I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t wanna write this piece. Because I’m still quite upset that Earl Simmons is no longer in the world. I was a fan of DMX starting in high school in early college (late 1990’s, early 2000’s). I liked his gravely m voice, his linguistic dexterity, and he said exactly what he wanted to say! A trait every writer can get behind. But remember: rapping is still just poetry in its elements in at its function. Poems are just a form of quick storytelling – – so why would rap be any different?
And losing him, the world has lost something precious. We all know about the drug abuse, we know about all the kids, we know what the drama with his babies mothers—but he was talented!
He was worthy of love and to be appreciated just as he was. The one thing that makes me so irritated, that is so heartbreaking about his passing, is the world wanted to focus on his drug use, not his work. But this is always the case with Black artists who die before their primes—before truly realize their potential.
They are remembered for the tricks and traps of fame and fortune; those being used in trying to fill holes that they never fill, and didn’t cause. These traps are worse than anything the SAW universe could dream up!
But the one thing I can say that I miss about Earl Simmons, about DMX, is that they won’t be another one like him. And I’m glad things are being put in place now to put his work out. To release or we release songs in certain cases things to Swizz Beats.
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!
Before we get started, let us get some terminology:
Catfishing is when someone sets up a fake online profile to trick people who are looking for love, usually to get money out of them. A catfish is the person that does this.
Performative allyship is still oppression.
Know this. Remember this. Share this.
In this Cold War Civil War social justice movement we are in, the new thing now is allyship. Being an ally. Are you a ally? Should you be an ally? In the justice of that, in the wanting of justice, it is impossible to do the changes the world needs without help! In acknowledging that white supremacy and white privilege exists, the dismantling of oppressive systems can only happen when those with privilege admit they have it, and use it for the betterment of those that who do not have it!
The killer part to this is the rash of performative allyship, there is a hyper vigilance with those whom are working for change! It must be! This is most often seen on TikTok (follow me on TikTok–@whatjayesaid)! In the almost year I have been on this app, I have seen people whom have been thought to be allies/accomplices whom have been found out to be neither! Yet, they used social media and the work of social justice for clout.
Black. Lives. Are. Not. Clout.
Black. Lives. Are. Not. To. Be. Used. For. Clout.
Vetting for those whom are not Black into Black spaces, to help (read: not take over!) movements and their progress, is necessary! It is needed! You have to know who is with you, who isn’t and who is faking–it is those who are faking/constructing personas of social justice whom are the most dangerous.
Trees have fake, weak and dead branches too. That’s why you have to prune them.
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.
In February 2020, I talked about how discouraged (read: afraid) I was to start dating after the ending after of this last relationship. Then…I got on Facebook dating on a whim. You favorite was (almost!) the victim of a catfish. So, I got brave and made a profile on Facebook Dating. I made one before, starting trying to date someone—and that fizzled as quickly as it started. After random men offering lackluster and fervent sexual favors, this guy calling himself Kenvy inboxed me.
I admit it: He was handsome. He was sweet. But something wasn’t right. Now, I am a fan of the Alice In Wonderland live action movie. There is a portion of the movie, near the end, where before Alice can defeat the Jabberwocky, she has to believe 6 impossible things. Now, I had to notice those same impossible things in order to not be swept up in nonsense.
This dude, Kenvy, told me that he was a “USA Marine” and he was in Africa at the moment (Impossible Thing #1). No Marine I know says he’s a USA Marine.
This dude told me that he had a daughter named Berry (Impossible Thing #2) and her mother was not in her life. (Impossible Thing #3). We talked for two days, and he kept repeating himself (Impossible Thing #4). He sent me pictures, and asked me to download WhatsApp—I did. I mean, my best friend is on it! The app is free, too! So, I acquiesced because he was cute.
Aside A: This is the fly in the ointment, with me and ‘Kenvy’. I’m a writer. I am a student of history. I also have been researching romance scams for the past couple years. I am also fan of the MTV show Catfish. I am also a year from 40. I am not that easy to fool.
We exchanged pictures. He told me after talking to me two days that I was what he wanted (Impossible Thing #4). Kenvy told me that I was beautiful, and he could see himself getting serious with me (keep in mind, we were only talking like 2 days—Impossible Thing #5). In sending him pictures, he even started dedicating songs to me! Bruh, slow up! One of those songs being Perfect by Ed Sheeran (Impossible Thing #6)!
Curiouser and curiouser…
Keep in mind Perfect was a song that has significant meaning—by someone incredible! But let’s keep going. The whole conversation felt rushed! I asked him when his deployment would be over. He said, “Next month.” At the time it was late April—the month of May was in literal DAYS. When I pressed for details, he couldn’t give any (Impossible Thing #7). I asked why I couldn’t hear his voice—he told me some BS reason that was so convoluted that even I can’t match it (Impossible thing #8). He said the reason why he couldn’t call me was because it wasn’t safe or secure (Okay, maybe.). Then he asked if I would be willing to give him my number to give to his commanding officer to have it be verified (Hell Nall! Impossible Thing #9 and #10).
WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE?!
