All Articles Tagged "black women"

Does A F–kboy Ever Stop Being A F–kboy?

November 18th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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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.

“Where Is The Love?” Director Catina Jones Says Don’t Believe 70% Of Black Women Are Single

November 6th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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WITL TRAILER fixed audio from Where Is The Love? Documentary on Vimeo.

Over the last decade, dating has become the Achilles’ heel for many Black women. With discouraging statistics and mounting family pressure, Black women are repeatedly told they will be the last to get married or never do it at all. To shift the conversation, director Catina Jones has produced and directed a documentary titled Where Is The Love? that focuses on the misleading quotes reported by media outlets, questions why Black women are getting married at older ages, and exposes how various industries profit off of Black women who are seeking help with their love lives. In our interview we asked Jones about those angles and also her vision of the Black family’s future and what Black women should do to combat these negative reports.

MadameNoire (MN): What is your documentary, Where Is The Love, about?

Catina Jones (CJ): Where Is The Love was inspired by a statistic that was released by the United States Census Bureau  a few years. That statistic was reported that 70 percent of Black women are single. So my initial goal as a single woman who was watching all of her friends and beautiful Black women who were single was to explore and figure out why there were so many single Black women.

Since starting on this journey I’ve had a few epiphanies and revelations once the statistic came into question. I had a great interview with The New York Times writer and in her extensive research she drilled it all down and made it make sense for me. The 70 percent statistic that was released only applied to Black women between the ages of 24-29. At that stage, you have to question that statistic and how it was released and why, then, there are so many other questions that we sought out to answer and why would you release a statistic and not release all of the information? That lead us down another rabbit hole of, “hey, you know, there is a marketing ploy. There’s self-help, that’s attached to this number. There is a whole market that is open now and Black women are filling that void. They are buying all of the self-help books and they’re questioning themselves. And there are, you know during that time, other news reports. Well there were two or three statistics that were released that were just ridiculous. None of them were in favor of Black women. So Where’s The Love? became and is us taking a look at that statistic; demystifying the statistic for the public and looking at women who are not embracing it, because there is so much negativity out there. We don’t see us celebrating Black women a lot.

MN: Where do you think the pressure to get married in the Black community stems from?

CJ: I think it began with that statistic. One of the clips we used from The Oprah Winfrey talk show, she opened up the show with, “Hold on to your seats everyone! Seventy percent of Black women are single.” Everyone embraced that statistic. For me, I was personally looking at my immediate circle and I saw girlfriends who were single and I was single myself. So, it was a question and once I saw that report on the Oprah show, it was confirmation. It was further confirmation that this is an  epidemic and the way it was reported it felt like this was ,you know, a crisis that we are in right now. The truth of the matter is marriage rates are down across the board. Once capitalists saw that it was profitable to market to this certain group or Black women and say “hey, this is why you’re single.” Everyone felt the need to tell us about us and no one was talking to us they were talking at us. And telling us what we needed, you know? I think it just caught on like wildfire and I think that society was in a place at that time where we started to embrace other messages. Maybe coming out of our music or what we saw in entertainment. Maybe art imitates life to a certain extent. What we have to understand is our statistic is higher, it’s actually 43 percent of Black women across the board are single but by the time we are in our late thirties and early forties that number increases significantly. We are getting married, we are just getting married later.

MN: Why do you think other races or ethnicities aren’t targeted in these reports?

CJ: I can’t say that they aren’t. If you walk into any bookstore you’ll see “Why Men Love B*tches” or “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” you’ll see it across racial lines, you’ll see that there is a hard push and a sector that has grown significantly. You’ll see they’re targeting women as a whole but it got so much easier when they saw that number. It was so alarming. It just caused Black women to embrace it and then you have statistics about Black men in jail. Then when you’re in college, you’re looking around and you see the ratio there. There was so much information that made this number and help this number to live.

MN: Why do you think men are not offered the same advice?

CJ: The messages have been coming primarily from the men. For them, it’s natural to target women, you know? Not to say they are not being accountable but it gives them the freedom to be a hot commodity. They give themselves up as the one up to advise women on what to do and I think if it were the reverse and women were writing books for men to step it up and, you know, become the head of household and do this and do that, I just don’t think men would embrace it because it’s coming from a woman.

MN: Do you think marriage is a necessity for Black women to pursue?

