All Articles Tagged "black women"
Gabrielle Victoria On Being A Plus-Size Traveler And Creating Black Girl Fly: There’s A Need For A Space For Women Who Look Like Me
last year we teamed up with Black Girl Fly to feature profiles of Black millennial women who are taking the world by storm, one plane ticket at a time. Since many of you loved the column, we decided to speak with the woman behind the site, Gabrielle Victoria, who initially launched the site to write about her personal life and weight-loss journey while she traveled but eventually opened up the space so all Black women who love travel like her can share their experiences. During our interview, Gabrielle dropped some essential gems any woman on the international go should know, whether she’s embarking on her first or twentieth trip. Read her sage advice, below.
MadameNoire (MN): Why did you create Black Girl Fly?
Gabrielle Victoria (GV): It was by accident! It started as [my own] personal journey for me, between a travel and weight loss journey. Eventually, I realized there was a need for women who look like me traveling the world, doing something totally different than what we are used to seeing Black women do.
MN: Why do you think travel has become such a big thing for Black women in recent years?
GV: I think because we see so many negative images and representations of Black women or Black people in the media. So, when you look at the Travel Network and you look at the different stations that show travel, they never represent us. It’s like we are not there, like we are these imaginary people who never go anywhere in the world and we just stay in our little inner-cities. We don’t explore, according to the media. When in actuality, we do. We do go places. We’re open-minded to culture. We are here. We’re not invisible and we’re not just staying at home.
MN: Have you or anyone else who has contributed to Black Girl Fly been discriminated against while abroad?
GV: I’ve had unique experiences. One was weird; I was in the Dominican Republic, at the beach in a resort and there was a family next to me. I was on my phone, minding my business, and this guy strikes up this conversation about going to Memphis, Tennessee and how he doesn’t want to take his family there or certain places in Georgia because it’s so “ghetto.” He was just bashing the Black population of these major cities in America. (The whole family was American) and no one thought I was also an American. Until one of the kids asked me, “Hey! You have an iPhone?” And I said, “Yeah! I do!” and I spoke perfect English. [Afterward] they all just scattered, like, “oh no! we got caught!” So I have situations like that in Black (or brown) countries, they assume I’m local and they talk freely. I hear so many things.
MN: What has been your experience as a plus-size traveler?
GV: That was a major concern [when I first started to travel]. I heard all the horror stories of how you have to buy two tickets, but thankfully I haven’t. [Some] airlines or the stewardesses make it a bigger deal than it is. It doesn’t have to go to a point where you dehumanize someone or embarrass them on a plane in front of a group of people. No one wants to go through that—be it a plus-size person or someone with a disability. [Also], in any country I’ve gone to, no one has looked at me like, “Oh! Big American!” I’ve heard the stories, though. I heard in Asia you’re more likely to run into [things like that]. I do believe in certain cultures they’re more accepting of you (as a person). A lot of places have bigger issues than [observing someone’s size]. In fact, it’s actually good in some places because people are like “You must have money!” They look at it like you’re doing well in life. [But], it has caused me to challenge myself. I think there are a lot of negative stereotypes about plus-size people when it comes to traveling. People think they’re lazy or not motivated. I’ve hiked volcanoes, went up mountains; my weight has not interfered but actually push me to become more fit and more healthy as I travel.
MN: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned while traveling?
GV: My most important lesson would be: You don’t need all the “things.” Let go of things. You’re going so much happier without things. Traveling really has simplified my life. Not just that, you got airlines charging you a ton for your luggage now, so, it really forces you to think about what you really need. What are your essentials? And you carry that logic over in other areas of your life. Like, what is a want and what is a need? And whatever is a want, I put off—I don’t even see it anymore. I used to be a gadget freak. I kept up with every phone and every piece of technology. Now, I’m selling stuff. Like, I don’t need this big camera! [Laughs] I’m fine with my little point and shoot. It takes the same quality of pictures. Same with my phone! It will work until it doesn’t work. It has made me less of a consumer. I’m not so engulfed in wanting things, anymore. I want experiences.
