I am female, fiery and unapologetically Black. I'm in no position to mince words, so I don't. This writing, this craft, is what I delve in, drown in, and seek to master. From that mastering, comes portions of the divine through light and screen or ink and paper.
I invite you all on this journey of thought, conversations and other benevolence life has to offer.
You can also follow me on Twitter (@authorjbharris) and my networking page on Facebook (Jennifer P. Harris).
Thank you for stopping by and remember to live, love, write and repeat.
If you haven’t already, follow @whatjayesaid2.0 on TikTok.
In the year that I have been on TikTok, I have been a part of this social justice, pro-Black, womanism, and anti-racism.
I love it here. Sometimes.
But, it was when I got embroiled in relationship/Pick Me TikTok? Oh, baby! The talk of how bad women are, how we (as women) don’t love men, and how we (as women) need to be more ‘traditional’.
Hmph. Then, I thought of what exactly is a traditional woman. Why? I didn’t know any! From that conversation, came stories like this:
If anything, stories like this remind me that (1) the idea of a traditional women is steeped in white supremacy and (2) women are completely incredible! There is nothing traditional about women.
From that, came the LOVE OR WAR series on my page. It is 130 stories…and growing! Stories from or about women from all walks of life—told by the children, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren of those same women!
As of December 31, this book will be compiled into an ebook available on Kindle!
In doing this, I believe I am honoring their maternal ancestors. Besides, some of these stories are too good not to share.
Man, have I miss you all! I have missed this space, I have missed the accountability of this writing space and the power therein. But, where have I been?
It feels like I honestly can’t say. Or as the OG’s that I know would say, “I can’t call it.” But in the two, almost three months that I have been gone have been…hard. The power that I needed to do what I knew I was supposed to–ran out, and I ran from it.
But yet, not stupid trolls, ex-husbands, whiteness and racism will not stop me. It cannot stop me.
I rested. I cried, I prayed. I’m back.
There are books to write, a world to show up in, and white supremacy to dismantle!
*Written in response to White women demanding solidarity with this abortion issue (the Heartbeat Bill) in Texas in September 2021. This is dedicated to all the Black women whom keep saving the world from people determined to not have us (Black women) move in it. -JBH
from how you touch our hair as if we are some foreigner animal and then tan to have skin like us, and call us dirty?
white women we see you
we see you on how you teach your sons to never to touch our daughters but yet your fathers have children who look just like us
white women we see you
we see how you go to voting booths and claim sisterhood and then vote for interest in power that mirror the power that you have been so accustomed to that you are afraid to be without because then that would make you not special-
we see you how you look at our sons
and then cry when they have done
nothing wrong except exist in a space that you thought a black child should not be in-
white women we see you
we see how you excuse your sons to take the rifles of their fathers and grandfathers and then exterminate people as if they are roaches in the kitchen.
White women, we see you.
and then you are mad because we are loud, and yielding in equality of both fought and promised, but you have contempt for us?
white women we see you
we see how you have disgrace the memory of our foremothers whos milk was in forefathers mouths miles as if she were some dumb cow-
White women, we see you.
you see, we have always seen you
we have always been taught of your monstrous natures and to be told or seen
You see this allyship that you want?
Is not easy—wounds generations deep and you all have banded together at every turn for the sake of your own power-
like your fathers and grandfathers and patriarchs before you too desire to write your face across everything that has color in it thinking by doing so do you indeed have conquered would they have not.
And in true fashion
and a true form
we see you
from from ancestral bloodlines
Over office cubicles
to the way you cry to HR when we don’t speak to you when we come in in the morning because you cannot conceive that life has not always been subject to you
white women, we see you
It was the mothers of our mothers who taught us her daughters—the real witches who survive being burned, who survive being lynched, skinned, sexed, sold, in and made to be wench and Mammie-to talk to smile while dying on the inside—the matches struck so the heat can pass through time and blood to the unnamed us whom where coming—and now here.
I, like most adults, am on social media. I have been in Facebook about a decade, Twitter for about 5 years, Instagram for a few years (I forget out about it often), and at the urging of my best friend, am on TikTok. In October, I will be on TikTok for a calendar year.
And what a year!
In the last 90 days, I have been banned on TikTok four to five times. With this last ban, I was banned for about a week (6 days). When I actually got access to my main account (I’ll explain that shortly), it took 2 hours after the allotted time to get access to it. When I did, I was greeted with this:
Oh, yes! Your eyes are not deceiving you!
When I saw this, I laughed. I cackled, actually! As I sat and posted content on my main account, I thought about this. In this digital age, in the age of Black people and people of color being targets of oppression, hate speech, public murder and other social abuses, what do most minority people do in order to bring light to these things? They take to social media! What do most people do whom dislike this type of activism do? They block or mass report a particular account to the powers that be.
Which brings me to the tool of main accounts, backup account, and this practice of social media lynching.
Main account. Lots of people on social media have these, it’s not new. This is the account you most frequent, that you use most often, and where people are most likely to find your content. My main account on TikTok is @whatjayesaid.
Backup account. These are the accounts that people have due to careers, family or hobbies. These aren’t often used, but they are used in case you don’t have access to your main account. My backup account on TikTok is @jayesaidwhat. I made my backup account in preparation that I might need it.
Now, let me define what this idea of Social Media Lynching is (this is seen on TikTok alot!):
Social Media Lynching is the practice of suppressing the content/voices of minority people (especially African-American people) whom actively use their voices, or position, to fight racism, discrimination, erasure on a social platform only to be banned (silenced) or have their content suppressed, accounts taken, or platform sanctioned.”
