Currently on TikTok, there is a war happening. It has been happening for months–MONTHS!
All over what a White person said in the presence of Black people. Read it again. And read it again. What I need you to understand that ‘white catfishing’ is not a new condition! As long as their is racism, white supremacy and white fragility–without accountability!–white catfishing will exist!
One of the greatest cases of this outside of Ms. Millie in The Color Purple, was this creator on TikTok that went by the name of my_doode (as of this posting, he is not on the app anymore). This is the creator that was a stabilizing force during the 2020 Election! I thought he was smart, woke, and proving himself to truly be a part of the fight for social justice!
Then, he had a public fallout with a Black creator. A Black woman creator.
Then, he said that the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant was justified.
Then, he got checked.
Then, he got read.
Then…he quit. And made a video about that. It’s the privilege for me!
White catfishing is always going to be steeped in white fragility and white supremacy–powered by audacity and mediocrity! It is dangerous to movements, progress, healing and anything that looks like equity, equality and access. It must be confronted, vetted and not tolerated!
As a writer, as a minority writer, as a minority writer with a platform, I am a minority writer, who takes great happiness in finding other minority voices, I cannot stress how important this is…how needed!
I have been a freelance writer for 7 years, and a blogger for 5 of those years. One of the most powerful things that I do in running platforms is two-fold: I am creating content and looking for those who want to create! Part of my job as an administrator is to create a place for my own voice. As a writer who is Black and woman, and a Black woman writer, I have to make space! If I do not value my own voice, if I do not mine the strength to make my voice priority–I will not be able to give that strength to anyone else!
In making a platform through my talent and voice, I must be aware that puts me at an unique advantage! I must be able to recognize who can benefit from exposure, from mentorship, and the kindness writers extend to other writers!
I would be lying to you if I said writing was easy. It isn’t. It’s not. That difficulty is amplified when you race is added in the mix! The writing community is so vast, it is so confusing at points, that if you do not have a community to support you…you will quit. What I do to help writers to not quit is to maintain space, remain steadfast and remain consistent. I offer support. I offer guidance. I become the support I didn’t have, creating a community that I didn’t think that I needed. In building this network, in building these platforms, my goal is to show the world the talent that Black writers have.
It took me a week to write this. It took that long to write this because I am still processing all of it. I am actively, equally outraged, heartbroken and in rolling disbelief. The woman I had watched on YouTube for the better part of a decade, who I connected with through the gift of social media–for the better part of a decade–was murdered in her house because she was helping a woman leave her husband.
I am devastated. And here is why.
I was introduced to Jahaira through the YouTube channel MuchLove From KY (Ms. Nina!) who I love like an Aunt also. I liked Jahaira because she was funny, smart, and she changed her hair like I did! I didn’t even know Jahaira was trans until disclosed that. Now, was I raised to be homophobic or transphobic? Not at all. So, Jahaira being trans, was a small part of who she was. What endeared Jahaira to me was her authenticity, her love for the people around her, and her steady committment to make the world a better place.
I followed her YouTube channel (JahairasMission) for years! I celebrated when she got her associates degree. I rejoice when she enrolled in Simmons University to finish her bachelors degree. I was so happy we won her award! She was doing so much good in the world and to have her life snuffed out like this? It is so unfair.
I am reminded of the statistic that she gave when excepting her MOVA award about 3 years ago now. She said that the average age that trans women get to especially transwomen of color get to, is only 35. At the time of her passing, Jahaira was 42,43 years old.
Foolishly, I thought that she was passed that danger point! I thought that she had made it over so to speak. And that all the good in the world that she was aiming to do, the children that she helped raise, the love and legacy that she left—she was going to be able to be one of those trans women they got to see old age and seen the reward of all her hard work. I wanted that for her…
It is being reported out of Dorchester, that The person that murdered her was actually staying with her! He’s now in custody, and I am enraged!
I have been watching her videos on YouTube for a week because my mind cannot wrap itself around the fact that this woman that I knew, who had gone through so much, who was destined to do so many good things is GONE!
It is being reported out of Dorchester, that she was murdered by the estranged husband of the woman she was trying to help to leave him. He wound up killing Jahaira and his estranged wife!
