Beyonce is the New Black: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Assimilation When Having Hot Sauce In Your Bag Ain’t Enough
“Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power, not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.”-bell hooks
Unless you live in a house with Keyshia Cole or Keri Hilson, with your curtains closed, while sitting in a dark corner, rocking back and forth like Miss Sophia sat in that jail til she near about done rot to death, every time Beyoncé’s name is mentioned, I am 100 percent certain that by now you have heard the song, seen the video and watched the beast Super Bowl performance to accompany Beyoncé’s “Formation”. Further, you are well aware that all 3 are about as Black as bacon grease in a coffee can on the back of your Big Mama’s stove.
Further, you are cognizant of the documented fact that Beyoncé gives no fucks and is completely and utterly out of time and effort to search for any to give. This time around, she is celebrating her Blackness and yours. Knowles-Carter is using her international platform to take society’s bullshit to task and to celebrate the beauty in concepts others disregard, such as showing love to the cultural cornucopia that is the Black LGBTQ community, the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party, bounce music, the genocide that is police brutality, the American tragedy and racially motivated embarrassment that was the response to Hurricane Katrina, Kelly Rowland’s original nose, kinky kitchens, Texas Pete in your clutch and my personal connections to the anthem….. collard greens and cornbreads, with an “S”, and post-coital excursions to Red Lobster for cheddar bay biscuits and king crab legs.
See? Bacon. Grease. Black.
To no surprise, the ghosts of Jim Crow past have reared their ugly heads and taken aim and yet another person of color who dares look their racist asses in the eyes and say No sir. Not me. Not today.
Regina George, Gretchen Weiners and the rest of the Mean Girls have decided to try to make fetch happen by proclaiming that Beyoncé’s message is anti-police, read anti-white, and a protest has been planned to boycott the NFL and Beyoncé. Although, the jury is still out on how exactly one boycotts the Christ child and expects to make it into the kingdom. There are even reports that a FBI probe into Knowles-Carter’s ties to the Black Panther Party has been requested by a lawmaker in Toronto ahead of NBA All Star Weekend. I mean….this is a torrential down pour of white tears the likes of which the world has never seen.
That in and of itself is not news, that’s just a regular ass Monday. But,what is absolutely shocking and telling is the target that has been placed in the crosshairs of the often unspoken respectability politics that are the relationship between white society and Black women…..
Beyoncé? The precious Lamb of God? The same Beyoncé that had all of yall’s tired asses out here in booty shorts with no booty doing the Crazy In Love dance at Karaoke happy hours and bat mitzvahs across this country? The same Beyoncé you dressed your child up as for Halloween? The same Beyoncé that you loved, adored and admired for Single Ladies so much that for 3 damn summers straight we had to watch you make fools of yourselves on YouTube, America’s Funniest Home Videos and Ellen trying to recreate a rhythmless version of the choreography?
I’ll let you in on a not so little secret. Beyoncé is Black. In fact, she has always been Black. From the moment Matthew and Tina Knowles found out there was no room in the inn and gave birth to her, wrapped her in swaddling clothes and laid her in a manger, Beyoncé was Black.
Her name is Beyoncé.
Her mama gathered all the Rhinestones and material in 3rd Ward and made her clothes and glued in her tracks before her shows.
She made a song called Bootylicious.
THAT’S NOT EVEN A WORD BLACK.
She’s married to Sean Quarter Water Marcy Houses Ain’t No N* Like the One I Got Carter!
When it comes to Beyoncé, all roads lead to Black. And it’s almost like white people just found out this weekend that Beyoncé was in fact a Black women. It’s almost like they feel betrayed. It is mind boggling to me how quickly society will turn its back on a Black person once they fall out of line with what they believe proper conduct and behavior of Black people should be.
Especially Black women.
As soon as a Black woman makes a statement, self-affirming her Blackness, she is shunned, questioned and reminded that self-love was not designed for Black women.
No one in the world knows the effects and challenges that come with being 100 percent unapologetic about proclaiming your power than the Black woman. How you get it, what you do with it when you have it, do you even deserve it? Not to mention the numerous stereotypes and depictions that the media and honestly, society at large try to paint of Black women. Ghetto, loud, angry, finger snapping, neck and eye rolling.
