For Caucasian Girls who have considered co-opting culture when their own is not enough. Appropriation is not appreciation. Girl, bye.
It’s International Women’s Day, a day of celebrating the many advances of women across cultural, economic, social, and political avenues. For Black women, our celebrations are often short-lived, as we are the most disrespected, unprotected, and neglected group in the United States. Netflix must quietly agree with that sentiment because their actions are beginning to speak louder than their words. We all know Mo’Nique deserved better and that Tiffany Haddish deserved more than $800k for her series, so we shouldn’t be surprised that Rachel Dolezal got a seat at the table. Ms. Dolezal, known for disguising her fetish for Black culture as a racial identity crisis, allowed herself and her family to be exploited for two years in what seems to be an attempt to repair her public image. Much to her eldest son’s chagrin, she continues to cry foul as she paints herself a martyr for a culture she’s co-opted. If this trailer is a warning of what is to come, I suggest you spare yourself the disappointment.
It’s called ‘rebuilding’
Black women are doing an amazing job at reclaiming what is ours. We’re the most educated demographic in the U.S., we’re advancing in more male-dominated fields, and we’re representing ourselves in the media to script our narrative of empowerment…but not without the likes of Rachel Dolezal and people that share her beliefs to ride our coattails to success yet again. After being ousted from her position as the president of the NAACP chapter of Spokane for living a white lie, Dolezal continues to struggle. She failed to patch her web of deception and repackage herself as something she could profit from despite changing her name. Remember Nkechi? Me either. Anyway, she still lacks the conscience to see herself for what she is, just another thieving culture vulture.Familiarity with a culture, no matter how immersed one lives, does not give them the right to claim it as their own. You are a spectator. Have a seat. Click To Tweet
The Rachel Divide
The reach of her delusion is not only affecting her own income and self-esteem, her children are met with the wrath of the wronged as well. Although her children are biracial, I imagine they faced an identity crisis due to their mother’s racial passing. Like Sarah Jane in Imitation of Life, Rachel exists in a perpetual sense of dysmorphic double-consciousness. She sees herself through the eyes of Black society and measures herself according to what she thinks she knows about us, constantly striving for something that is unattainable. It’s a sad thing to have no love for yourself or your family, but my pity ends where her lies begin.
To be honest, it’s exhausting that we are still framing our conversations about race and equality around the misdeeds of people who abuse our culture under the guise of appreciation. It’s disappointing that Netflix is providing Rachel with a platform when there are other, more interesting, more talented women of color who deserve the chance to shine…but I guess that’s Rachel’s M.O., isn’t it?
Will you be watching this blackface abomination on April 27th? Are you boycotting Netflix now? Do you feel bad for her sons? Let’s talk about this in the comments.
Dear Steve Harvey
21 Savage to be Released from ICE Custody on Bond
Thanks to pressure applied by grassroots community organizers and lawyers connected to the #Free21Savage movement, the rapper has been released on bond.
Following news that ShaYaa Bin Abraham-Joseph was detained by ICE and subjected to 23 hour solitary confinement, leaders and legal experts partnered to petition for his freedom. With 450,000 signed petitions collected from sympathizers, the team of allies braved the cold to deliver them to ICE Field Director Sean Gallagher. Refusing to allow the petitions to be placed inside, organizers and involved protesters stood beyond the gates chanting for justice in the pouring rain. Their hard work bore fruit for 21 Savage, but their fight is just beginning. Determined to take things further and abolish ICE, community organizers want equal justice for those without celebrity status.
He Will Not Forget
Lawyers representing 21 Savage released a statement following the announcement that the rapper had won his freedom. Stating that the artist wanted to send a “special message to his fans and supporters”, Charles H. Kuck, Dina LaPolt, and Alex Spiro expressed the following:
“While he wasn’t present at the Grammy Awards, he was there in spirit and is grateful for the support from around the world and is more than ever, ready to be with his loved ones and continue making music that brings people together.
He will not forget this ordeal or any of the other fathers, sons, family members, and faceless people, he was locked up with or that remain unjustly incarcerated across the country. And he asks for your hearts and minds to be with them.”
This is our fight
It is incredibly important that while celebrating 21 Savage’s release we continue to credit the individuals who do this work consistently and remember the faceless who are still in detention. Georgia is among the top five states that detains the most immigrants. Sharing the unfortunate statistic with Texas, California, Arizona, and Louisiana, Georgia holds 3,717 immigrant detainees.
While the U.S. government does not maintain reliable immigrant detainee demographic information, data collected by Freedom For Immigrants shows most victims of this system are between the ages of 26 and 35. The average length of detention could be as little as six months or extend past four years. Locked in private prisons or city/county jails, nutrition issues, medical neglect, solitary confinement, and sexual abuse are among the list of documented abuses that immigrants endure. With the largest immigration detention system in the world, ICE contributes to this profit-driven system.
It is my personal hope that the eye-opening experience of 21 Savage has made the abolition of ICE a necessity for Black Americans who had previously sidelined the ordeal.
Catch Up! We Are Celebrating Women, Not Hating Them
It is past time for female artists to have the same, or better recognition from awards organizations. But their acclaim should not come at the expense of another person’s pride.
In a previous article, I discussed the lack of solidarity in rap regarding the continuing fight for women who have yet to receive their seat at the table. Despite being equally, or better talented than their male counterparts, women who rap are consistently pitted against one another in a show of misogyny. Feeding into this beast, BET recently tweeted and deleted a post that they believed was shady enough to be well received. Instead, it serves as a stark reminder that for women, there is still a long way to go.
Learn from this.
It’s hard to believe that just six days ago, that inspirational clip of LaLa Milan went viral. Speaking at a panel for Power Star Live, the emerging comedienne said the following:
“Unfortunately, in our culture we automatically put each other against each other when we’re in the same industry. It’s horrible. You see it every day on social media — ‘Who wore it best?’ ‘Oh, she’s funnier.’ All that stuff like that, but, it’s like…What people don’t realize is when we can all come together as a collective, you automatically have magic.”
Well said! So, how did we go from understanding there is room for everyone to eat, back to the pits of starvation? In a word, misogyny.
Last night, Cardi B celebrated a career milestone only eight other women of rap share. She won a Grammy. Taking home the award for Best Rap Album, Cardi has cemented her place among the genre’s elites by becoming the first woman to win the award solo. Instead of merely congratulating Cardi on her monumental achievement, BET saw it as an opportunity to belittle Nicki Minaj, who has yet to receive the honor. As a network that hosts their own awards show for Hip Hop, you would think BET could do better than perpetuate a negative standard that plagues 37% of rap lyrics and effects every female artist in the game.
When it comes to what is considered an acceptable standard for women performers in any genre of music, one must admit the bar is set unrealistically high. The level of imagination and creativity that is expected from a female artist is beyond what is expected of men. Indeed, after seeing Travis Scott’s Super Bowl “performance”, you could say male artists are allowed a certain celebration of mediocrity. Still, they are more heavily awarded and more easily accepted in the genre that now stands on a foundation of misogyny/misogynoir.
Let It Go.
The longstanding tradition of pitting female artists against one another for drama or ‘catfights’ is dated and should have been put to rest long ago. Women who have made it to that tier of status within the entertainment industry have made it clear that they are queens in their own right. Their successess and shortcomings need not be weighed against one another unless it is for comparison within their own career. And to attach Nicki Minaj to Cardi’s win as an insult was unnecessarily tacky.
In the words of LaLa Milan, “If you’re as hungry as me and you stop trying to starve those around you, we can all eat.” There is room for everyone.
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