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zaya wade michelle obama

Source: Andrew Toth/Getty; Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty / Getty

Yesterday, Zaya Wade got the chance to speak with one of her “idols” in honor of Women’s History Month — former first lady Michelle Obama. Despite their conversation being pretty heartwarming and inspiring for young people who are just trying to figure themselves out, Zaya’s presence in the interview has been under attack — and singer J-Boog from B2K has been one of the interview’s most vocal critics.

Last year in February, Dwayne Wade publicly discussed Zaya’s journey as it pertained to her gender identity. Although she was assigned male at birth, the child shared with her supportive family that moving forward she would be identifying as a girl and wanted to be addressed with feminine pronouns. That being said, after Zaya’s conversation with Obama swirled the internet yesterday, attacks and negativity surrounding the child’s gender identity and expression were unfortunately sparked once again.

“This is not cool. Very demonic,” J-Boog said in the comments of Hollywood Unlocked’s repost. “Using this child for their new agenda. Take away the man, make the women the new man. And no more reproduction. This child shouldn’t be the front runner of the movement. Sad but true. Wake up ppl. This world is close to the end. It’s like they creating the gateway for the kids that are coming up. Like the power of suggestion and saturation of the new human is scary. Look at the clothes for men, etc, hairstyles. Men looking more like women by the day. And women’s attitudes are becoming more manly by the day. 😢 ”

It’s hard to understand why people can’t just leave Zaya to be herself. Obviously J-Boog’s comment about the interview was transphobic — and that’s not something to just gloss over — but especially since Zaya’s only 13 years old, the singer’s words were just cruel.

While being transgender is its own unique experience, anyone and everyone can relate to the pitfalls of being a teenager, “feeling different,” and being uncomfortable and/or insecure in your own body as you go through puberty. Those are universal human experiences, and I’m sure anyone could understand why those experiences might be extra challenging for a trans person. All that being said, instead of trying to uplift Zaya, why do so many like J-Boog publicly say things that will tear her down?

For J-Boog to minimize Zaya’s personal journey and growth as a trans person by referring to her as being used to push the “new agenda” is just sad. Concepts of the “feminization of the Black man” or the “the agenda to destroy the Black family” aren’t anything new and haven’t been for a long time. If anything, what is new is the increasing number of people weaponizing those theories to attack children who don’t have the ability, courage, and/or resources to defend themselves as a grown person would.

J-Boog exemplifies all those who claim to be woke and for the betterment of Black people, but can’t even show understanding and the most basic levels of human compassion to the youngest of us. Zaya and Michelle’s conversation was inspiring, and all Black girls — Zaya included — should have the right to be shown kindness as they become themselves.

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