Then there is the one sided fight and struggle that is mainstream feminism. Black women are fighting dual battles everyday, having to choose between their Blackness and their womanhood.
When Patricia Arquette and Jennifer Lawrence are fighting for equal pay for women in Hollywood, they aren’t fighting for Viola Davis and Angela Bassett. Trust me. Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright are major supporters of Hillary Clinton’s fight to become the first female President. But, one has to wonder, did they go this hard in the paint for Shirley Chisolm during her 1972 campaign for the same history making feat?
Black, the other femininity.
What we are witnessing now is the macro product of the microaggressions Black women have to deal with every day of their lives.
Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.
You know what they are.
If you wear an African print blouse to work, you have to worry about Bob in acquisitions commenting on how “colorful” you are today.
It’s how Phil in accounting changes your name from Shoshana to “Shaunie” because it’s “easier for him to pronounce”.
It’s when you wear your hair in braids, Michelle in advertising reaches out to touch them without asking while commenting on how “she doesn’t see you as a black girl.”
Slight, subtle aggressions that let you know that society does not respect your expressions, your identity or even your personal space as a Black woman.
It is enough to make you want to assimilate.
To change your name on your resume to avoid having it end up on the bottom of the pile. To not wear your hair however it is you personally prefer for fear of unwanted hands in your tresses all day. To not associate with other people of color in the office for fear of being stereotyped.
And that is why the choices that Beyoncé is making with her platform right now are so important. This movement is for all the little colored girls who have considered assimilation when having hot sauce in your bag isn’t enough. It is ok to be your naturally, beautiful Black self.
Beyoncé isn’t the only Black woman in history to use their platform to bring about social awareness and change.
Nina Simone and Billie Holiday sang about Strange Fruit hanging from trees and blood on the leaves. Lauryn Hill wouldn’t allow society to strip her of her identity and has made a statement by not releasing a full length album in nearly 20 years. Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation Era, Ruby Dee, Toni Morrison, Jada Pinkett Smith, Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya, Queen Latifah, Johnetta Elzie. Black women have been here all along. Fighting for the right to be bold, proud and authentically Black women, secure in their own skin, so that you too as a Black woman can feel beautiful in yours.
Black women gave birth to the world and I’m convinced they will be the ones to save it. You stand in the gap for Black men even when we don’t return the favor. We need the voice of Black women. Be who you are. Wear your hair in braids, Wear your hair in weaves. Love who you want, when you want and how you want. Wear what you want and have the right to say no means no. Make as much money as your talents deserve. Be strong, be powerful, be brave, be resilient.
And recognize that like Beyoncé, there will be people out there who do not wish you well. People who do not want to hear your voice, see your strength, witness your success.
And that’s fine too.
Because you see, this movement is not about them. It is about Black women and honestly Black people in general, finally having a sense of pride in your Black identity being revitalized. Being able to finally see how your Black heritage and culture fits into American society and being unafraid to put it on front street for all to be privy to. Society sees the power and influence that the Black woman has and they don’t want to see it flourish.
To them, I say nothing.
Because we owe them nothing.
Pro-black does not mean anti-white.
Being anti-police brutality, does not mean being anti police.
If society doesn’t want to see or believe that, it’s ok.
It is not our responsibility to explain racism or show empathy in the face of ignorance over and over again to those who “don’t know” what is or is not racist. In 2016, the issue is bigger than people just not knowing, it’s people not wanting to know, not caring to know and even when they are told, still finding a way to place blame on those being victimized.
Key*DJ Khaled voice*: The fact that society feels as though the conversation of white supremacy and privilege, and the messages relaying the anger Black people hold about constantly being treated like second class citizens in this country, should be shrouded in empathy for white people’s hurt feelings about being forced to actually come to terms with said white supremacy and second rate treatment is the problem. That’s why progress in race relations is moving at a snail’s pace. Society has to check their privilege at the door and realize that for once in America…your feelings don’t matter. Black people have a right to speak candidly about our feelings on the detriment white privilege has caused minority communities without the weight of having to worry about offending the privileged of which we speak. That’s called oppression and thanks to the efforts of women like Beyoncé, it is pretty clear that Black women are not standing for it anymore.
Being Black is lit right now. Get in formation. Black women are already there.