MN: How should travelers navigate sharing their experiences with family and friends; especially when their loved ones are dismissive of what they’ve learned on their trips?
GV: I gave up on “convincing” them about my experiences. I realized people will never understand until they have the experience for themselves. Especially when you’re dealing with someone who hasn’t gone anywhere; in their mind, everything you’re doing is a fantasy. Everything you’re doing is unreachable, it’s something far off and you’re a fluke! [They believe] it was an accident that you were able to do it. Just by living your life, according to your new truth, I became very “namaste” as my mom calls it (when I began to travel). I just started living my life, differently. I became very simple and focused on self-happiness. Don’t focus on convincing them. Live your new truth. Encourage them to give it [travel] a try. And don’t let them disrupt your new peace. Don’t do it, you’ll lose your mind.
North Carolina A&T’s Black Women’s Swim Team That Went Viral For Defying Stereotypes Is Losing Their Program
I learned about the North Carolina A&T swim team this past weekend.
A colleague shared a story about them on her Facebook page, and I clicked, taking me to ForHarriet. Little did I know, quite a few people had already circulated the images, shot by photographer Kevin L. Dorsey, that would go viral of the ladies’ creative team pictures. The women were celebrated by many, primarily for the fact that these young college students, these beautiful Black women, defy the stereotypes and statistics about Black people not being able to swim, as well as stereotypes that Black women won’t mess with the water because of their hair concerns.
Well, psych your mind and make your booty shine as they used to say because these women are doing just that and a whole lot more.
As I grew more and more excited about the ladies and their story, after doing some digging, I was sad to see stories out of North Carolina about their program being on the rocks. A team that exemplifies such a positive image and message has literally been recommended for ousting time and time again. And according to head coach Shawn Hendrix, who has been with North Carolina A&T as the women’s swimming coach for 17 years, their 2015-2016 season really will, unfortunately, be their last. They will continue to swim until the end of February.
“We actually announced three years ago that the program was going to be discontinued,” Hendrix said. “So this is the actual last year. They’re replacing our sport with golf.”
According to Hendrix, since she’s been at the school, each athletic director that has come and gone has wanted to replace swimming. She’s fought long and hard, as have members of the swim team, but things didn’t turn out as they hoped.
“When the new AD came in, after his first year, he decided to bring golf in and let swimming go,” Hendrix said. “That year, I had recruited like nine swimmers. So I said to him, it’s going to take you a while to A) get a coach, B) have that coach recruit if you’re going to be competitive, so why not allow us to finish out these three years? So we were able to finish with a high graduation rate with the sport. These kids have committed to us, and they don’t have to transfer because they were here on scholarship. So he agreed to it, and he kept his word. That’s kind of how it went.”
And no it’s not a funding issue as one might assume. According to Hendrix, it’s just the nature of the game in college sports these days, especially at HBCUs.
“It just happens in athletics,” Hendrix said. “No sport is really safe anymore. We have universities that have lost football. It’s an administrative decision, the powers of above, what they decide, what direction they want to move athletics into, whatever they think fits. Howard will be the last HBCU women’s swim team, and we actually swim against them on February 6, so that’s going to be a big meet.”
To be clear, Earl Hilton III, director of athletics at North Carolina A&T said in a statement in 2013 that the move was based on the fact that the school’s sport’s conference doesn’t sponsor swimming.
“Our swimming program has produced great athletes and outstanding citizens in our society,” Hilton said. “Many of our swimmers have been tremendously successful after graduating from North Carolina A&T. We must, however, move our department to where every athlete has the opportunity to compete for a conference and NCAA title. I don’t see a scenario where the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will sponsor swimming in the foreseeable future.”
So men and women’s golf it is.
According to Hendrix, after initially fighting to get the program to stay through petitions, news stories and more, the ladies, who will continue to have their scholarships honored, are actually handling the dissolution of their program well.
