*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
Note: There is a poetry series coming with topic as well. One poem of this three part series will be posted here. The complete set will be in SEND FOR A POET: Poems for Love, Godliness & Revolution. More information will be given for that next week. -JBHarris
There is a power to Sha’Carri Richardson that I am in love with! There is an undeniability to her that I make known to myself and my own daughters. She knows how talented she is, what she brings, and doesn’t care if you can’t get over her full set, blonde hair blends and tattoos poppin’ on all that melanin.
Sha’Carri is not here for what you think.
What I have paid attention to about this is just how the Black community has either rallied to support her, or demonized her for ‘knowing better’. For those not paying attention, Sha’Carri found out that her biological mother died from reporter. She smoked marijuana to deal and still go run. And still won.
Pause:Black women are not given the privilege to deal with painful emotions (such as grief)! We are expected to deal with painful emotions and soldier on. To not do that is doing what ‘white women do’. Here is the origin of the Black Shero mythos. Black women are human–why are we not allowed to be it?
Yet, this fall out of her smoking (and still winning! Don’t forget that part!), the suspension and now the threat of her not being on the United States’ Olympic Track and Field team?
The fact that some Black folk are cheering that she was put off the team–talking about the ‘rules’?
The fact there are even some Black WOMEN who are saying, ‘she should have known better’?
I don’t get this. She had a whole moment of weakness, coped as best as she could, and still performed. This nation loves to support Black women it can predict, that are non-confrontation, who look and do all the right things–then they are crowned respectable. This word creates the dichotomy of respectable vs. ratchet. As much as I love our Forever FLOTUS, she is an example of a Respectable Black Woman (RBW). Any Black woman whom cannot be seen as a RBW, is then (by default) considered a Ratchet Black Women (rBW). One of the worst things to call a Black woman is ‘ratchet’!
Most Black women are taught (myself included!) that if I have a good speaking voice, education, don’t scare White people, educated, pump my own gas, have children with one man, don’t have/enjoy sex, never question the world, know how to be ‘submissive’, cook, keep house, natural nails, and don’t color my hair, etc…then I will be respectable.
Now, that makes you a Handmaiden. I am not a Handmaiden.
We as a culture have to give Black women breathing room, to stop confining us to these extreme dichotomies! Stop limiting Black women to superhuman, mammies or whores! Black women are unique in our experiences, yes, but we are not immune to them! We are entitled to support, love and compassion, empathy, sympathy without having to die to get it.
For those of you whom are following me on TikTok (especially @whatjayesaid/jayesaidwhat) will know that I was been toying with the idea of starting a Patreon again. This time, I am creating a Patreon solely for anti-racism essays and think pieces.
Oh, yes, this is happening!
There will be between 4-5 essays posted a month with the following tiers:
TIER: $3 (Firestarter: Light, Heat & Smoke)
Access to Reading List; essays included
TIER 2: $6 (Nikki Giovanni)
Access to Reading List; Early essays
TIER 3: $10 (Toni Morrison)
Access to Reading List; Access to Behind The Scenes footage; Early essays
The official launch date for this Patreon is going to be July 30, 2021. This will give me enough time to organize all I need to in order to launch this effectively. In the meantime, follow @jayesaidwhat on TikTok. For what I am about to say, for the conversations that need to be had, they will ban my account.
Sis. Noun. Short form of the word sister; a female sibling; term of endearment among women.
I have an issue if you are not a Black woman and you call me ‘Sis’. I do. I always have! I feel the same way when people call (or try to call) me Jenny rather than Jennifer! But that is a different conversation.
In being on TikTok (@whatjayesaid) for almost a year, I have somehow managed to avoid any real dramatic stupidity (a White dude with a lip ring who looks like he never washes his clothes face and a Black man who tried to read me in front of a shower curtain), but I through my bra in the fight (to quote @glammelanin) over the word “Sis”.
It is a term of safety, love and recognizing. It is not meant to be said by people that didn’t understand what it was like to fight for things, have lost things, and move in a world that chooses either to erase you, mock you or steal from you.
Sis is not meant to be said by those outside this sphere. I know there are other cultures that use sis and that’s fine! But for me? Don’t call me sisbecause you don’t know me. Don’t know what it feels like to be ignored by the same world that expects you to be in it—as they see fit.
This thing, our thing, this is just ours. PERIODT.
I NEED ALL THE THINGS TO HAPPEN ON THIS SHOW THIS SEASON!
I stopped my entire life to watch the Season 3 premiere of POSE on FX! I made sure my kids were in bed, that I had snacks, because I was prepared to have my emotions snatched from me.
It was then that I remembered that this was the last season. Then I remembered that there are transwomen being my murdered left and right—including my dear YouTube sister, Jahaira Balenciaga just this month!
I am looking forward to what Ryan Murphy and company do this season, because so far (we have nowjumped from 1991 to 1995):
Blanca got a bae
Papi and Angel are still together
Ricky and Pray together still
Cubby died (Whew, Jesus!)
Pray back to drinking
Lulu got Angel back on that sh#t!
Blanca going to nursing school!
Electra is still shady as hell!
Whew! And that is just the first two episodes! What being a fan is this show has broadened my scope as it relates to empathy. To love and even what it means to be and ally, accomplice or an advocate. You cannot love POSE and not support Black transwomen.
I said what I said.
I know this is about to be so good, I know I am going to cry so hard, and I know I’ll be cussing at the television in two languages again—BUT! That is the power of great writing. That is the power of great story telling. That is the power of representation.
Let’s hope the Emmys get it RIGHT this time. Indiya Moore and Mj Rodriguez deserve EVERYTHING!