It’s never surprising to me when Black women get left out of something, purposely or unintentionally. Whether it’s mainstream feminism or the Body acceptance movement, it’s more than a habit for people and groups to just so happen to lack representation and support for Black women. This dynamic is true for the Black liberation movement as well.
In the land of the free and home of the brave, many will learn that, beyond the surface, many are not allowed to be neither free nor brave. I, for one, am all for learning about what goes on in the “back stage” of our most powerful institutions. But I also want this to be done the right way.
Enter Hotep. Claiming to be the most conscious brothers and sisters out there, the Hotep community has a large membership body – and an even larger impact on Black thought. However, though this impact is wide reaching, it is in no way beneficial to the growth of Black consciousness.
When I first started to see inequalities in a bigger, systemic picture, it was exciting to meet other people with these views in order to discuss and learn more about the world. A lot of people – womanists I met on Twitter, radical thinkers who also had blogs, etc. – contributed greatly to my “eye opening.”
In my quest to learn more, I stumbled across the popular film series “Hidden Colors” by well-known Hotep believer Tariq Nasheed. So, I set out some time and watched the first of the trilogy. I expected for the dimensions of my mind to be expanded. I expected to come out of the film a wiser woman that I went in. Instead, I came out regretting wasting two hours of my life on terrible misogynoir screenwriting.
Move on to his less popular creations titled, “Why so many black women are fat,” “Why Black women are less physically attractive,” and other equally terrible productions, and anyone will see that Nasheed’s “liberation” only has a certain kind of Black person in mind. And that person sure doesn’t look like me.
But blaming all of these bad ideologies on Nasheed would be naïve, at the least. Universally, Hotep beliefs are extremely detrimental to the development of Black consciousness and becoming “woke.” In the beginning, referring to all Black women as “wombmen” may seem endearing, but expecting every single woman to act as an incubator to Black men’s needs is nowhere near “woke.” Encouraging sex positivity is great, but having a 10-page list on what separates a “woman” from a “female” or “thot” has no positivity in it.
It’s amazing to see the difference in how I am approached when I wear my hair in afro form rather than straight or with a weave. When my hair is natural, Hoteps refer to me as “sister” and “queen.” But as soon as I switch it up to a straight ‘do, I am a “negropean” and self-hating. None of this is true. It’s also just as ludicrous to think that Black masculinity is being attacked by men doing things like taking bubble baths or even being unapologetically queer.
When the Hotep nation isn’t being misogynistic or queerphobic, it’s being plain illogical. Why, in order for Black people to feel a sense of pride about ourselves, must we pretend that we are all originally from Egypt? There are 54 beautifully diverse countries in Africa, yet every single one of our ancestors was a king or queen of Egypt? I call a bluff. We don’t have to have descended from royalty to be great, and whoever thinks otherwise is just as bad as a white supremacist.
In the fight for validation of Black lives in this country and worldwide, there’s no question that Black women play a pivotal role. The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag? That was the product of three queer Black women. The uprisings in Ferguson where people were putting their lives on the line making sure the world didn’t forget about Michael Brown? Many Black women were and still are on the front lines. It’s disgusting to know that the women doing so much for us still get the short end of the stick in our own movement.
We need to do better. And we cannot do better by upholding harmful Hotep ideologies.
The sooner we actually “awaken ourselves” to the fact that feminists are not “bed wenches,” that homosexuality was present in Africa before the White man arrived, that having natural hair doesn’t mean a woman wants to be Angela Davis, and that the ankh symbol isn’t our savior; the sooner we can conquer problems like police brutality with better harmony.
Hotep? More like Notep. Or even fauxtep.