Black History Month, Colorism & Why Maxwell Called A Woman A B*tch
Like most Black women, I have an affinity for Maxwell’s music. His songs were, in many ways, the soundtrack to the ’90’s, literally and figuratively. In college, I remembered spending my good money, the little bit that I had, to attend one of his concerts on my birthday and I remember being struck by the very first note on his long awaited album BLACKsummersnight. But somewhere along the way, my love for Maxwell faded. If I had to pinpoint it, I would trace it back to right around the time he showed up on social media.
You see, Maxwell is one of those few celebrities who doesn’t come off as charming and alluring online as he does on those records.
I recall my friend making Maxwell “Evening Eye Candy” for MadameNoire years ago. She featured several pictures of Maxwell from back in the day, when he had that signature fro of his and a couple from more recently. When she tweeted the link out, she wrote something like,
“Maxwell with or without hair? We love both!”
She thought it was a compliment. I thought it was a compliment. Most of our readers thought it was a compliment. Maxwell did not. He responded to the tweet and the article celebrating his attractiveness saying something to the affect of:
“Can we move on from the hair thing? Focus on the music.”
Mind you, this was in 2012, when he hadn’t given us any new music to focus on since 2009.
That next year, he went in on fans who asked him why they never saw any Black women featured on his Instagram page. Personally, it’s not a question I would have asked but still a valid one, seeing as how Black women have supported Maxwell’s entire career. He responded:
“sick if[sic] som of you chiming in on my friends and Insulting them with racists comments you know nothing you assume everything and you should know better and worship is for GOD not me so sit down”
“I don’t give a f**k I’m putting ever[sic] type a girl in my Instagram go f**k yourself if you’re a racists[sic] a**hole!!!!
Sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time he lost his cool over a fan’s opinion.
Yesterday, Maxwell tweeted about Black History Month. He’s since deleted many of them, so we’ll have to rely on screenshots.
Let’s just pause here, shall we? I was so confused by this tweet because I can’t recall the Black community ever excluding someone from Black History Month because of their shade. No one has ever looked at Lena Horne and said because she could pass a paperbag test, she wouldn’t be honored as one of our heroes. Never. There are far too many people of biracial, multiracial ethnicities for us to exclude someone because of genetic background or shade.
But I’ll let Maxwell continue.
It was this tweet that had people scratching their heads in confusion and then lashing out in anger. Folks assumed that Maxwell was attempting to include White folks in Black History Month. And that just won’t fly.
The response was swift.
During his brief exchange with Maxwell, Daniel José Older learned that the Black women who had been engaging with Maxwell were blocked.
One of these women Maxwell eventually blocked, had this to say.
But Maxwell didn’t just block her, he marched into her Direct Messages with this to say.
And that’s when Unorthodox Duck went clean off.
Maxwell responded by digging through Unorthodox’s archives to find a tweet where she spoke about her admiration for his gift and talent.
And then finally, speaking with a level of clarity, Maxwell shared this.
All of this is a hot mess. Did Unorthodox perhaps take things too far saying she was tired of him f*cking White hoes? Sure. But Maxwell should have blocked her and kept it moving. Hopping in her DMs to call her a b*tch was out of order.
As someone noted, Maxwell was just celebrating the Women’s March on Washington just to call a woman a b*tch on Twitter.
I understand feeling like you’re being personally attacked on social media but Maxwell has to take responsibility for the indecipherable quality of his original message. No one knew what the hell he was talking about. And instead of explaining himself, he called a Black woman out of her name. And to Unorthodox’s point, the insult was particularly poignant since we ain’t seen him with a Black woman—friend or romantically- since Kerry Washington starred in his video. I work on the internet and I understand how the mean and nasty comments can cause you to act outside of yourself but when you’re a public figure, calling your fan base out of their names when your words will live on forever, is just not a good look.