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For The Culture

We Support Black Queer Youth. Including Zion Wade.

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Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union supported their son, Zion Wade, at Miami Pride and there’s something I need our community to understand — Until you value ALL Black lives, you don’t believe Black lives matter.

Growing up as the daughter of a Black man who stated he would disown me for my queerness, I celebrate the love and support Dwyane and Gabrielle shower Zion with. It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and something that should be afforded to everyone within the LGBTQIA+ community indiscriminately. However, several troglodytic, backwards people believe that rather than protection, Zion deserves correction.

At 11-years-old, Zion Wade has expressed ownership of his identity. I applaud him. When I was 11, I was a victim of the same ridiculous banter all children hear. “Look at you and [random heterosexual boy], y’all are so cute together. I can’t wait until y’all grow up!” The same people who push children into heterosexual relationships without question are currently asking “How old is Zion? Isn’t he too young for this? How does he even know he’s gay?” as if queerness ebbs and flows like the tide. As if his identity comes later in life like a Pokemon evolution. The level of homophobia in the Black community during a time when we are losing more children to suicide because of their queerness and our community’s refusal to accept them is baffling.

It is difficult enough in this country to survive as a Black person without the added stress of being shunned by your own community. So many queer people find themselves without unconditional love, which results in them fleeing hostile living conditions and facing homelessness. And we have the audacity to wonder why children like Jamel Myles die by suicide at the age of 9.

If you are unable or unwilling to show up for queer Black youth, you’re just going to have to square up in 2019.

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For The Culture

Summer Walker & Social Anxiety

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For The Culture

Is T.I. Ok?

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For The Culture

Summer Walker Says We Don’t Deserve Her…And She’s Right

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Summer Walker’s recent Instagram post aims to remind us all to step away from the superficiality of social media and remember we’re only human.

In an age where people exploit “Love, Light, and Positivity” through discussions involving mental health and support, toxicity toward those affected has never seemed more prevalent. Conversations regarding self-care, emotional maturity, and navigating anxiety or depression seem to flood social media in ways that both normalize and trivialize the conditions. While the public perception of mental health is changing for the better, it seems our behavior does not match.

Social media has allowed us to become more accessible to one another but over time we forget there’s a living, breathing, feeling entity on the other end. We become crass, callous, and act without regard for another individual. In that ignorance, we forget that access to each other is a privilege and not a right. For someone like Summer Walker, who has reached their limit with public criticism, denying others access is no massive effort.

“Y’all Can Have The Music & Imma Just Head Out”

Summer Walker has always been candid about mental health. During her concerts, she often pauses to address her social anxiety while encouraging others to push toward their goals. Although she’s continuing to navigate the music industry and face her challenges head on, she recently made the decision that her first tour will be her last – partly due to social media criticism. Saying, “I’ve decided y’all don’t deserve me” Walker intends to distance herself from the public’s gaze upon the conclusion of her tour.

Following immense criticism for her Tiny Desk performance and hygiene practices, Summer penned a caption on Instagram in an effort to remind people she’s “just a regular person.” Believing people’s values are skewed, Summer said public expectations of her are too high and she has no desire to be in constant competition with the world. “Everyday/everything isn’t a Miss America bad b*tch contest and I don’t feel the need to put others down to stay relevant.” Adding that people are really disconnected, she said we’re hiding behind apps, filters, clothes, and other things that distract us from who we truly are. Imploring others to apply equal effort in enhancing their spiritual appearance along with their physical, Summer exposed the lack of self-acceptance and performative empathy that has affected so many.

Girls Need Love

It’s great to place so much emphasis on the importance of mental health care and showing up for your “strong friend”. But it isn’t truly being applied when your solidarity is so visible in theory but not in practice. People who experience social anxiety are not exempt from what causes it through the use of social media. For creatives, the irony of their work providing so much happiness while they often struggle with mental health issues is not lost. While Summer’s fans are hoping she does not refrain from producing music in the future, she’s made it pretty clear she has no obligation to shrink her emotional boundaries to please anyone besides herself.

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