“They did everything they could the three years we had to be active and they tried to find support to keep it,” Hendrix said. “But what I’m most proud of is them accepting that, okay, this is it, but not having the ‘poor me’ syndrome and just really working hard and being positive. They call themselves ‘The Last of a Dying Breed,’ I call them my ‘Legacy Ladies [laughs].’ They’re holding their heads high. They’re going out determined to break school records, so it’s been a lot of fun to coach them.”
So despite the not-so-happy ending to the story of a team who just had everyone talking online, Hendrix says she’s proud of her girls and has even learned a lot from them. As can others.
“There’s the saying, I think it’s ‘God grant me the wisdom to know the things that I can change and the wisdom to know the things that I can’t.’ That rolls off of the lips really nice and sounds good, but to apply it? That’s a different story. And I think these ladies were really good at that,” Hendrix said. “In a very positive way, they really fought for the program. But when they realized that we’d done all we can, they didn’t just give up. They accepted it, but they accepted it with the pride that if this is it, they wouldn’t have one single regret. And as a coach, that is a pleasure.
She continued, “For them to have the tenacity that they’ve had, I’ve learned some things from them. I’ve been here 17 years and I’ve fought every year to keep the swim program. Every AD came in and told me they were taking it. So, I think they kind of helped me with that as well, to kind of accept that this is it. And if this is it, the best thing you can do is leave them with a powerful message of, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.'”
Every week, on Thursdays, we publish our “Working While Black” column where we detail the instances of racism, prejudice and micro aggressions Black people experience at the work place. But today, we stumbled upon a working while Black piece that just couldn’t wait until Thursday.
ToraShae, whose handle is BlackMajiik on Twitter, told a story that went viral just a few days ago. You might have heard about it by now because it was brilliant. It all started with a promotion and a new coworker “Mayonnaise Monster” who pretends he can’t be bothered to learn or pronounce her Black name.
What he didn’t know was that ToraShae, wasn’t going to take the insult lying down.
See how it all unfolded in the story below.
“Married At First Sight” Experts Say Black Men Don’t Want Black Women, Paul Carrick Brunson Says Check Your Ignorance
The myth of the undesirable Black woman will just not go away. Instead, it continues to rear its ugly head in the most unexpected places, like FYI’s hit docu-series “Married at First Sight.” The show is pulling their own version of a Psychology Today stunt.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the premise of the show, a man and a woman who have been matched by a panel of experts, marry each other “at first sight.” Meaning, they meet and marry their spouse on the same day. The couple move in and live as husband and wife for 90 days before they have to make the decision to either stay married or get a divorce.
The idea sounds wild but it’s not that much unlike arranged marriages. And the show is incredibly entertaining.
Still, after today, I’m giving the network and their experts the side eye.
In a video, where the experts discuss and decide which men to cast for the show, one of the experts said:
“Many of our African American men have no interest in marrying an African American woman. Many of our African American women want husbands who are of the same race. They are successful, they are ambitious, they are beautiful. We want to have the opportunity to match them.”
There was even a montage of three Black men who said they preferred not to be with someone of their own race and then three Black women who said they preferred to be matched with a Black man, as proof.
As many times as we’ve heard and seen this narrative, I should be numb to it. But still, watching it, I felt a sense of betrayal and then sadness for these brothas and their latent and blatant self hatred. And really, that’s exactly what it is. There is no other way to slice it.
But some of this is FYI’s fault. And relationship expert, Paul Carrick Brunson, took to his Facebook to cape for Black Love and scold the “Married At First Sight” folk in the process.
Brunson said that though he highly respects the expert in the video, he could not support what she said, especially when the greater implications of her words are hurtful and harmful to the community.
“This show, that has an incredible platform has done something incredibly disgusting…
This segment shows everything that’s wrong with television when it comes to these dating reality shows. This is like a travesty that this happened. And the reason why is because they did it simply to get people talking, to demoralize us and to be provocative. This is the reason why. And it’s very irresponsible to do this, why? Because it’s not factual. It’s not supported by any data.”
