*GET OUT, We Out, Peace Out: Who Did Y’all Think Rachel Meghan Markle Was?

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I don’t know how long this process was in the works, but I in my Katt Williams voice, this is check and checkmate. Prince Harry of Windsor, the Duke of Sussex–with his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, have ‘stepped back’ from their royal duties. Allow me to translate:  “I am leaving as soon as possible.”

Well, played y’all. Well played.

But the thing that I find most amazing is how it was done. Am I mad about this? No, not at all. But I wrote last year, how I was praying for Meghan and Prince Harry.  How I hoped, how I prayed that as formal, as unrelenting as a platform as being a British royal would be, that Prince Harry protect her.

The thing that most Black women are not afforded full privilege of! I remember how I got up and watched the wedding, and how gorgeous she looked, how happy Prince Harry looked–and yet, all of me that is Black and mother, remained coiled. All I could think is, “Don’t let them get her, Harry. Don’t let them get her.”

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'RESPECT Rogue Poledancer @LeratoMannya Prince Harry understands the importance of removing his wife from a toxic situation even when that situation is his family.'

From the press imagining this feud between her and the Duchess of Windsor (Kate Middleton), like they are Fergie and Diana reincarnated, to Prince Harry having to rise up on people that were coming for her, and the coup de gras? Some idiot on Twitter calling Baby Archie a ‘monkey’.

What I need y’all to know is, as woman, as a mother, as a person who occupies that intersection as one whom is Black? It is a miracle that Meghan didn’t burn something down! It is a testament of her grace, and the morality instilled in her that she didn’t become the stereotype of what the world thinks Black women can only be. The glorious thing:  my prayer was answered. Prince Harry protected his wife–with all power he could muster.

It was glorious!

But what I think is so amazing is how shook the world seems to be by their decision! Some men won’t defend their wives and girlfriends to the people at their jobs or crazy family members! So, the world is shook that he didn’t want his wife–HIS WIFE–to be exposed to the same toxicity which contributed to his own mother’s unhappiness? Be for real, y’all. Be for real.

Meghan couldn’t do anything right. She shouldn’t have had a wedding ‘so Black’. She should have worn more make up. She shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. Meghan shouldn’t have looked like she did right after having a baby! From what she wore, her baby bump, even what they named their baby! Dear Lord! How much was she supposed to take?

Herein lies the problem:  the world expects Black women to just take that type of abuse because that’s just what we do. Black women are seen as tragically loving mammies whom desire only to serve others. To die in pain with smiles on our faces–like Georgina in GET OUT. But the brilliant Zora Neale Hurston said this, “If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” As I continue to live and learn, this quote manifests its truth on a daily basis.

In inhabiting this Black woman body, in encountering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune while inhabiting it,  I have come to three conclusions.

1.) White supremacy tells those that follow it that Black people, Black women, are props. We are to be confronted, controlled, and herded to the pasture of a master narrative.

2.) It scares some white folk when Black women don’t just smile and nod.

3.) In asserting any power over self as a Black woman, you have to be willing to go against what folk want  you to do.

The world wanted Meghan to take her Blackness, or half-Blackness with her–and leave Prince Harry; restore him pristine to be made lily white again. The world that hated Meghan–and perhaps hates her more now–wanted her gone, to reclaim Prince Harry. How dare they–how dare she–become, remain sentient, poised and leave where she was not respected?

How dare she refute all tricks and traps to be controlled by and in a world which only wanted to curse her to her face; devour her behind her back?

How dare Prince Harry do what was mentioned in the movie Belle:  ‘wed the exotic’?

And how dare they plot to leave a platform which is quickly becoming archaic? Add to the fact they see mixed in with the people whom disliked his mother on the best days, and served her avarice as ice on the the worst ones!

I am proud of Meghan.

I am proud of Harry.

I am relieved for Archie.

The joke around the internet is on their tour of North America and Canada, they visited her mother. In being in that space, where there was love being served they couldn’t go back to where there was none. I like to believe that is so. I like to believe that in speaking to her mother, as all Black girls do when life is heavy and dark, she was able to just be Rachel again. Not the world famous/infamous Meghan Markle.

Maybe she was able to emote. She could cry. She could be listened to–and she could plan. I mean the Windsors have a sorted history anyway! Exhibit A:  King Edward whom abdicated for Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American; not to mention he was anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer! Never forget, Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles, married the woman he cheated on Harry’s mother for!

