The Matter Of The Daughter Of Clifford Harris

The Black body is a constant source of policing.

The Black, female body is a constant source of policing, shaming and control.

I wrote a mini series about this called, For A Fast Girl, earlier this year. Click here for that. It is 5-parts, and I encourage you to read that–and come back to this.

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Welcome back!

When I first heard this story, I thought it was a whole joke. I heard about this, and I thought that people had to be playing. The fact that this happened, this happened to a Black girl, a Black woman–as a Black woman–is triggering! It makes me feel a mixture of rage, sadness, and embarrassment.

First thing:  Deyjah Harris is 18.

On the podcast, Ladies Like Us, Clifford (No, he will not be referred to as T.I. or TIP here) was saying how he goes to gynecologist visits with his daughter. Okay, I can ride with that. Let her be responsible for her own body. My first gynecologist visit was when I was 17. My mother was a nurse, an L & D nurse, and wanted to make sure I knew she knew I would not be under her roof always. Meaning, I got a Pap Smear (part of Well-Woman Exam), and my mom got me a script for Birth Control pills.

Me:  “Mom! But I’m not doing anything!”

Mom:  “Just in case you are.”

That was the extent of that. My mother knew that as much as she wanted me to remain a virgin/wait till I got married/wait for true love. The fact is, I was 17. Teenagers make stupid mistakes! She would rather me be safe than sorry. That, and she didn’t want me to be a teenage mother. This is also the woman that told me, and I am quoting damn near verbatim:  “You better stay a virgin till you leave my house! I’m an old L&D nurse:  I know what to look for.”

 

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Bruh, I was not prepared to test that. So I didn’t.

But no, my mother–MY MAMA!–still didn’t come into that examination room with me. She didn’t ask my GYN if my hymen was broken. She didn’t ask if I was still a virgin. She turned the control of my body, over to me.

Now, I cannot speak for the goings-on at the Harris Household in Atlanta, but the Bush household? My mother was aware of all goings-on as it relates to her daughters. I cannot speak for the quality of motherhood that Tameka “Tiny” Harris has given to her daughter, but I will say this. Tiny needs to remind Clifford that the only vagina he needs to be concerned about is hers. All others–including these outside chicks he’s dealt with!–he need not be concerned about.

Deyjah is grown. Deyjah is 18. Deyjah is in college.

If she wasn’t a virgin (an intact hymen is not concrete proof that a girl has not been penetrated), was was he going to do?

The thing that I cannot ride with is him asking the doctor to make sure her hymen is in tact. I cannot ride with him asking the doctor for ‘his results.’ I cannot ride with the fact that after a birthday party, he put ‘Gyno’ on a post-it where she could see it. The fact that he considers his daughter’s body property? That is unsettling to me.

Here is why.

This behavior is the same shit that I grew up in! And I am now 20 years older than 18. Clifford is the type of dude now that he has all this money, can’t no body tell him nothing! He figures he can move in an around the world as he sees fit, because money (ergo, power) insulates him!

In the clip heard through here through the YouTube Channel, King Of Reads, the played details exactly what Clifford said. And how serious he is about this. Keep in mind, this same energy isn’t given to his sons when they start having sex! I don’t remember any news about Clifford taking his sons for STD testing, or making videos on teaching them proper condom techniques! There is nothing in the news about when his sons break the hymens of other women’s daughters, or other men’s daughters.

The Urban Prophet Nasir Jones, said it best on his Life Is Good album–the track, Daughters: God gets the ‘foulest players, and heartbreaker’s by giving them girls. I believe that. The hosts of the show are heard giggling as he is detailing what lengths dude has gone to in policing his daughter’s virginity.

They giggled.

They laughed, as if they couldn’t believe it

They didn’t challenge this.