CJ: I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone, but I see the benefit. I think we learned in our journey with this documentary that family and community is what is important — however that may exist for you as long as that strong foundation is there. Marriage is just legalizing that whole part of it, you know that whole union or what not. It’s definitely not necessary but there are so many benefits to marriage that you cannot deny that it is worth taking a look at it now. That’s why we wanted to examine it in Where Is The Love?.

MN: What was the most surprising thing you observed while filming the documentary?

CJ: In various cities, we would hear women say “I can’t find anyone on my level” and men cringed at that. One guy in Minneapolis stood up at this forum a radio station put together for us to film and this one guy just exploded, like he lost it. He went in on this one chick and he was all emotional and upset and basically his question to her was: “What is your level? Why do you think or separate yourself  or put yourself on a pedestal to the point you consider yourself a different level from someone? It was a real exchange that happened between two of them, that was a hot button for him. But in her defense, she was simply saying, “Hey I did what I was suppose to do. I was told to go to school and get my education. Become a successful woman and I’m just saying “Where’s my Black Knight in shining armor and someone who is my equal or what not?” That calls in the question, “Do you have to date someone on your equal level?”

MN: Do you think the constant media coverage about Black women’s relationships is another way to attack the Black family unit?

CJ: There is a systematic approach and I think that if we go back to even looking at the welfare system, when we look at our historical breakdowns of the Black family, that’s a huge element. Men had to be absent from the household in general for the family to receive benefits. When you couple that with the high incarceration rates of the 1980s and 1990s, and when you look at the messages that started to come out in the media, throughout the years women were becoming stronger and stronger and independent and independent. Then the men were in a downward spiral and those who were not became again, hot commodities. So I think that to answer the question I think that there are some systematic elements to these numbers being released and why center statistics are embraced and others aren’t. It’s tough to figure out exactly where this comes from and it comes from various places.

To help fund Where Is The Love? to be produced in its entirety, visit Jones’ Indiegogo page to support.

Black Girl Heroism: Why The #Zola Story Got Us All Caught Up

October 29th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Twitter

I’ve always refused to believe the notion that there just aren’t any Black writers creating engaging and entertaining stories. Despite the Whitewashed industry and the penchant for telling and retelling old stories, I know there is talent yet untapped that could change the game and shake things up.

All assumptions and beliefs were confirmed when Aziah King’s “Zola Story” set Twitter on fire yesterday evening.

King, a stripper, used her Twitter handle @_zolarmoon to tell an elaborate, in depth, suspenseful and entertaining story about an impromptu trip she took to Florida with a virtual stranger.

If you missed it last night, you absolutely must take the time out to read the full thing on the next page. But for those of you who still aren’t convinced, here are a few of the first couple of tweets to get you hooked.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 1.08.47 PM

Trust me when I tell you the story only gets better from here. “Zola” was so captivating that people immediately started wondering if she had completely fabricated it. While I could care less, (a good story is a good story), the internet eventually provided some receipts. Hip Hop Wired found Jessica on Instagram. And, as you might imagine, she wasn’t too happy about it.


Source: Instagram

If this is indeed Jessica, I feel bad for the girl. But if I were her, I’d reach out to Aziah and see if she can get paid, at least partially, for her story.

Anyway, after reading Zola, several celebrities applauded King for her skills. Director Ava DuVernay was excited about it.

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

Aziah did have to let Ava know she’s not from the hood though.

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

Keke Palmer even seemed to express interest in the role of Zola.

So, what is it about this story that had the internet going nuts? If you ask me when we hear stories in the mainstream about women who work in the adult entertainment or sex industry, they’re often told from the viewpoint of a man. But here’s “Zola” taking us on an adventure, chronicling her honest thoughts and feelings along the way. It’s different and it’s empowering. So often women who work in fringe industries are silenced or discouraged from speaking openly and honestly about their experiences for fear that they’ll be endangered or publicly shamed. I love that she was comfortable enough in herself to share this story.

And you know what else was new? A White woman being removed from her position on the proverbial pedestal while the Black woman, who is also sexually liberated and expressive, uses her intellect to get herself out of several, very messed up situations. I’m not saying I’m down for the way Jessica was used and abused in this story, I’m saying it’s real. And in real life Black women aren’t always the ones being exploited or taken advantage of or outsmarted by men and White folks. I’m not going to lie or front, it’s good to see. We were rooting for Aziah throughout that entire story and it was damn good to see homegirl win and live to tell about it.

