Reasons Why I’m So Glad He Called Becky with the “Good Hair”
“Males learn to lie as a way of obtaining power, and females not only do the same but they also lie to pretend powerlessness.”
~ bell hooks
Lemonade is an ode to Black women everywhere, and I’m here for it. In my last relationship, my existence as a Black woman caused problems. My ex (a black man), made it very clear that he found something daunting about my blackness. He said something along the lines of “ You’re a different kind of pretty. I’m not saying you’re not pretty, but your hair is different than girls I’ve dated in the past. It’s something I just have to get used to.”
1. WTF does a “different” kind of pretty even mean?
2. Ha! I’ve grown quite a bit, and that statement is hilarious to me now. One word. Queen. Right here. #Naturalqueens #Melaninqueens
3. I hope you found Becky with the “good hair.” (I love putting that in quotations, thanks Bey!) Why would I ever subject myself to such abuse?
I deal with that abuse from society EVERYDAY. The day before Lemonade came out this lady (an older Becky) at the coffee shop felt the need to explain to me that I “have a different kind of hair” in a condescending tone. Constantly being held to the unrealistic eurocentric standards of beauty is a form of abuse. Several Black girls walk around feeling like they aren’t good enough because they are implicitly and explicitly told that they aren’t “good” or “pretty” enough.
He made the subtle declaration that he did not care for Black women. I guess it’s trendy to belittle Black women while making your preferences known because some Black men pride themselves on making such a declaration. The issue is not your “preference”, but the oppressive nature in which you depreciate Melanin queens grandeur. It frustrated him that I had a sophisticated understanding of blackness and navigating the earth as a woman. He didn’t like “all that black feminist stuff.” There were several times where I witnessed injustice, and I yearned to call out the white supremacist misogynistic patriarchal racist motives behind certain incidents. But I refrained because I didn’t want to be the “angry black woman.”
Oh, not to mention he was a Don Lemon kind of guy. As I was actively seeking changes to this wretched criminal justice system, he kept talking about black girls attitudes and black boys pulling up their pants? On several occasions, I attempted to tone IT down a little bit. I tried not to discuss the womanist books I was reading. I decided to make my critiques of mainstream media portrayal of women more palatable. However, this covering didn’t last long. There is something innately spiritual about being a black woman.
The same passion that helped my grandmother and mother overcome the obstacles and hatred of a white supremacist and sexist America thrives in me. It also means I have compassion for the oppressed. Women who are so often belittled by black men and simultaneously excluded from mainstream feminism. Beyonce included many of the women that have been persecuted by the media for their blackness. Serena, Zendaya, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Amandla Stenberg. That is a bold declaration that we will not pretend to be powerless.
All of this to say, I am so glad that I did not attempt to become like Becky & them. I am a womanist. Give me melanin. Give me kinks & curls. Give me intersectionality. Give me Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Michelle Obama, and Maya Angelou. (PLEASE check out #lemonadesyllabus if you haven’t already. It’s dynamic.) You can keep your limited perception of beauty.
Beautiful black queens, don’t make yourself small for anyone. Don’t shrink for the male gaze. Don’t shrink for the white gaze. I’m glad I came to see that it wasn’t my fault his depth was lacking, it was a lot bigger than me. I don’t know if he actually did call Becky with the good hair, but I’m just glad he’s not calling me anymore. I’ve always been a boss because it runs in my blood because I stand on the shoulders of giants. However, for a second, I tried to wade in the shallow waters with him. I’ve been hard at work being a phenomenal melanin filled woman ever since, and #Iaintsorry.