Ace Hood’s wife Shelah Marie was at the center of some heated discourse on social media after a recent episode of Love & Hip Hop: Miami.
The singer and actress has been a long-time advocate for women’s wellness and spirituality through her Curvy, Curly, Conscious support group. During the controversial episode, Marie was gearing up for her annual “Unruly Retreat” which provides a safe space for Black women, in particular, to practice self-love and wellbeing techniques while building a sense of community. However, Shelah’s fellow castmate, Neri, wasn’t too happy with the star for closing off the retreat to only Black women.
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Neri, who is the wife of Drink Champs host Noreaga, felt as though Shelah should open up the group to women of all backgrounds, citing that because she was raising a Black child, that she to should have the opportunity to attend. However, as you can probably tell, Neri is not Black. The sentiment sent social media into a fiery uproar of mixed reactions. Many people came to Shelah’s defense noting the importance of having a safe space dedicated to Black women because of the emotional tolls they are often facing within society.
One user commented: “I mean that’s her brand and if it’s a retreat for black women, why should she have to bend the rules to please other women? black women are always expected to do this. The space Princess spoke on sounds good but she can take the initiative to create that space.”
Another social media goer replied:
“As a black woman who has attended “women empowerment” events, WE NEED BLACK WOMEN ONLY retreats and events. We do NOT share the same experiences and struggles as other women.”
While a third user wrote: “But that’s the thing … Can we have a space where we’re not teaching we’re not nurturing others were not stepping on eggshells and making sure we are not trying to offend or say the wrong thing and just be…with each other… I get it.”
Black women have always been asked to make exceptions and to overperform in order to appease others– a societal rule of thumb that we have never received in return. When you think about all the odds that are stacked against Black women today from soaring infertility rates and low-paying jobs to misogynoir and crippling health disparities, you could see why Shelah’s retreat is so important. Black women need to be heard, cherished, and understood, especially in today’s world where we are constantly being told that were aren’t enough and in a place where our lives are being jeopardized by the same justice system that was built to protect us. What better way to decontextualize and heal from all those hardships than with women who look like you and who can understand the microaggressions and trauma that you face every single day. Right?
Well, other social media critics didn’t quite see it that way. A few folks on Twitter called out Shelah for inviting, Princess Love to the retreat, who is of Filipino descent while excluding Neri.
“@ShelahMarie invited princess to the retreat but told Neri she couldn’t come because she’s not black but princess ain’t black either she’s Philippino! I don’t like this fake spiritual chick!” wrote one person.
While another user chimed in: “@loveandhiphop You can but it’s hypocritical to say IM ALL ABOUT WOMEN EMPOWERMENT except for CERTAIN COLORS RACE ETC. OF which you so FREELY did in public w/o remorse. #ShelahMarie”
Shelah has since responded to the controversy. The star took to the Instagram comment section of the Neighborhood Talk’s post about the argument and shared that the Unruly Retreat was “for anyone who shares the daily lived experience of Black women.” It doesn’t look as though Shelah is bothered by the negative chatter online because the actress and singer doubled down on her decision via her Instagram stories writing, “I said what I said and I didn’t even watch the episode.”
Yikes! This was a heated debate for sure, but it was refreshing to see the ladies debate about the matter in a respectful way. What do you think? Was Shelah right for standing her ground about the retreat or were Neri’s feelings valid? Take a look at some more comments surfacing about the topic on social media below.
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