I know the conservative and tight laced, respectability politic upholding, Black folk among us will take issue with Zola’s story and the fact that she’s a stripper, involved in a “nefarious” lifestyle. But in a world where strippers are automatically stereotyped, labeled, discounted and disregarded, I dug the fact that she wasn’t running from the term. One of my favorite lines from the piece was “So we vibing over our hoeism or whatever.”

Do you boo boo!

What if Aziah had never shared her story, scared about the judgment and contempt people would rain down upon her for doing so? We would have all missed out.

God bless Aziah King. I’m so glad she told her story and I sincerely hope it makes it to the big screen.

Check out the full story on the next page.

Don’t Blame The Parents: Spring Valley High Assault Victim, Living In Foster Care

October 28th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Spring Valley High Assault Victim Recently Orphaned

Source: Cell Phone Video

Update: Shaun King updated the story to say that the girl’s mother has not passed away but she is estranged from her is indeed living in foster care.

In light of the recent Spring Valley High Assault case, I’m seeing a lot of people calling for obedience. Not obedience on Officer Fields’ part. He broke a few rules himself. But they’re asking for obedience from the young lady who was placed in a chokehold and dragged across the classroom floor in front of her classmates.

For once, Raven-Symoné’s trollish-like comments are being reflected by others in our community who want to “blame the parents” for not teaching her to respect authority.

Can I just say respecting authority is an important life skill but it can also be overrated. I’m not arguing that she shouldn’t have given up her cell phone or followed the officer when he asked her to get up the first time. (I work with young, elementary school aged children who bring cell phones to our tutoring classes. They’re distracting and annoying.) But with the way police officers are abusing their authority, degrading, beating and killing Black boys, girls, men and women, perhaps she had a reason for not compiling to Officer Field’s command, particularly when he had a reputation for being overly aggressive.

Or maybe this 16-year-old girl was just having a bad day and she felt like being defiant. We were all teenagers, some of us more recently than others, and I know I had those days. And I thank God I was never abused for it. Thankfully, my teachers and my school administrators saw me for what I was, a young person prone to making foolish mistakes. It’s literally what teenagers do as they’re trying to find themselves and navigate through life.

Unfortunately, too many children of color aren’t given the opportunity or the freedom to be treated as children, as human beings, who inevitably make silly, mistakes like everyone does.

If her teacher thought she was distracted by her cell phone, certainly being assaulted by a grown man took both she and all of her classmates out of learning mode. I don’t know how you go back to studying parabolas once you’ve seen a young lady flung across your classroom floor.

The pressures of being a teenager are challenging enough. But this young lady is facing so much more. Her attorney, Todd Rutherford told Shaun King, for the Daily News that she was recently moved into the foster care system.

When you suffer that type of change, you’re not trying to have someone, even if they are an authority figure, come in and take something else from you.

Trauma will make anyone act out, especially a teenager.

And during what is possibly the toughest time of her life, this young lady is now suffering from injuries on her face, neck and arm (she is reportedly wearing a cast) and is still charged with “disturbing schools.”

Her foster mother is trying her best to protect her identity but she has said that the young lady is devastated and emotionally traumatized by all that has happened to her.

I pray that this young girl finds the strength to process and heal from all that has happened to her because Lord knows she’s had to carry far more at 16 than many of us will endure in a lifetime.


15 Of Our Favorite Magazine Covers Featuring Black Women In 2015

October 20th, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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Misty Copeland

Source: Essence

There used to be a time when the only magazines that featured Black women on their cover were Ebony, Essence, Jet, and Vibe. Well, times have changed, and Black women of all shades, ages, and sizes are showing up and showing out on a variety of mainstream magazines all over newsstands. We’re being represented just about everywhere. Let’s take a look at the top 15 covers of the year so far.

You Must Read “DEAR BLACK MEN: You Are Not Pro-Black If You Are Not Pro Black Women”

October 13th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed by “Fauxtep” Black men who claim to be for the people, Black people as long as those people are heterosexual, Black men. The minute Black women express our concerns, we’re told by the very men we love, or raised or supported, that we’re serving as a distraction from the movement. Our pain doesn’t require immediate attention. It’s a polite way to say:

“Shut up, the men are talking.”

There have been countless examples; but the most recent, most profound came with Bill Cosby and the rape allegations. Beverly Johnson spoke about it when she first sat down for her interview with Vanity Fair, not wanting to out Cosby for what he did to her because it would reflect poorly on the community.