Jennifer Bush-Harris, 9.3.2021
This lead me to this iconic quote from Ida B. Wells Barnett:
If they cannot get us with nooses, they mass report creators whom are ‘problematic’ or ‘violate community guidelines.’ We are punished in this public way, on a public forum, on a free app, because we as Black/African-American people, dare to speak about the issues that effect us individually or a whole!
In putting this warning label on my main account (which as of this posting is over 30,000 followers), is indicative of why most African-American people on TikTok have multiple accounts. Much like those of the Civil Rights Movement had code names, and why in activism circles the rule of thumb is ‘trust, but verify’.
In keeping us quiet, the goal is to punish us, shame us, or scare us into not speaking out anymore!
The strange fruit isn’t just in Southern breezes and trees! It is attached to phone plans and homescreens; updated and integrated into daily life! There are those such as myself with multiple accounts that they use for professional reasons, and the fear of the ‘permanent ban’ is always looming because this happens most often to Black content creators! The fear of having what you worked for, what you built, taken from you because there are White people that don’t like what you say, what you fight against, disliked the information revealed to empower—having that power being taken from you is present!
The lynch mobs have hoods and smart phones!
Through mass reporting, the catalyst of the process of silencing you begins! And once you have been reported on an app (in this case TikTok), even old content being reviewed can to reported, and the bans become more frequent!
Again, my last ban before the one which ended on 9/4/21 (after 6 days), was 6-weeks before, and that was for 3-4 days! And we won’t talk about shadowbanning!
This is not by accident, though. It never is! Silencing African-American people in public ways, threatening space, livelihood, bodily harm (can’t forget the death threats via Direct Messaging!), is not new–social media is new! Like our ancestors before us, grandparents after them, we aren’t going to be stopped by who didn’t like what we have to say. We won’t be stopped by whom trolls, reports, cries or comments because they are emboldened by their racism–thinking it is equivalent to/better than any lived experience they have not lived, or education they cannot hope or desire!
I have a great many opinions–and even write some of them down. Besides, they wouldn’t try to silence me, if I didn’t have something to say.
This series is for every woman, and for every girl that still doesn’t see herself represented enough in mainstream media and film. This piece is for every Black girl, whom is now a Black woman, whom still doesn’t see enough of herself to be full. This piece is for my Best Friend, Marissa–the founder of The Awakenings Project.
I am a dedicated Blerd.
I was reading by 4, drawing by 6, writing by 8 and writing poetry by 10. I had a father that could quote Star Wars, loved science fiction, and taught me the world was bigger than Missouri. I had parents who never hid the fact that I was Black, whom never taught me that being Black was a bad thing.
I am also a Black woman, whom was once a Black girl, born in 1981. I remember what Disney was like before Princess Jasmine and Princess Tiana! I remember what it was like to not see anyone that looked like me–Black and girl–on television. I remember what it was like before the MCU was a thing, before the cultural event of Black Panther, and before the only goddess a Black girl saw was Ororo Monroe! I remember, and that wasn’t so long ago. With that said, and I say this with love–and the boldness that love gives: Marvel, especially the MCU, has an issue with powerful women. On, and off screen.
It is no secret that most of the female led movies Marvel has produced (before Black Widow) have not done that well. On of them in recent history is Dark Phoenix. In the comic, Jean Grey is an Omega level mutant (Google that), with rich backstory! And they took all that power and hallowed her out–in X-Men 3 and in her standalone movie! Do you know how frustrating it is to be a female Marvel fan and see this? And see it happen continually?! Yet, this plays into the other theme that is apparent in this movie as well–the world will continually try to assert itself among women and girls, telling them–us!–whom we should be.
Through the lens of Natasha Romanov we see exactly what it means to be under estimated, overlooked and ignored. When a girl becomes a woman and does not see herself in the world, how can she know what to become? Even in conversations with other male comic fans, I have heard them say this movie was ‘a throw away movie’ or ‘they should have told this story sooner’. Yeah. About that: PANDEMIC.
Nevermind the fact that Black Widow fits in right after/during Avengers: Civil War. Nevermind the fact that she is one of the more well known Avengers (even though Wasp is integral in forming of this group)! Nevermind there are little girls all over the world that made Nat at part of their girlhoods! You cannot take that from them! In the fallout of the inevitable greed that surrounds these superhero movies and their demand for ROI, we see that Scarlett Johannson is being seen as the villian for wanting her fair share of money from the Avengers franchise? Barring COVID-19, why can’t they pay Scarlett, but you take a WHOLE risk on Robert Downey, Jr? Oh, okay. Separate issue.
Yet, the MCU is now in Phase 4. And the people that should be sticking up for her aren’t–shocker there! However, to me this one of the reason why Marvel will not create/produce more female-lead movies! As diverse as the Marvel Universe (from Marvel Comics, the true source material for all of this!)is, it can be seen and assumed that misogyny is still in the room–right along with racism. These two things are always the enemy of representation!
There is no need to put forward what they do not believe will be profitable!
What can be done? Well, the writing rooms need to be more diverse. There need to be more female directors, producers, storyboard artists, and female characters cannot be ornamental until they are functional for the appeasing for the male plot! We are ornamental with out bodies being the focus, and not the talent (check the evolution of Nat’s outfits).
I want more back story about the Red Room; I want to know where the Black Widow came from. Whom was the first? These are things that I need to know, and are reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the show was so much better than that halfway good movie with Luke Perry)! Again, another conversation. Should this be a show? Maybe. But people need to remember the words of Queen B: “Who run the world? Girls.”
So, what do we need to do to run it? Write ourselves in it!