This ain’t right. This isn’t fair. And I don’t know how I’m coping. I can only imagine how her mother feels! Jahaira DeAlto is the 21st trans woman to be murdered this year. Yeah, even in all of my grief and anger, I’m choosing to do the very thing Jahaira reminded us all as her sub tastics told us do: LIVE.
And with that four letter word, let that be her legacy. She encouraged us all to live and live unapologetically. Owning every last piece of our truth, embracing every flaw that we have, and celebrating every victory!
What I think is missing in this conversation around inclusion, equality and equity is the ‘A’ word: ACCESS.
None of these things can be given, granted to acknowledged without access! This 6-letter word is powerful, and it is the world by which has allowed freedom and bondage; education and illiteracy; life and death. These things are no exaggeration–and are granted by access!
There cannot be progress, or progress, without access. This can come through information, resources, and networking–again, access!–which allow all the magic of progress and forward-moving for us as a society! Access is the skeleton key for all of these things.
Access is the defined as permission, liberty, or ability to enter, approach, or pass to and from a place or to approach or communicate with a person or thing (thanks Merriam-Webster!).
Without access, there can be no inclusion.
Without access, there can be no equity.
Without access, there can be no equality.
Access is the key to the house we all desire to live in–and makes the world a better place.
I write this part as a cis-het, Christian, woman whom is a mother, and hope hustler (minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ).
With that established, let’s get it!
1.) You cannot tell me that this young man is not hurt and isn’t lashing out. I have heard the hellfire sermons as it relates to homosexuality. They have never sat well with me. This is the only ‘sin’ there is no grace given to or for. The gospel of Christ is a hammer, yes—but it was never meant to massacre! Imagine being told as you live your life, the source of all things will turn His back on you. That is a nightmare! People forget that love draws, hate divides! Guess which was the last thing Christ told us to do? I’ll wait.
2.) This video was meant to be divisive. The vibe I got watching this video was to make people mad. He fully embraced this identity as a pariah. Completely and utterly outcast from society as Black, gay man—the video celebrates everything in his reality that will ostracize him elsewhere! He is celebrating the fact that “all gay people go to Hell” and pole dancing the whole way there! That is a boldness without equal. Then to simulate sex with Satan, only to murder him(!) and take He’ll over?! Like Crowley on SUPERNATURAL?! Fam!
I don’t think y’all get that: He. Just. Trolled. God. That is a different kind of hubris, I don’t have—or could ever want. His arms are too short for that smoke.
3.) There is an artistry to this video that is undeniable. It’s a pretty video! Very avant-garde! And the creativity that went into it is amazing.
4.) The ownership of your complete self is a process—and when done well? It is incredible!Since Lil Nas X came out, he has made it his mission to accept himself—regardless of who said what! With the state of the nation being what it is, he fact he has been able to do this, done this work to ricochet outinto the world? You gotta admire that.
5.) It is a middle finger to heteronormativity. As the transactivist Diamond Stylz says, “It’s gay as fuck.” This video was a treat for the eye, with no video vixen in sight! His self-love, acceptance, with no need to compromise. Bruh.
6.) The video is a demonstrative of the cost to of living the life you want! This young man is a successful, openly, gay Black rapper. I cannot imagine the smoke that came from just that! And peep the double entendre: call me by your name! Basically, call me what you want—it doesn’t matter! Whew!
7.) The game is afoot, Watson. Understand (again) that this young man is playing a role. Understand this is about money, clout and marketing! The more pressed you are, the angrier you are, the more he cashes checks! I refused to be pressed about this because I know the agenda! The world said/says he is a demon destined to go to Hell? Bet! And made a sneaker line to boot? Chile! You better understand what the real issue is and how to handleit! Not sure what the issue is? Re-read Part 1, and all these pieces again.
“The goal of the artist is to disturb the peace.” -James Baldwin
“You can’t live without crossing somebody’s line.” -Lafayette (Nelson Ellis), from TRUEBLOOD
The people I know cross genders, expressions, and religious backgrounds. I mean, my own father told me that there was no God! One of the closest men in my life is actually an atheist—married to my best friend whom is a recovering Catholic (her words, not mine). I, myself, I came to believe in Christ at 8, baptized at 16, called to ministry at 30, and believe in Christ (born of a virgin, crucified and coming again). In the midst of that faith journey, let me be a little more transparent.