An expert for the show contacted Brunson explaining that the statement was referencing their applicant pool specifically and not a statement about the nature of dating trends in the general population.
But then Dr. Joseph Cilona came through and tried to insult Brunson. He wrote on his Facebook page:
It should be emphasized that these comments are in reference to African American men in our applicant pool. [A total of three men.] There were no generalizations made to other populations…or claims that our experience should be made to other populations. However, you might be interested to know that we observed this to be very clear and a specific trend, not only in our matchmaking attempts in Atlanta for season 3, but also in both season 1 and season 2 in the New York area. We consistently had an abundance of what we considered to be rather amazing African American women and little to no African American men to match with them. In addition, very frequently, African American men in our applicant pool across all three seasons expressed deal breakers around NOT wanting to be matched with African American women. Whatever this might or might not represent in terms of the greater population is certainly up for debate and interpretation. I encourage you Paul to rematch the clip that you referenced and listen more carefully.”
Dr. Cilona got a little trill.
But Brunson knows what he’s talking about. He said this trend that the “Married at First Sight” people are just now discovering is not new. The world is becoming increasingly more and more “interracial” as people are choosing to marry outside of their racial group. But, contrary to popular opinion, Black men marry outside of their race less than any other race.
“Black men, and this is according to Pew Research, marry outside of their race less than American Indian women, less than American Indian men, less than Latinos, less than Latinas, less than Asian women. African American men marry outside of their race, comparatively, at one of the lowest rates on the planet. On top of that, African American men, currently, today, right now, 88 percent of us are married to Black women. That’s the vast majority of us. So what the hell is up for debate? What’s up for interpretation? Nothing is.”
And then Brunson said something so poignant.
“We get enough of this everyday as Black people. We don’t need any more. We don’t need any more myths to be perpetuated. Because these myths that you are perpetuating, it begins to impact belief and that belief begins to impact hope. And guess what? You have no authority over our hope. You don’t get that.”
Brunson was sitting in front of a bookshelf, but he might as well been on a stage so he could drop his mic.
And if you doubted his comments and the desire Black men have to date and marry Black women, you need look no further than a comment left by a Black man, on Brunson’s Facebook page. This guy auditioned to be a part of “Married At First Sight” and expressed a desire to date/marry a Black woman for 90 days. Interestingly enough, the experts were unable to find a match for him.
Ain’t that something.
Brunson hit the nail on the head. I really don’t have to say anymore. But there is something incredibly wrong when the show couldn’t find Black men to cast in Atlanta, the Black Mecca. And, let’s be honest, there aren’t a lot of men watching “Married At First Sight.” Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, I’d argue that there aren’t a lot of people in America, men and women of any race, who would agree to marry a complete stranger on their first meeting. And then stay married to that person for three months. It’s unorthodox to say the least.
But the takeaway from all of this is how the media’s messaging has been able to permeate, even to those who are considered among the educated elite. We all have our level of ignorance but I’m glad that Brunson was willing to step forward and assert our humanity, our desirability and our propensity to call out bullsh-t and speak the truth.
You can watch his entire video message below.
These celebrity men have a special place in their hearts for black women, and they’re not afraid to let the world know it.
Many of us rejoiced after Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced yesterday evening. When rape and sexual crimes go underreported particularly when it comes to disenfranchised women of color, this was a victory and hopefully a shift in the right direction.
For some, this case is about a police officer receiving justice for his abuse of power. And that’s part of it. But it’s also about women being taken seriously when they come forward with stories of sexual assault.
Janie Liggins, the 57-year-old grandmother, who launched the investigation into Holtzclaw’s behavior, spoke today during a press conference.
“I was out there alone and helpless, didn’t know what to do. And in my mind I could think was that he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me. He did things to me that I didn’t think a police officer would do…I was a victim. I was traumatized, I went to therapy…I still live with this day after day.”