And there were several Black men, all up and down my Facebook timeline, friends, family and associates who doubted her story, wondered why she waited until now to tell it, swore up and down this she was a part of some plot by the White man to destroy one of our heroes.

It hurt.

Not only because people I loved and liked considered a woman’s needs second to a fictional television character, but also because of the message their words sent to the millions of other Black women who have been the victims of rape and sexual assault.

“Shut up, a Black man’s legacy is at stake.”

It happens every time Black men, who are completely ignorant of what it means to move in public spaces as a woman, dismiss our concerns and tell us to smile, speak or take street harassment or threatening sexual advances as a compliment.

“Shut up, a man’s ego is at stake.”

Quiet as it’s kept, “the people” include Black women too.

And instead of only calling on us when it’s time to march or fight against a system of oppression, it would be nice if our men saw our issues as a form of injustice too.

Thankfully, there is a brotha who gets it. Daniel Johnson wrote a piece called: DEAR BLACK MEN: You Are Not Pro-Black If You Are Not Pro Black Women and it is chock full of truth.

You should definitely read the piece in its entirety and share with your friends, but here are a few excerpts to let you know why we’re loving it so much.

Over the past few days I have gotten into heated arguments with men who have presented and positioned themselves as Pro-Black, yet they find themselves incapable of standing against a Black man who has repeatedly violated Black women. 

There is something inherently wrong with your Pro-Blackness if it is a gendered Pro-Blackness incapable of taking stances that improve the position of Black women.

There’s no way you can announce to the world that you are Pro-Black, yet blatantly cling to misogyny, uphold rape culture and mimic a White patriarchal system, which seeks to keep Black women underneath your boots. 








Look around you when there is a violation of your human rights as Black men. Who is there to lead the marches and the protests and the rallies on behalf of Black men everywhere? Without a doubt it is Black women who have stood up and protested and protected Black men’s lives in this country. Why is it that we cannot return the favor? Why are we so intent on dogging Black women and insisting that those women are only out to ruin The Black Man? What you’re saying when you say things like that is that Black women are not to be trusted. That their worth and their lives are only useful when they are propping up the agenda of a Black man.

You are not Pro-Black if you erase Black women who are feminists from the conversation by telling them that feminism destroys the Black family unit.

Pick up a book. Google bell hooks. Google Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Google something scholarly. Something with the letters .edu behind it.

Google: Critical Black Feminist Thought.

Read those texts, absorb those texts. Listen to what your sisters are trying to tell you about being a Black woman in America. Hear their pain and think deeply about what you can do to help alleviate that.

I never want to see a Black man questioning whether a Black woman is really here for the race again. Because Black women have been here for the entire race and will continue to do so because that’s what Black women do. They fight. They stand. They make themselves known.

But I guess it’s not an issue until it hits home. I guess the rape and the silencing of Black women by powerful men is not a problem unless it is your wife, your daughter, your friend.

Understand this, Black men. It should not take someone you know being brutalized for you to wake up and realize that these women do not deserve to be treated like insurgent agents when a narrative you do not like ceases being a narrative and starts being the truth.

And the church said…


Black Women Talk Hope For Black Men at Justice Or Else March

October 13th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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picture by Charing Ball

Photo credit: Charing Ball

Most of the dozen or so women I spoken to at the Justice or Else march, which was held last Saturday in Washington D.C., admitted that they were mostly there to support Black men.

But it was not a blind allegiance to Black men’s pseudo-conscious patriarchy. And they weren’t looking to be saved by a Black male knight in Kente-drapped armor.

On the contrary, most of the women I talked to expressed various levels of disappointment at the current state of Black manhood in America. And in addition to marching to support Black male liberation, particularly around issues of police violence and mass incarceration, these women were hoping to hear something that would inspire their conscious-minded brothers to treat not only each other, but more particularly, Black women better.

Like Latoya Wright a college student who traveled to the nation’s capital from Greensboro, North Carolina. As she stood at the intersection of 3rd and Constitution waving a large RBG (red, black and green) flag, she tells me that her primary reason for attending the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, was to network and “build” with other conscious Black women.

As she sees it, Black women have been the face of the current social justice movement for a while now and she just wants to be a part of that. However she also wishes more Black men would be willing to not only step up to the plate, but work besides Black women for liberation.