I’ve had premarital sex. Been divorced. Had impure thoughts. Stolen stuff. Lied. Lied on people! I have a past and a God that understands! But God that at my lowest points, when I called Him—He answered me. It is with they adage, and familiarity with my own shortcomings that I make it a mission to not “take God” from people. I don’t have that right—neither do I want it!
Enter Lil Nas X.
With full transparency (and age) I had to admit the reason I didn’t listen to him was he took a piece of Nasir olu dara Jones’s name as his. I knew then I would be too old to listen to him! Yet, in the interest of being an involved parent, when my kids starting singing ‘can’t nobody tellme nothing’? I had to know who this child was!
Enter CALL ME BY YOURNAME.
I saw the video on YouTube after seeing segments of it on TikTok. After watching it, I won’t lie—I was unnerved! I looked at it through the eyes of a concerned Mama Bear. I thought, “This child is really content on going to Hell, huh?! Why?!”
Then, I took a deep breath…and looked closer.
As pretty as the video is, my takeaways are here. But let’s get back to these observations.
The video is unapologetic. The video is trolling Christianity and Christians. It is a middle finger to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It just is. However, beneath the trolling, there is more there. And it is indicative of Newton’s third law of motion:
“For every action, there is an equal, opposite reaction.”
This video is just that. Am I bothered by the video? No. Did the video shake my belief in Christ? No. Would I let my kids watch it? No. Lil Nas X is trolling Christianity through making himself a Satan caricature the vehicle/ vessel to do it. Why? Look at what he said (first image)! How would you feel if an institution with so much power and influence continued to condemn you, and others like you, because its doctrine said it could? Conversely, offering grace, love and hope to everyone else—BUT NOT YOU?
He got the entire planet pressed in less than five minutes—literally! He, through the vessel of art, is owning all that he is, and embracing the dogma of homosexuality being equated to the only irredeemable sin worthy of Hell! The only one we need to clobber on, be the only concern the church has. He has fully embraced this and declared (through his art!), “If imma go to Hell like y’all say? I’m going to do what I want, and when I get there? Imma take that bitch over!”
With that level of don’t careish, he has declared what he wants and marketingit as such (see the the limited edition numbers blood Nikes which are $1000!)! This is game, and Lil Nas X is looking at all these pressed Christians…and laughing! It’s classic rage farming—and trolls do this!
The question we need to ask is, what is the church going to do? Not about Lil Nas X, but how the church treats ALL God’s children we are supposed to love, teach and instruct?
I have been separated (soon to be divorced!) for 10 months. In that time, I have not been pressed about seeing people! Frankly, I don’t want to be seen and not really concerned about people trying to see me. There is a fear in me that doesn’t want to date. I mean, I really don’t want to! There is no reason to! I am loving my own company, loving being able to command my own time and space. I don’t have to be anywhere, being anything to anyone when I get there, and I have no desire to put myself anywhere.
There are girlfriends of mine who tell me that it’s time that I start dating. There is no rush. There can be rush. Why? I just don’t want to. I’m not sure if that makes me mean, wary, or just a bitch. I’m still trying to figure all that out. But, the thing that I find striking about all this healing I’m doing is that I am becoming honest with myself. I am learning that the most pure form of love I could have for myself is to not lie to myself again.
I have lived almost 4 decades, man! In that time, you would think that I would have learned and applied something. What I have noticed is it is easier to be involved with someone else rather than work on myself. And right now, I want to work on me. I don’t want to be bothered with someone else. I don’t want to be concerned with the whims and moods of someone else! I am selfish right now. I am not apologizing for that. All I want is all of me. I don’t want to, I don’t have to and I have no desire to. Right now, my time intimate selves are both commodities–rare and exquisite. Until I am ready to share both, I’m cool right here–healing and not worried about someone thinking of swiping left or right on me. I chose me, no one else matters.