She also said that she suffered from a stroke behind all of this.
As you know, Liggins wasn’t the only one. Another woman who attended the conference was Shaudae Harris. Harris was sexually assaulted as she was handcuffed to a hospital bed.
“I just couldn’t even believe it, I was speechless, I was scared, when everything was going down…I felt like I was in survival mode and I had to do what he was making me do.”
Benjamin Crump, who represented five of the women who brought claims against Holtzclaw, said, “This isn’t just a celebration of victory, it’s a celebration of courage.”
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Holtzclaw was on suicide watch at the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Daniel Holtzclaw turned 29-years-old yesterday and on this day he also learned that he might face 263 years in prison for the rape and sexual assault of eight women.
Last month, we reported that Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City police officer, was charged with 36 counts of rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure, stalking, burglary, and forcible oral sodomy.
Yesterday, he was found guilty on 18 of those counts after an all-White jury, composed of eight men and four women, deliberated for 45 hours. You may remember that Holtzclaw’s case was particularly interesting because of his 12 of his 13 victims were Black women, living in impoverished neighborhoods, with criminal histories.
While on duty as a traffic officer, Holtzclaw preyed and manipulated these women either offering to drop one of their charges or banking on the fact that authorities would not believe their stories.
According to CBSNews, yesterday, on his birthday, Holtzclaw was convicted of sexually victimizing 8 of the 13 women. He was found guilty of four counts of first-degree rape, one count of second-degree rape, six counts of sexual battery, four counts of forcible sodomy and three counts of procuring lewd acts.
Each of the first-degree rape convictions carry a life sentence but the jury recommended 30 years for each charge, equaling a total of 263 years in prison for all the offenses.
He will formally be sentenced on January 21, 2016.
Many of 13 women who testified told the jury that Holtzclaw pulled them over while out for traffic stops. He searched for outstanding warrants or checked to see if they were carrying drug paraphernalia, then forced himself on them.
The women’s ages ranged from 17-58.
It was the 58-year-old’s testimony that launched the investigation.
Sex crime detectives testified that they identified and interviewed women Holtzclaw had either searched or been in contact with during his 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. shift. They also used GPS records from his patrol car to place him at the scene of these alleged incidents.
Holtzclaw, who was fired after his arrest last year, did not testify on his own behalf.
When the verdict was read Holtzclaw was visibly disturbed, shaking and crying in a bent position.
You can watch video of that moment in video below.
The sentencing starts around the 3:30 mark.
If you watched the Soul Train Awards last weekend, you likely heard Regina Hall say what quite a few of us feel about Jill Scott, “she’s our girl.”
Not only does Jill Scott write and sing our most intimate thoughts and life experiences, she provided a listening ear and an encouraging word to Dani Ruelas Jones-Nash, a woman who was having a terrible day; so much so, when Jill saw her, she was in tears. She wrote about her blues and why she decided to push past them in a Facebook post.
“So, here I am, having the worst day of my life…I put on my smile for the world everyday. I makes me happy to make others happy. But today was bad. And I decided f**k it, face it anyways Dani. Don’t call out and crawl under your rock of depression until you recover like you always do. Go to work with your sad face on and be vulnerable. Don’t hide today and nurse your wounds, don’t wear the happy mask. Make this day better. Your steps are ordered by the Lord.”
True to her word, Jones-Nash was walking into her job at Walgreens when she noticed a familiar face. She described the experience below.
As I’m walking up the stairs, I see a familiar face…she says “hello” and smiles (I was staring at her like I saw a ghost, and I did not have on my winged eyeliner or any lipstick so I was pretty scary )… I was still crying and started telling her about my horrible day… and pouring it out like a faucet (I kept telling her I promise I won’t make a scene) and she was more patient than my therapist, and ain’t nobody as patient as Denise Jones. She listened. I told her that my cousin loves her and I just did her nails because she is going to see her tonight and I don’t wanna take a picture with her cause of the obvious but I want to call my cousin (she didn’t answer )and take a pic for her. She said “no, you are gonna take it with me, as a matter of fact give me your phone, we gonna take a video”: Miss #JillScott
Check out the video.