So, all my antennae are up at this point! I can’t hear his voice, sentence structure is off, he’s repeating himself, and the pictures he sent don’t jive with where he is supposed to be in the world. My immediate thought—I am being catfished.
Wanna know what I did next? I waited on him to ask me for money. I felt that was coming and intuition rarely fails. In two days, this cat is talking about marrying me, kids, and wanting to always be here for me.
Aside B: I am secretly fascinated by romance scams! I have been researching them for a while, because I wanted to know just how victims are sucked in! From that research, from that second hand knowledge, I was prepared.
I. Was. Prepared.
He texted me through this shady ass app, and the dread was in my belly. I knew it was coming—this man only an illusion. But then, I realize what hooked these other women—attention. The overwhelming attention when there is nothing else granting it to you!
Then he had it…the audacity. He asked me to send him $200 on a eBay gift card to pay his Wifi (Impossible Thing #11). He said he would pay me back “when I get home (Impossible Thing #12).”
I told him to never contact me again. I told him how dare he ask me to send him $200?! He seemed hurt and confused, but he left me alone. Then, I felt the dread. Wondering about the pictures I sent, about whether my picture will be in this scam next time…and that person not be as smart.
Feeling stupid has a frequency, and other consequences…beyond screens.
Note: The pictures sent to me include a child who is probably his daughter. I don’t feel comfortable sharing them. He might be a serviceman and I pray his safety for him and his daughter.
Black women are some of the most incredible human beings on the face of the planet. We are. We are the Dora Milaje!
That Sisterhood, both mythic and ancient, bought by blood and time—we are amazing. That word Sis is ours! It is that recognition of each other, the divinity in each other—it is activated by the word Sis.
That power cannot be wielded by unbelievers! It cannot be transferred by those who cannot see Black as divine. White women cannot have this space, accessing ourlove and power because she feels she can. This is ours! This space is ours! This love, this security, this inevitable protection in this space.
A Black woman is more that what she appears to be! And will always be! It is up to the Black women of this Sisterhood to approve the worthy of access to that word, that space, to those whose melanin quotient doesn’t match our own!
We own this space.
We will not apologize.
Your whiteness is not a guarantee for approval, access, and acceptance! We own us now. We are of our own purchase. We are Queens again, your fury our thrones.
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!
Being the OBF is dangerous. I said what I said. You, as a Black friend, in the ashes of Orange Thanos, you need to be mindful and critical of whom your friendship group is! Consider this your first and last warning in regards to your own tokenism.
I do understand that with the expansion of educational opportunities, remote working and job expansion, that it is impossible to keep the same friend groups, or have those friend groups be homogenous! I am saying being mindful when you are consistently the OBF in a friend group. There is this sense of awareness that you have to develop which allows you to be cognization of what is, what is not, and what will be. Let me break it down this way.
What Is. Being the OBF is sometimes isn’t avoidable. No one moves in this life without needing, talking to or even befriending other people. However, being the only ANYTHING in a community or a friend group, is—concerning. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself, “Why am I the only one that looks like ME in this space?”
What Is Not. In the interest of honesty, remember that every friend is not an ally and a ally is not always an accomplice. The world is too dangerous for you to not know who is on your side! There are too many stories of OBFs in situation where they needed assistance or to be verified by someone else (aka someone non-melaninated) and–weren’t! Be mindful of this, because once it is shown to you, it cannot be unseen.
What Will Be. The danger that I speak of in regards to being the OBF is the ever looming threat of tokenism. It is the threat that whenever something happens in the culture or to them, you will either be either excuse to continue microaggressions, or ‘the Black friend’ they know. Don’t allow yourself to be set up for failure because there are people in the world who don’t think diversity and inclusivity matter. Yet, these are the same people believe since they are friends with you they have met both requirements.
Just like when you were younger and you were told to look both ways before crossing the street? Look around before you get invited into the all-White friend group with no mirrors.
In the grand scheme of things, I can honestly say that I have never been the Only Black Friend in my friend group. For this, I am grateful. In the current climate, I cannot imagine being the Only Black Friend in friend group in the age of Get Out and the hellish reign of Orange Thanos! Being the ONLY anything in a friend group at this point is dangerous.
There are cases in the media now (and some not in the media) of Black folk either out with a group of non-Black people and something happening to them–yet ‘no one knows what happened.’ If bullshit was a mountain, No One Knows What Happened is its foundation and summit! What I am not understanding is why this is the aspiration! It is neither my want nor desire to be the only anything in a friend group purely for safety reasons–if nothing else! The world at large is entirely too unstable, too dastardly, too capable of erasing all people that look like me for be to be anywhere, with anyone, who is unwilling to vouch for me, look for me, or protect me if something were to happen!
My intention is not to fear-monger. My job is to be light, heat and smoke! I would be a disingenuous to not explore this topic light and dark! There is an element that is totally based in uncertainty–rightfully so!–when you are the only anything in a friend group! Friend groups are supposed to provide protection and support. In the age of people chasing clout, false-flag allyship, in the wrong place we will all be looking like Chris did when he was looking at Rose for his keys.