Latoya Wright Photo credit: Charing Ball

Latoya Wright
Photo credit: Charing Ball

“Like Minister Farrakhan said I feel like a lot of men are not being as strong as they should and they lost their ways. I know that it sounds bad, but I feel like our brothers don’t know who they are right now. So I feel like women have stepped up in the last couple of years,” she said.

For Wright, it’s about how Black men have been known to talk and treat Black women. It is also about what she feels is an overall lack of protectionism the brothers have for the sisters. Wright blames it on the educational system, which she says hasn’t taught Black men and women that they originated from “kings and queens.” Men, she said, call women derogatory terms like bitches and women accept it.

And while she feels that Black women hold a part in helping a brother “cultivate a new mindset,” it is ultimately up to the brothers to teach themselves. “They are supposed to let them know that ‘look my brother, you can be like me.’ You don’t have to treat and call women bitches and hoes to be respected. All these beautiful men out here can show them how to be better brothers,” she said.

Nicki Bryant who is a young single mother from Houston, Texas co-signed the need for better mentorship and more accountability. And as she pushed her stroller down the National Mall, she tells me that she has been raising her son by herself every since his father walked out on the both of them.

She said that she had come to the Justice or Else march in hopes of surrounding her son with positive role models. And that her primary goal in life is to raise a man who would not repeat his father’s mistake.

Donned in an “I met God, She’s a Black” t-shirt, Bryant said that she is conscious of the ways in which Black mothers have been unfairly stigmatized in the Black community. And she is most appreciative of Minister Louis Farrakhan’s “getting on them” about being present fathers within the home.

“As a mom you can raise a man, but it takes a man to raise a king. And I think a lot of the single moms out here needed to hear that. But it is also important for the men. They need to step up, take care of their families and be in the household in order to stop the cycle that is going on,” she said.

During his three-hour long speech, which sometimes wandered and went on tangents, Minister Farrakhan would touch, albeit haphazardly, on a number of issues related to gender, sexuality and Black male accountability. In particular, he chastised men for “peacocking” around with a bunch of different women and said that those who traffic in girls are deserving of death.

And he made a concession of sorts to the LGBTQ community, which as noted by many was still problematic, but was also a huge departure from how he used to talk about the community.

More specifically he said:

“Those of us who are students of Elijah Muhammad. We are in love with our people. We don’t ask your sexual preference is. We love you. We are not your judges, we want to work together to free our people completely. So to my family. You’ll never find me, or us, condemning you for what has become of us in our sojourner. Because all of us who point to our gay brothers and sisters, are all adulterers, fornicators freaks, and everything else. Who of us can throw a stone at the next one? None of us.”

Nicki Bryant Photo credit: Charing Ball

Nicki Bryant
Photo credit: Charing Ball

Farrakhan also took a questionable stance on the issue of abortion. While he said that he believes the decision to abort is a woman’s choice, he also couldn’t help, but to express his concern about the next “warrior for the new world” who would not be born due to her choice.

More specifically he told the crowd of thousands, “Now it is your body and you can do with it as you please. But it would be so tragic if the next Sitting Bull was aborted. It would be tragic that the next Malcolm X, or the next Martin Luther King or the next Moses, Abraham or the next Jesus was flushed away.”

He also raised a few eyebrows with his call for 10,000 fearless women to become “food scientists.” More specifically, he said:

“Let me tell you something sisters. You know you are beautiful. But a woman that is beautiful and can’t cook, is a killer in the kitchen. And I don’t think you would be wise marrying a woman who is a killer and she kills you in the kitchen, with a whole bunch of greasy food.”

As one Black woman from Baltimore who was having dinner at Ben’s Next Door after the march noted about Farrakhan’s call to arms, “Like, why does he think our only role in the movement is in the kitchen?”

In spite of Farrakhan’s many dubious stances on gender issues, many of the women I spoke to said that they appreciated his effort. Like, Lia and Tangela, both organizers from the Black-unity group New Era Detroit.

“It wasn’t perfect, but it shows that our people and our men do see the importance of us in the community and what we can bring to the table,” said Lia.

However Tangela warns that women should not sit around waiting for the brothers to get it together. Everyone, she said, needs to practice a bit of self-love.

“Humanity is based on the Black W-O-M-B-M-A-N, not woman. Humanity will never be successful as long as the Black woman is oppressed and suppressed. They can find out who they are and what they are. And once they realize the God in them, they can give it to others. But until then, we have to do for self.”