 

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Perhaps, they have never been called ‘fast.’ Perhaps they had never been told the body you have is a temptation to weak men, and it is your fault if something happens to you in regards to rape, accosting or molestation. Maybe they have never been the victim of a father telling a doctor to ‘check her hymen’ and ‘give me my results.’ Perhaps they have never been told that the body they walk through the world in isn’t theirs. That is both weapon and distraction. The giggling was acrid.

Toxic patriarchy is acrid. And it grows putrid flowers that have the toxic ambrosia of hubris powered by influence! There is something so insidious about what he did to her; what social media is dragging him for; what the internet is doing–to her.

This type of policing of the female form  is often seen in countries where religious regimes are in power. Where women are chattel, to be possessed–as they are feral, wild and more animal that human.

This ain’t cute, Clifford! This ain’t cute, Tameka!

I know there are people that will champion what he did, what he is doing, and will say those that feel as I do are ‘overreacting.’ Or say, ‘these girls are fast and they need their fathers to be involved in their lives!’ I know there will be people whom will say that I, and those that feel as I do, which will dismiss my opinion. That is their right.

Ignoring something that does not make it more palatable. Does not make it vanish. It does not make it less easy to address. Cancer that you ignore, becomes metastatic–meaning it spreads! Bell Hooks said that patriarchy has no gender. I agree.

I am in full support of fathers being involved in the lives of their children. I am in favor of fathers being knowledgeable of how their children’s bodies work. The world is a dangerous, dark and evil place. But, this? Like this? No.

When does a Black woman own her own body? Someone needs to let me know.

 

[Top image from TMZ, middle image-Twitter, last image-AZ Quotes.com]

 

He Put His Hands On Me

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I don’t know if there could be a region deeper than the soul. But, if there were, since there is, he found it.

I laid there in this bed he and I had both filled, and been filled by, and every thought ran back to him. I laid there, wrapped in blankets, rich with his scent. The tears came because I was too weak to stop them this time.

My breasts heaved, still with a sheen over them–a mixture of our sweat, and the saliva from his hunger and kisses. I felt that mixture wick into the sheet, as I ran my free left hand through my hair. The thickness of the tresses made my body clench. I remembered how he pulled my hair. How he commanded me, handled me as he made my body an extension of his own.

Kisses on the nape of my neck, the slaps on my ass. I needed that power. I needed that breaking, and was afraid to admit that. I was his. I rolled in the sheets. This tangled, blessed mess was evidence that what we had was real. It was a fulfillment of every promised whispered.

He broke me open. He he did. He told me that he would. With his body snug and sure inside all of me which was waiting and woman, he found the fortress of my thick, dark hair and growled into my left ear as he took all of me. “All of you is mine. There has never been a time when you were not mine.” He pulled my hair with a force that only someone whom could own all of you could. Not vicious, not hard, but knowing.

My breath was caught until I saw stars, felt the world slow and shift with the melody  of his melding of body to mine. I opened my mouth, remembering to breathe, feeling as if–knowing as if–I was breathing for both of us. I couldn’t be apart from him. Not again, not ever.

It was deeper than this, we both knew it would be more than this. There was a chord within me strum, plucked and unknown, that could only had been found by someone on who knew where it was. I found my eyes, open in the dark, only seeing his.

And I felt it.

This, this, fire that coursed through me. With that latching, I felt my body bloom. My hands moved from the comfort of the slick flesh of his shoulders to the chill of the headboard. I breathed again, eyes glassy and pulse in my ears. His hands found mine, interlacing our fingers.

He kissed me, lingering on my bottom lip. I moved my head towards him, needing to taste him, committing him to memory. His taste. His form. His scent. My eyes closed again, and I fell into an ocean. My body became light, and pull into him–and he into me.

I tossed and turned, haunted by his body and memory. My thighs tingled remembering his hands as he pulled them apart to feast on their meeting. My inner walls still watered as if he were inside me. I gripped the sheets on my bed, and came again. Thought of him, and I, and me and this, and could only howl.