Meghan decided to leave a place where they both were unhappy, to make their way in the world together. Isn’t that what any parent wants for their children? The thing is, no one expected Harry to follow her. No one thought this Black girl from California–with the Black Mama with the nose ring and locks–would be able to pull a Prince from the gilded cage of money and privilege! But, she did. They did. And why not?

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It is glorious to see her still retain all of who she is. I think Princess Diana would have liked Meghan. And I think, she would have told her to leave as well. Remember my dear ones, love is action and power. When harnessed together, it is a force of tremendous good. Besides, the world needs to see Black women own their own space, being intolerant of mistreatment. And if need be an necessary, get all your stuff, and leave towards something greater. The age of the Happy Mammie is over.

 

*Special thanks to Hannah Drake of Write Some Shit who reminded me to weigh in. Love you, Ma’am. 

[Images from top:  instyle.com; author’s Facebook timeline; PageSix.com]

 

 

 

 

 

The Matter of Blue Ivy Carter

Before anything else, I need y’all to understand she is a Black girl. And I will not tolerate any disrespect or denigration to her or her mother, or her father. You will be put off this site. -JBH

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I have never understood why the world hated this little girl so much. I mean to the point that the world had something to say even about how her mother styled her hair. I have never, ever understood that.

I, having grown up as an ABG (Awkward Black Girl), I was teased for being smart, tall, too Black, too quiet–everything. And that type of thing is not easily conquered (that God for these 26 letters–they have been salvation more than once). But as it relates to Blue, Shawn and Beyonce’s daughter, the world cannot seem to shake the expected aesthetic it wants for this child.

Enter the fetishism of Black women and girls.

As of this month, Blue Ivy Carter is 8. She’s eight.  I have stayed away from this internet debacle because I thought is drivel and stupid! The ability for a Black girl to be aesthetically pleasing to the world around her allows her safe passage through it. What does this mean you ask? If so, I am so glad you did.

The world does not like when the monolith it constructs for Black women and girls is challenged. It does not like to be both sientent and flexible. As Dr. Brittney Cooper says in her book Eloquent Rage, “Sass is an acceptable form of rage.” The world loves to see us either as model gorgeous like Iman (whom is riding age like nothing known of this world) or like Fannie Lou Hamer. There is no space to differentiate. No space to just be–you are constantly picked at, prodded and told with a smiles on faces exactly what you are not. Or can ever hope to be.

Blue, sadly, is not an exception to this.

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The thing I hope, the thing that grants me such a hope, is the fact her mother and father know exactly who they are–and will not allow her to be anything less than what she is. In a side by side comparison, she looks like her mother–as most daughters do. How dare Blue’s genetics not make her a pretty Octoroon or gazelleesque Creole Barbie? How dare Blue’s genetics produce a phenotype that look like her father first!

To me, I think that’s who she looked like first–and now she looks more like her mother.

From her hair, to how she dressed to how she looked–the world had something to say. Only now, is that beginning to calm down. That calm, quite frankly, is unsettling to me. It’s almost like the wolves have gone further down the path, waiting for her to turn 15, 16–that’s when the extra lewd, trifling comments will come. On queue.

Ask me how I know.

But the difference between myself, my daughters and Beyonce and hers are exposure, visibility and money. I am of the insistent persuasion that raising a child, whom navigates this world as Black and female, is to have a hypervigilance paired with a empathetic compassion.

You have to both shield, protect all while you equip her to deal with a world that may never accept her as she is–and be okay with that. That is hard. I cannot imagine how had that is when you have cameras, bodyguards and the paparazzi is a daily an occurrence as pouring cereal.

Let Blue be. Just let her be.

Her parents allow her to be seen when they want her to be seen. They understand their role as parent and protector. They also understand (or should understand) that precarious position of being uber-visible in and around Black culture:  everything they do is monitored or scrutinized. Including the kids.  What I love, what grants me hope, is they give and have given her space to be herself. She has space to grow, and do, and be and it is glorious. They are raising her, and radically loving her. These elements will ensure Blue will have a sense of self that is not determined by likes, shares or other articles shared on blogs or other social media platforms.

In 2020, can we resolve to love all Black girls the same way? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[first image from PageSix.com, second from eonline.com]

No, Queen Bey Didn’t Have To Stand Up. We Do.

Our Beloved Queen makes even being an a firestorm hella elegant.