Forget Empire: When Will Black Men Boycott Fox Sports?

October 6th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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I really have no idea why menfolks like Dr. Boyce Watkins object so harshly to Lee Daniels’ smash hit television show “Empire”?

Actually I do: it’s about the women and the gays. It’s always about the women and the gays…

That is certainly the theme in Watkins’ latest essay entitled, Why I refuse to support the coonery of the show, “Empire.”

I use “latest” as a relative term here considering this was originally posted in March of this year. Still this link, along with similar sentiments about the show, have been making the rounds again in lieu of the Empire’s second season premiere. As such I thought it best to address some of the “finer” points in the essay.

In particular:

When the Fox Network released the new show, “Empire,” I was concerned about what I might see on screen. Fox is not known for producing the most favorable images of black people, so I figured this show wouldn’t be any different. For some reason, black dysfunctionality makes for great television, and there is a long line of white guys getting rich off of our willingness to celebrate all that makes us miserable.

If you do some research, you might notice some of the same things I’ve seen in this ghetto-fied hood drama: Pimps, hoes, thugs, gangsters, emasculated black men, and all kinds of other kinds of stereotypical coonery that many of us have grown tired of seeing portrayed on-screen. Lee Daniels is apparently the man responsible for this televised monstrosity, and I wonder if a day will ever come that the majority of us will refuse to support directors who pimp their people to help bigots like Rupert Murdoch get rich from modern day minstrel shows.”

I am not going to bore you with the rest of the essay, but rest assured it is filled with the same ugly vitriol you would find in most essays and social media rants about the effeminate men and Black women.

And to be clear: Watkins may try to hide it inside a need and desire for more favorable images of black people” as a whole, but this is an attack on Black women too.

In fact, Watkins has made a habit (some would say a career) railing against programming created for the entertainment of Black women. “Scandal” is one. Reality television is another. And now “Empire” which, according to this article in Vulture Magazine, is the ratings share “equivalent of a Super Bowl” among African-American women between 35 and 49 years old.

Without saying it directly, Watkins, as usual, lays the onus of both the destruction and the repair of the community falls on the shoulders – or in this case, the eyeballs – of Black women. After all, it is our entertainment and viewing habits, which are allegedly hurting our image. And it is our support of “Empire” that is allegedly helping evil media mogul Rupert Murdoch get wealthier.

And if us Black Queens [eyeroll] would stop watching these frivolous programs that do nothing but distract us from raising children and making sandwiches for our men (that’s why they are emasculated), our men would be free to get jobs, stay out of prison and get down to the business of nation building.

But let’s suppose it’s all true. Let’s imagine for a moment that “Empire” is nothing more than a high-tech minstrel show, bankrolled by FOX with an agenda to turn all Black men into the gays and Black women into weave-wearing, White-men screwing NeNe Leakeses. My question is when will menfolks like Watkins lead by example?

What I mean is why are there never any essays connecting the dots between Murdoch’s evil plans to harm the Black community and FOX Sports?

Besides reality shows and “Empire,” there is no other more problematic image of Black people on television than what has come out of the NFL. I’m talking sexual assaults and domestic violence. I’m talking the financial castigation of Black men through exploitive contracts and poor ownership opportunities. And I’m talking head traumas, broken backs and other permanent physical damage to the players themselves.

Murdoch gets paid handsomely off of that oppression too. In fact, his Fox Sports networks are gaining ground on ESPN in terms of ratings, including in Black households. Taking a stand against the “coonery” by boycotting Murdoch’s sport networks and broadcast of NFL games would be the ultimate opportunity for the brothers to flex that invigorated-brand of masculinity, which they are always claiming is being snatched away from them by Black women, effeminate Black men and The Man.

And yet there aren’t any scathing essays imploring the menfolks to empower themselves through a boycott of the upcoming Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcon or the New England Patriots vs Dallas Cowboys games on FOX Sports. To be fair, Watkins, in 2008, did call for a boycott of NCAA basketball season, some of which might have aired on FOX Sports. But that was solely about getting college athletes paid. And he made no mention of how our support of March Madness contributed to FOX or Murdoch.

