Sis, We Gotta Stop Letting Black Men Ruin Us

An open letter to black women who’ve listened to Jay-Z’s 4:44 and are waiting on an apology from the men who did you wrong.

This could easily be a conversation about how Beyoncé lost her mind, her career, or her literal life behind Jay-Z. But, thankfully, it is not.

This could also easily be an exploration of Jay-Z’s self-admitted trifling ways. But it’s not that either.

Instead, this is a kind of love letter to black women, in light of some of the post-Jay-Z “4:44” commentary I’ve seen.

This is not meant to be revolutionary; hell, I’m not certain it will even be revelatory. But to black women waiting on an apology from the black man/men who did us wrong:

Sis, we gotta stop letting black men ruin us.

We. Us. You. Me.

We gotta stop.

Stop trying to fix broken records. Stop dating potential. Stop endearing ourselves to their mommas, aunties, and sisters. Stop taking care of them, their washing, their eating, and of their kids.

We gotta do what our foremothers did when their husbands left their homes to get milk for the baby from the corner store, and never came back. Never, came, back, y’all. When they never came back to their home, marriage, or children, our foremothers did what we’d be smart to do:

Move TF on.

We need to stop trying to save negroes who don’t want to be saved; we need to stop trying to love him when he doesn’t want, much less deserve our love. In short, we gotta stop running behind men who outchea moonwalking out of our lives.

Long before we get to this point, we need to announce our personal non-negotiables, and dammit be immovable on them.

Leave when you are dishonored.

Break it off when it doesn’t feel right, good, loving, or if you just plain want to.


You don’t need anyone’s permission, co-signing, or stamp of approval to end a bad thing, and you certainly don’t need it to seek out a better one.

Date new men. Find new love. Stop making the same mistakes over, and over, and over again.

We gotta be our Sister’s keepers.

We gotta stay away from each other’s stuff — Sister’s man, her husband, boyfriend, baby daddy, lover, and her maintenance man too, is off damn limits to your female parts. Stop being trifling.

We can all pretty much agree on that, but let’s consider something truly revolutionary:

Sis, we gotta stop celebrating when the man who ruined us ruins another woman.

That’s right. We gotta stop celebrating ruinous men ruining any woman —even a woman who has betrayed our Sisterhood’s sacred trust. We made him and his situation look so good that Sister really thought she was getting herself a prize — a poison that looked like it tasted so good, she was willing to steal it because of her own desperate thirst. But know this:

We can’t reclaim our waters on the sea of our Sister’s thirst of brokenness.

If you can get yourself an apology, by all means: get it. Just know that whatever healing you need will not come as a result of anyone else’s apology alone.

Above all, let’s not wait ‘til the water runs dry waiting on an apology we seek to give us the happiness we deserve.

Crystal deGregory Ph.D.

The musings of a black woman PhD.

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