With that said, let me say something else first. I didn’t watch the 2020 Golden Globes because I think Ricky Gervais is a more palatable form of the demon Screwtape in the C.S. Lewis book, The Screwtape Letters. Life is hard enough–I don’t need extra shenanigans which is both toxic and crazy-making.

Now, as pumped as I was for Joaquin Phoenix, to win Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture for JOKER, I was irritated to know the world seemed to be mad (again) that Beyonce did what she wanted to do. She chose not to stand when Joaquin’s name was announced.

According to The Griot, she did clap, but she did not stand. Beyonce was in attendance because her song, Spirit (from the album The Lion King: THE GIFT), was nominated for Best Original Song. Now, Joaquin stans are mad she didn’t stand, and insulting her acting ability. Okay. Whatever. But here’s what isn’t talked about:  sis had been drinking, and her dress was huge and maybe standing wasn’t what she really wanted to do. The doper part? The writer of The Griot article, Dawn Onley, can tell you:

She and Jay-Z came to the award ceremony with two bottles of Ace of Spades champagne, also known as Armand de Brignac, the champagne company that Jigga bought out back in 2014, according to Cosmopolitan. Their bodyguard carried the alcohol in for them.

So not only did Bey not stand, they were drinking, they were drinking. And they were also promoting their interests.

Win-win.

I get why the world hates Beyonce. And yet, she moves in grace despite of it! The thing that irritates me the most is people believing she should have stood up–because that’s just what you do at these events. She should be grateful to be in this space, right? She should just do as all the others do–Beyonce is in Rome, right? Do as the Roman do, right?
No.
This is the consistent issue surrounding Black people in White Spaces. The expectation is that all be done to the Master’s specificity:  no deviation, no independent thought. And definitely no room for plain ol’ ‘I just don’t want to.’
The other issue that needs to be address–which I try my best to bring attention to constantly–is this idea of invading White Spaces with more Black people! Any space a Black woman or man inhabits is already a Black Space. It cannot just be those at the intersections of Black, wealth and privilege to negotiate the terms of acceptability. It cannot just be expected that the interest of the unfortunate many be delegated to the advantageous!
We all can do something–we need to stop expecting other people to force that visibility.
Besides, Black women been standing/serving/fighting since our feet touched the waters of these shores called the Americas. I wouldn’t have stood up either.

Let’s Be Real About It, Girls Love Joe! They Loved Theodore Bundy, Too.

I have few guilty pleasures, fam. But one of them is infamous Netflix show, YOU. I must confess, I saw Season 1, before I read the first book. And I read the second book (Hidden Bodies) before Season 2 began not even a week ago!

But as dynamic as Penn Badgley is, his portrayal of Joseph “Joe” Goldberg is amazing and creepy AF! In the first season (I hadn’t read the book, mind you), I thought Joe was cute and smart and the fact he worked in a bookstore? Bonus.

How Kepnes wrote the book, and the writers crafted the story, you overlook the fact that Joe (in the words of the now deceased Guinevere Beck), “creeps into girls’ lives and violating the shit out of them!”

Let me just focus on the show, because the books is so much better, but bear with me.

In the age of instant access, Snapchat and Google Maps, it’s so easy to dismiss that dude Googled the girl–and then showed up at her house.

It’s easy to dismiss that dude followed her schedule through her public posts, and like just happened to show up where she would be at.

Fam. In a parallel universe (i.e. this reality), if a strange man shows up outside your house? You wouldn’t be utterly thrilled to say the least.

But, we love Joe!

He’s well read, handsome, simple, relatively good-natured and tries his best for the woman he’s with! He wants her happy, safe and cared for!

Now, these same things were said about Theodore Robert Bundy (read the Phantom Prince and watch The Bundy Tapes on Netflix).

This image: Black Twitter strikes again!

But…we love Joe. I have repeatedly said I would have dated him because he’s intelligent. I have also said that if I would have been like Beck, and found his love stash/stalker pile in a wall or the ceiling, I would have just left it there! That shit has NOTHING to do with me. And the bad part? I’m not the only woman who has said this! But why do we love him? Why is Caroline Kepnes’s version of Bundy so attractive?

Simple.

We, as women, want to be chosen!

We want to be loved, cared for and lion protected. We want the security of knowing the person we would do anything for, would do anything for us.

Joe killed the dude that didn’t respect or honor Beck.