I guess he was cool with us lining Murdoch’s pockets back then. Just like how it was cool when we all went to go see X-men, Planet of the Apes, Alien vs Predator, Fantastic Four, and other action films produced by FOX. You know because Murdoch owns a lot of shat including the film studios, production and distribution companies and television stations in which great deal of our entertainment comes from?

Nope. Watkins, and others brothers who charge others with the task of fixing the Black community’s image, rarely seek empowerment through self-control and personal accountability. Instead, these fellas mostly seek validation of themselves through the policing of what the we women can say, do or even enjoy.

What’s most interesting in Watkins’ angst over “Empire’s” alleged role in bankrolling Murdoch’s empire is that Watkins himself has been a guest quite a few times on FOX programming. Talk about contributing to one’s own demise. But I guess that was different, huh?

Is There Enough Positive Representation Of Black Women In The Media? | She’s The Boss Is Back!

October 2nd, 2015 - By jade
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Yesterday, we posed a serious question on our Facebook page asking, "Do you feel like there is enough positive representation of Black women in the media?" Of course, most of you said no, pointing to the need for more spotlight on the achievements in our community and we want you to know we have a solution. We're bringing back She's the Boss!

She’s the Boss captures the business savvy, style and spirit of America’s most successful Black businesswomen. Created specifically to cater to the unique environment of online television viewing, the series features intimate one-on-one interviews with four of the most influential and inspiring women in the United States. She’s the Boss offers practical advice and inspiration to the largely female demographic among MadameNoire fans. Sponsored by African Pride, this season we will be highlighting amazing entrepreneurs such as Karen Civil, AJ Johnson, Angela Benton, and Charlene Dance.

For the month of October, tune in every Monday at 9am to hear their stories.

Click here to watch the amazing women who were featured in Season 1.

For more of our BOSS movement, don't forget to enter our Be The Boss contest for a chance to be featured in a docu-series as well as win a makeover courtesy of African Pride.

Fellas, Do You Really Deserve Breakfast?

October 1st, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Deserve Breakfast

Source: Instagram

There’s this new meme floating around social media of a woman, in a thin fuchsia robe standing in front of a bountiful, breakfast spread.

As always, it’s not usually the picture that’s off with these memes, it’s the caption.

And this one asks whether or not women even do this anymore.

I don’t know if y’all have noticed but a lot of these memes seem to put a hell of a lot of blame on women–Black women particularly.

And I know that while you might think it’s ridiculous to get upset over a meme, I’m just tired of the most hurtful shots, the deepest wounds coming from Black men. And as much as people want to claim that it’s all jokes, just humor we know that jokes are only funny if they’re rooted in some sense of truth.

According to these memes I see, the truth is Black men keep dispensing this notion that there are no more good, Black women around. And that’s just not true.

I had several reactions to this meme when I first saw it.

– Here we go again!

– Of course there are still women who cook.

– Even the most unskilled chef can scramble an egg and fry some meat.

– If your only requirements for a woman be that she know how to cook and be in a “come get it” robe all the time, you’ll be deeply unfulfilled.

Then a friend from college posted the same meme, a woman this time and she asked the same question I had. Why do men always blame women for their poor decision making? If you choose to date a girl who can’t cook breakfast then whose fault is that? Far too often, men pick women who meet very few of their so-called standards–beyond attractiveness–and then they’re shocked and appalled when she doesn’t get down like you’d want wifey to. Don’t blame her. That’s your fault!

But today, as I was eating lunch with my coworkers, I thought of yet another issue with this damn meme.

Men are so quick to list their requirements, their must haves but are often very slow to explain what they’ll be able to offer you. And hell, when they do list those things, much of it is thinly masked patriarchy, i.e. control. I appreciate that you’ll support and provide for me financially. I’ll take that–along with what I bring to the table– but will you support and encourage me to be a better person? Will you not only be concerned about my emotional well being but strive not to intentionally hurt my feelings or at least apologize sincerely when you do so?

Until a man can prove he can do and be these things, women shouldn’t be scrambling any eggs, toasting any bread or frying any meat. Until women have seen those things, why should she be in the kitchen on wifey mode, cooking food for you?

And that’s the thing. Perhaps men are having a hard time finding women who cook because they haven’t proven that they really deserve it.

So yeah, it’s cereal for you bruh.

What I really want to know is, why aren’t men discussing what they can bring to the table? Where are those memes? Perhaps memes holding men accountable for their decisions or asking them to step up take too much thought and effort. Maybe they aren’t as funny as attempting to shame women again.