My eyes closed again, needing to pull him back to me. Remember the need in him that called to me, held for me, and I needed that back. On my back, I closed my eyes. I bit my bottom lip, remembering the growl that came from him. More wolf than man. And I loved that.

I found him.

My Alpha marked me.

And I could not wait until I could feel his teeth in my flesh again.

[image from abc.net.au]

Every Girl Got A ‘Guerro’

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I came up on Queen of The South on a Netflix venture. And I am utterly hooked! I watched Season 1 over the course of 2-3 nights. And Veronica Falcon who plays Camilla Vargas?! She is so much of everything! She is the type of b!tch I need become! #Queenpin

But with that being said, and with me watching the end of Season 2 (spoiler alert!), I have one observation:  Guero is never going to be the man that Teresa needs him to be or become who she needs him to be. Why? These three reasons.

 

Timing. In my almost 40 years of living, what I have learned is that sometimes the deepest love comes at the worst possible time. He met Teresa while she was a money changer in Mexico. She was a moll, after she became his girl. He took care of her, and made her feel special. When he died, her life was in a tailspin. But, because of the woman she is, Teresa rebuilt herself, and worked for Camilla. The crazier part? Not only was he not dead, he was a federal informant.

This is why this is problematic.

Once Teresa had to deal with him dying; then coming back in her life, after being labeled a snitch?! I felt for her. I also felt for her when Camilla told her that he was ‘a mosquito that was draining life from you.” Yet, she loved him—but had to move on without him. Camilla told her she was better off without him. But this the rub. You know you have changed! Yet, in the tucks of your heart, this person is there. And a part of you may always want and miss them–to your detriment or betterment. The crapshoot is they may never see you as who you are going to become.

 

Support. Every time Guero showed up Teresa lost her focus. Her heart overruled her head. She wanted this life with him, but he wasn’t in the position to give her anything that would include! If I’m honest, I have been there more than once. It is frustrating to see a future with someone and then have it snatched away because they don’t seem to know what is they want–but don’t want you to change. It is the most infuriating thing on the planet! Don’t ask me to wait and then you can’t catch up.

 

Continuing. The most ignorant thing about this situation because time is still passing. Time is still a thing; it is blessed and unforgiving. At some end you have to realize that the what you want and the who you want with it may never be. I call this the ‘waking heartbreak’. You clearly are in pain, you know why it hurts, and the only way to make it go away is to keep going. You have to live, in love with this person, and living without them. Time heals all wounds is a myth. You begin to heal when you realize that time is irrespective of time. You can dwell on it (the lost, the time, the support), and nothing will change. Yet, time will go on. The moment you decide life is precious and wide and waiting for you, it will begin to change. That loss will not continue to be a loss–it’s a reminder your heart is still beating.

Your heartbeat is the homing signal that love will find you again.

 

 

Surviving R. Kelly- Part 1: The Girls And The Women Whom Were Once Girls

 

I remember when ‘Your Body’s Calling Me‘ was played on the radio and in school dances when I was middle school. I remember listening to ‘I Can Fly’ from the Space Jam soundtrack. I remember how Columbia House would send out the brochures to by CD’s and R. Kelly’s albums were always listed.

I am also old enough to remember Aaliyah. How pretty she was. How talented. I remember how the world whispered about how she and Robert Kelly got married, and were actively having a relationship—while she was underaged. At the time, it was a rumor. Fans knew this was happening, but just thought that it was rumor. At the time of the rumors I was 12, in seventh grade. Just three years younger than Aaliyah was when she married R. Kelly.

When the marriage license appeared with her name and altered age on it, the whispers got louder. Yet, when Aaliyah went on to collaborate with the dynamic trifecta of Missy Elliot,  Timbaland and Magoo, the whispers became vicious urban legends! To the world outside of Chicago, those whispers went away.