Joe killed the girl that tried to take her from him–whom he warned Beck about.

Joe also affirmed Beck, told her how brilliant she was; how she needed to do what made her happy. He respected her space (sorta) and her intelligence.

He loved her.

But he also killed her because she rejected his love for her.

But, we focus on the fact he saved her from the train. Put her IKEA bed together, and played Scrabble in her apartment.

Joesph Goldberg is effing dangerous!

But so is the world women inhabit.

The saged and wizened Penn Badgley has continuously said Joe is not a good dude–and shouldn’t be idolized! But, we do, don’t we?

He opens doors, studies you, knows your favorite flower and where you take your coffee breaks. He’s the one. Moreover, you have to check you own moral compass because at some point–I started cheering for Joe! I saw Beck this monstrous thing that had to be destroyed.

Dude.

I told a writer friend of mine that even though Joe is crazy, he needs to stay on squad! I believe there’s a vernacular around these types of activities that says, “I paint houses.” Joe paints houses–but, the thing is, just as he said in Season 1: “We sometimes do bad things for the people we love.”

Shakespeare says, “Love is but a madness.” My father said, “If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazed what he’ll do for you.” When love, broken boys, sex and obsession congeal–you get Henry Hill with a Shax complex. That’s our Joe!

Fairy tales and classic mythology regale us with tales of knights saving damsels in distress, scaling towers, killing wolves and witches to save fair damsels. What we forget is sometimes the dragon isn’t the one you think it is.

With that in mind, there’s a third book to this series being written. I’m anxiously awaiting that release! And I’m still rooting for Joe to get his happily ever after. Why? It’s nice to be chosen. And it’s safer to have a dragon on a leash than out in the world.

Dear Karol: This Ain’t It Sis.

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Dear Karol:

Dearest one, I am glad you are safe and well. I am glad this was all a scam, a caper of sorts. I am glad–for what its worth–you were safe. Also, I am glad that you came back. With that said, allow me to say what I’m sure no one else has been able to–calmly.

Stop running after men. Stop. Stop it now. If you don’t stop now, you will do this your entire life. You will look for affirmation, comfort, adulation and praise from outside sources. Your life will remain a coup of the saddest sort.

Stop. Stop it, Karol.

I know him being inside you, flipping your body, pulling your hair and taking your body to an ecstasy your 16-year-old can barely hold  is intoxicating.  I know it is! Any woman that was ever a girl knows.  The sweet nothings, the thoughts of forever as you hang on to him as he does as best as he wills his body to give.

But this? What you just did? My dearest one, this is not how you craft forever. You are young, and these mistakes are expected of the young. In that respect, I can forgive. As a mother, I am defiantly angry at you. I am disgusted at this perverse plan you either orchestrated or co-signed. Yet, I can understand it. There were other ways, dear one. There were other ways–yet, here you are.

Mothers do not have the programming to be your friend before the age of 25. As daughters, we need all their wisdom, clarity and influence to live and survive! Female children need mothers equal parts satin and iron. We need their softness and comfort. We also need their strength and steadfastness! Your mother is not your friend–stop looking for her to be.

What you have done? This is a stunt. This is a tantrum. With girls that look like you vanishing every other day–whether by stunt, bad decision, fake friends, immigration–what made you think this would be ‘cool’ to do? What you have done is kicked a hole in the relationship between you and your mother. The relationship you wanted ain’t possible right now. The time she will need to get over what you did–will not be quick. Not at all. This is not the kind of lore your family will laugh about until your mother is dead.

The consequences of your actions will go beyond being talked about on-line, blogs or other forums. You need to understand their are consequences to these types of capers:  you cannot go through life raging through it!

This was wrong, Karol. I cannot even express how wrong this was. Bad thing is you won’t see just how wrong this was until you have a daughter. The lore is when a woman has a daughter, however she was to her mother, she will get a daughter just like she was–3 fold. At this point, Karol, I’d pray for a son.

 

That Conversation (Overview)

For the grander overview, click here. 

Earlier this month, I spoke about the “That Conversation” on a Facebook Live. This miniseries as set up because, as a mother of daughters, I have a fear of my daughters going out into the world that desires to consistently devour them. The stories I have heard through the current social climate, as a mother –not just as a woman, scare me. Like most writers, I don’t sit well with fear and uncertainty. The antidote for this being to write. Write through this. Writing through this.