It’s hard to find real, authentic representations of friendship, love and support between Black women in the media. Even at work, when our team attempts to order stock images of Black women talking and laughing together, they are hard to come by. But most of us know that this is not how it goes down in the real world. There are plenty of women who come alongside each other in times of celebration and sadness. What’s even more beautiful about this video is that, even though Dani knew Jill’s public persona and her music, the women were still strangers to one another. Yet, Dani felt comfortable confiding in Jill and thankfully she responded by empathizing with her pain and suggesting that she keep pushing. How lovely!
I’m sure by the end of this video Dani was crying some happy, grateful tears as well.
In this special edition of Ask a Black Man, the men discuss "The List" and why do we need one in the first place? When does the list become overwhelming and do men have a strict list like most women? The men also discuss their thoughts on black love, the plight of the black man and how society has taught black women and men not to love each other. What are your thoughts on this episode? Make sure you leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.
Be sure to check out FYI's new series #BlackLove on December 8th @10:15/9:15c
Want More Ask a Black Man?
Can a f–kboy every change his f–kboy ways?
I ask this because of David Banner. The “Like A Pimp” and “Play” rapper now says he is ready to own up to his misogyny – well, sort of.
According to the Huffington Post:
During a recent appearance on Essence Live, Banner explained that his conversations with black women led him to understand that black women didn’t feel protected or wanted in their community. As a result, he wrote an open love letter to women through his latest single, “Marry Me.”
Banner also took responsibility for past actions — anyone remember “Play”? — and explained what he learned the most from having “Get Like Me,” a number one song in 2008.
“When I had the number one song — as far as hip-hop was concerned ‘Get Like Me’ with Chris Brown — I got a global peak [sic] at how America is portraying black men from America,” Banner explained. “And at that time, reality shows — as we know it now– first started to take off so for the most part, what people got from black men globally was rap videos and reality TV shows, and honestly, we looked like monkeys. But I wasn’t living what I was speaking for the most part – as far as the positive aspect of it.”
If you haven’t heard the song or seen the lyric video — particularly seen the video — you are truly missing out. “Marry Me” is a romantic little tune featuring Banner rapping about marriage over violins while a dude (also known as Rudy Currence) riffs and runs like Trey Songz. Not to be outdone, the video features a floating earth-shaped engagement ring over a spaced-out background, which is reminiscent of an old-school Myspace profile that could have belonged to a conscious “queen” named Empress-something.
I will admit: The song and video have some charm. I could see it being played at weddings and engagement parties all across Black America. And in some respects, I prefer it to most of what passes as R&B nowadays.
With that said, I fail to see how this song or Banner’s proclamation is meant to make Black women feel more protected and wanted in the community. Heck, I fail to see how this song or video has anything to do with Black women at all.
For one, there are the lyrics. In particular, the chorus:
They say I’m an urban myth
They say black men don’t exist
Prove them wrong, won’t you marry me? Marry me
And they say I’m nothing but a stat on sheets
But here I am on my bending knees
Prove them wrong, won’t you marry me? Marry me
So I’m asking every woman and girl
All over the world
If you wanna get married, you can marry me
I might be a little confused here, but is Banner, by way of Currence, suggesting that all women “and girls” marry him specifically, or that women and girls should marry men like him? Either way, it is pretty damn self-centered and presumptuous, as well as slightly creepy.
Not only are we once again putting the onus of “proving” the worth and value of Black men on the backs of Black women (“They say I’m an urban myth…prove them wrong”), but Banner wants us to do so with no assurances that he is actually ready for marriage.