I waited until the seething Mama Bear rage settled before I could write any thoughts down. I thought of the phrase used by the writer Jamilah Lemieux in an 2018 interview that we live in a ‘both/and’ culture. This means two things can be applicable to the same person–and both can be true. R. Kelly can be/is a musical genius and a sexual predator. In looking at this documentary, as a survivor of assault, I was incensed. As a mother, I felt helpless. As a woman of a certain age, with certain parents? I was in disbelief.

It would be easy to start this as a tirade against parents and all permutations of caregivers. What often has gotten missed in this, this open sewer of pain, sorrow and disbelief–are the girls. These young women in a society that never sees them as children. Never gives them the chance to be girls. The society by which we live, in its current permutation makes sport of devouring Black women and girls.

When things like rape, molestation or any sexual violation happens to young Black girls, whether by family, family friends or coaches, the immediate thought is not always for her care, but how many people know. Second is the containment:  how can we minimize the damage and people talking about it? The effect of the trauma is not often addressed, recognized or taken seriously.

The young women in this documentary had their innocence taken from a man that most people have on their playlists. The young women in this documentary are seen as liars, scammers and opportunists. They can’t be telling the truth! If they were, if they are, the world has been celebrating a man that was having sex with underage girls and young women for years–and they supported him.

They did the dances.

They bought the music.

And their good time was more important than the girls that were impacted by the man that calls himself the Pied Piper of R&B. I believe the women. I believe the stories they are telling. I believe the trauma is real. I believe too often the Black women and girls are overlooked in matters of trauma.

This is because Black women are seen as built to suffer, to be okay with suffering. It is the suffering and pain that births our power or Black Girl Magic. It seems as if the quicker we can introduce suffering and pain to a Black girl, the sooner they too can be seen as strong and powerful.

This is not so.

This just normalizes abuse and trauma, the two things which are never supposed to be normalized or desensitized towards! For if we are, then we are the same as those that offend, perhaps even bigger monsters than they! In the insidious nature of life after trauma, when someone whom was victimized is not believed this creates further conflicts when new cases of abuse arise! Sometimes when those previous victims are not believed, they may not believe others.

When I saw the interviews and montages of female R. Kelly fans dismissing this allegations as if these young women meant nothing? My heart broke. When I heard women that I work and associate with, say that we should not be focused on this but on other gubernatorial issues? All I could do was shake my head. What more could I do? The community by which has given me so much, nurtured so much, and spoken so much into me–does not have the wherewithal to walk and chew gum!

There is an ability to have a two things be true at one time. The communities of people of color are some of the most diverse in the all the world. And they can be the most isolating and alienating. They can be communities resistant to change, loyal to antiquated notions of tradition and ensconced to the idea of primo geniture.

For all my childhood, I heard two terms:  fast girl or fast tail girls. I am unsure of what any of those terms mean. I knew being fast meant that I was sexually available. I knew that being a fast tail girl was worse! But what I never saw/heard was any derogatory phrases ascribed to men that chased after these types of young girls. There is never enough spoken about the men, regardless of demographic, to be accountable! The #MeToo movement has become the Boogeymen of every wayward behaving man.

However, this does not diminish the long-lasting effects of trauma on young Black girls. Whom then grow up to be Black women whom learn that they have to protect themselves. Be their own advocates. Make their own noise, and become the superwomen they were taught to be because there is no other alternative!

It is not the development of the known form of woman–the things on a woman’s trip to ooh and ahh about–that make a girl ‘fast’. The development, the fascination of the Black female form has been exploitative since Sara Baartman. It is for and because of that lust when girls develop they cease to be seen as young girls. They are sexualized and taught how their bodies are these living temptations, irresistible to men. Rather than enforce how to teach young men the value of women, it is easier to teach the punitive nature of the female form.

How breasts are shameless and legs remain covered and to be kept and the shape of rumps to be disparaged.

A writer associate of mine, Ashley Yates, said this late last year:

“Black women protect Black women.”

We have to. We all we got.