So, the topics will post every week, starting January 4, 2020. Here are the list of topics:

 

January 4, 2020 The Ownership of Me (Body Autonomy in Public Spaces)

January 11, 2020The Wisdom of Better Men (Men Holding Other Men Accountable)

January 18, 2020Talking To Strangers (Street Harassment & Personal Space In Public)

January 25, 2020Looking Back & Forward (The ‘Feminine Urban Legends’)

February 1, 2020What I Want Your Son To Know (Defusing Toxic Masculinity & Toxic Patriarchy)

 

There are certain conversations as women, as girls, are relevant and needed. Those conversations are beyond shoes, clothes and hair.

The Pick Me’s, Wife Schools, Standards & Criteria

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I am not a ‘Pick-Me.’ None of the women I know are ‘pick-me’s. I do not have the strength, time, ability or patience to be a ‘Pick-Me’. When I was actively dating, I wasn’t a Pick-Me! My mother, and father, always wanted me to have some sort of class, decorum and criteria about the men I decided to date. My father, the Urban Prophet Richard Bush, told me two pieces of advice which have guided my dating life:

“Every man you meet, you don’t need to have a baby by.”

“If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazing what he’ll do for you!”

These two pieces of advice have saved me time, effort and money in certain cases! So, imagine my horror–yes, horror!–at these gorgeous, sentient women doing all they can to conform to what a man wants! I mean I thought the idea of a Wife School was a whole, insane joke–until I saw these presenting ceremonies! Until I saw a Black woman kneeling at the feet of her husband while he ate–and she looked at the floor!

Lookahere, Sis. Do you. I ain’t able. Not at all. But what I need you to understand is, not every woman is built for this. I will never tell my daughters, my nieces, grandchildren, spiritual daughters, they need to be the one to conform, to change to suit the needs of a man. My faith tells me that a man who wants a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.

A man who wants a wife, should know what that means! Women are not property–no matter how much sex you pay for, trade for or take. There is no way in all of creation I will tell my daughters to be less than whom they are–or will become–so someone can pick them.

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I get it, Sis. I do! We all want someone to go out with, to make us feel gorgeous, to break out backs on a regular basis. I get it. I do. But at what cost, ma’am?! There are men out here who get off on treating women like this and throwing (errant) Bible at this. Submission, and all that. There are men who are happy to make sport of your devotion–I don’t know how being a side chick/mistress/side-chicking became a whole freelancing career, but that’s toxic patriarchy and internalized misogyny for you.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be married, get married, or being with someone. Nothing at all! My issue with Pick-Me culture is it’s the bastard cousin of rape culture. How you ask? Rape culture doesn’t value women. Pick-Me culture tells women that they are only valuable if they have a man/spouse/partner.

Rape culture doesn’t think women need to be valued; their value is only attributed to what they can give–or what can be taken from them. Women are to be owned, possessed, prized only by what can given from them. Pick-Me culture tells women they have no value other/outside of what is ascribed to them.

I cannot. I will not. You cannot make me.

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The woman I am becoming is confident, happy and has a criteria for the men she lets in her world. I am not an easy lay, I don’t need to pay for peen, and I am the first one to say that ‘this wife thing’ is hard. But, I’ll be black damned if I kneel next to my husband why he eats! I will be the biggest fool to dim my light because he can’t stand the heat of it! I would be bigger ass than a herd of mules to allow a man’s opinion to supplant what I think of myself! What part of the game is this? How did I miss this? What was I doing that I missed this whole ho-side chick-wife school movement?

Oh, I know! I was raising children, building a career, being a sister, building a brand, and finishing a degree and dismantling white supremacy with the alphabet and my own superhero Blackness. I ain’t gotta be picked; my life doesn’t depend on being chose. For the women that depend on that? I guess I think I’m doing this woman/wife/Mama thing wrong.

I am in favor of you giving your all to a man you love–whom is willing to give you all of that back! That type of devotion has to be reciprocated. I still believe in love, great sex (built on intimacy!), and the idea that monogamy is still excellent. I believe being a wife is a call, is amazing and is insanely difficult. Building a life with someone is hard. It is constant, and on the best days–amazing. But it does not make me less of a woman to have criteria for suitors, standards for who I share my body with! It does not make me ‘difficult’ for wanting a career, something for ME, outside of my relationship.

I wasn’t raised to be a Pick-Me, bruh.  I chose me first.