addressed in his famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail."
For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never."
It hurts that black men gladly stand next to us at marches when the hashtagged name is a black man, but think our oppression must be dealt with at a later date, if at all.
And I am not alone in my sentiment.
See the following tweets:
Still, so many more black women who peep the misogyny from black men continue protesting and speaking up about how the law mistreats them.
Over 20 black women have been killed by police or died in their custody.
People hardly lift up their names. When the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter held a rally for Rekia Boyd—who was killed after a police officer fired five times into a crowd—only about 100 people showed up.
As an article in For Harriet points out, the rally took place in the same city where thousands hit the streets for Eric Garner just months before. Most attendees were black women and other women of color.
Over 20 black women have been killed by police or died in their custody.
I think it's nice when white people and other non-black people of color challenge racism against African-Americans, but I would be lying if I said I get disappointed when they don't.
Silence is violence and everyone should speak up, but I have grown accustomed to black people managing our own struggles whether other people pitch in or not.
It is when black men are silent that things start to feel lonely.
And it is when violence and misogynistic jokes are thrown in the mix that things get nearly unbearable. Stones hurt most when they come from your own.
But I love them still.