I mean, what is being said in the lyrics that actually speaks to love for Black women and girls (again, yuck)? If anything, the lyrics read more like Black women are being used as shields to mask insecurity about what other people think of Black men and masculinity.
Not to mention the “every woman and girl…marry me” line sounds no less gross than the dudes who womanize, but claim to do so out of their love for women. You know, like a pimp?
But that is just the chorus.
In the first verse, we get a little more clarity on Banner’s new views about protecting and making the Black woman feel wanted in the community.
More specifically, he raps:
Baby, I can feel your pain, let me heal your pain
If you leave with me, you’ll never feel the same
I’ll steal a plane, fly over hills and plains
Reach in the clouds, even steal the rain
So a seed can grow, believe me and know
I’m a king, you’re a queen
I’ll leave you, no
Got you covered in the best gold
I know you see the threshold, come get carried
Let’s get married
And as you can read, Banner’s new views on women sound a lot like his old views of women.
What I mean is that Banner has been called out on many occasions for both policing and holding Black women to respectability standards he has even failed to live up to. More recently, it was comments he made on Twitter that got people riled up. He said, “If you want a man that respects the way you think then show more mind than a–. If you cater to the savage qualities of a man why are you surprised that he continues to be savage? That is how you got him.”
Again, the responsible party for a man’s “savage” behavior is women. Moreover, only certain women, particularly the conservative and the traditional, are deserving of respect. And the more women are “respectable,” which in this instance only means appearance as opposed to her character, the more a man would be willing to give her the courtesy of actually listening to what comes out of her mouth.
In “Marry Me,” Banner continues to promote the idea that respect for women can only come through traditional and conservative means. In particular, single women are in pain, and marriage to a man is how we “heal” a woman from pain.
Never mind that women in committed relationships, including some married ones, can also can be pained at the hands of their partners. And never mind that even a good marriage has never been a cure for sexual assault, street harassment, domestic abuse, a rapper calling a woman a “thot” or a “b–ch,” poor pay and other real-world pains that women experience.
That sort of introspection into “feeling a woman’s pain” would require more than a promise of “the best gold” and a free airplane ride to chase raindrops. Like actual advocacy on behalf of women.
It is important to note what Banner actually said during the interview with Essence. More specifically, the part when he talked about mending bonds between Black women and men, which he feels were broken only by slavery. Although Banner calls himself a Pan-Africanist, he points to the Rockefellers, the Kennedys and the Bushes – three families that have been marred by all sorts of domestic problems – as examples of strong families that Black folks should be emulating. By doing so, the only value Banner places on marriage is its alleged ability to create wealth and power.
He also said, “Me talking to so many women, they would always tell me just black women in general didn’t feel protected nor did they feel wanted. I said, especially in my career, I’ve done enough damage myself, so when I speak, no way am I criticizing other men and what they do in their music, but I have to sort of cleanse my soul and balance my vibrations out.”
While inviting Black women and girls around the world to apply for the job of his “queen” might be cleansing to his soul, the reality is that real empowerment of women comes from the very thing he is refusing to do. And that is talking to and calling out other brothers about their disrespect – even if it means falling on his sword and actually owning up to his first.
He also talked about how the song made his sister cry because she didn’t think there were Black men like him. And then he added, “So um, I hope that, you know, Black women especially support me.”
And there is it. It’s about Black women supporting his project and not necessarily about offering support to Black women.
It is hard to say for sure if Banner is playing off of the insecurity some Black women have about marriage just for spins and downloads. But it wouldn’t surprise me considering we have seen this sort of pandering before. Folks like Raheem DeVaughn, LL Cool J and Ne-Yo have made decent careers giving adulations and making hollow promises of respect to Black women.
But if he is serious, he is going to have to do more than this song to prove his love for us. Just because a f–kboy decides that he is now ready to settle down and marry does not mean he stops being a f–kboy. And if this ring for our “queens” is still wrapped up in counterrevolutionary and dangerous ideas about proper womanhood and everything that supposedly ails us, then he can keep it.