Even when people are trying to be uplifting, they always end up putting their foot in it…
After watching Sunday’s BET Awards, I really felt compelled to write an article. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but I figured between Beyoncé and Kendrick’s opening act to Jesse Williams’ incredible speech, that I would find something to talk about. I don’t know why I was worried since someone always has to say something stupid and give me content to comment on. It’s been just three days since the BET Awards aired, and here are the three responses that I think have totally missed the mark.
First, of all: Justin Timberlake.
In response to the tweet shown below…
Justin Timberlake decided to respond with…
…and then later this:
Now, I get it. Black music and culture is amazing. We’re trendsetters and creators of entire genres, espeically those that seem to be associated with and credited to white people (hi there rock and roll). I get that you want to share and live in this false reality where everything is everybody’s. No, no, no. Sorry. Take a step back.
“The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation.”
“…I really do feel that we are all one…a human race.”
Saying that we are all one human race when the conversation is about black people and the difficulties within that community is in the same vain as screaming “All Lives Matter” at a Black Lives Matter rally.
In a fantasy world, also known as the white reality, it must be nice to think that we are all one race. Tell that to the black boy who was chased by a group of his peers, called “nigger,” and then later died of an asthma attack a few months ago? Tell this to the 60% prison population that is black, while we only make up 30% of the United States population. Tell this to the black people convicted of non-violent crimes who get three times as more time on their sentence than their white counterparts. Tell this to those who live in the ghettos, a system created from a process called red-lining, where the government pushed miniorities into areas and starved them of their resources. Tell this to the slaves that were taken in 1555 from the shores of West Africa and then carted to the Caribbean and Latin America. Tell this to the slaves who were then brought to the United States in 1619. Tell this to the black women who carried the bastard babies of their white slave masters who raped them because they were seen as property, as sub-human, as less than. Tell this to the black people who were lynched for glancing at a white woman and watched like a mainstage show as white people gathered in fields to watch it as entertainment. Tell this to the little black child who wanted to be a cop when they were younger, and now that they’re older and have been frisked for no reason, the idea of being a cop is now dead.
It’s a very nice bubble to live in, Justin. The truth of the matter is that biologically, we are one human race, but we are not all the same. Centuries of racism and oppression have made sure of that. And it’s great that you can say that and you probably mean it, but don’t use that as an invalidation for when people call you out on benefiting, profiting, and stealing from black culture.
2. Sit down, Tomi Lahren.
I’m just going to cut to the chase with this one. Tomi Lahren calls herself a news entertainer, and to watch the full video for better context, here you go.
- She says “wealthy black entertainers” as if their wealth somehow invalidates their experiences.
- Also, them being wealthy does not mean that they should not stand up for the black community and what is right. It’s people like them and like Jesse Williams who will help get and bring the appropriate attention to these issues.
- Does she really think that someone grabbing a person is equal to someone being killed by a gun by a public servant? Is she honestly this stupid? Is that really the comparison that she made?
- Also, let’s be clear: the Civil War was about economics not black people. Black people being “freed” was the seasoning they threw on the main course to make it taste better in the history books.
- And yeah, sure, if we’re going with the logic that white people fought to help free black people from bondage, who put us there in the first place?
- She emphasizes the worlds “Democrats” as if it should mean something, but if this ignorant, sad excuse of a news anchor actually did her job and conducted some research, she would know that the Democratic party of back then was basically the Republican party of now and the two parties actually switched views and ideologies by 1936 when President Roosevelt was reelected.
- Did she miss the part where Jesse said “we,” as in black people as a whole? Once again, she’s trying to employ tactics to divide black people up by how much money we make as if the problems end once black people acquire money. No, they don’t.
- What in the message about unifying, creating our own, and demanding justice is feeling sorry for ourselves? Someone needs to give this girl a dictionary.
3. Aryn Drake-Lee is not the ideal black woman because there is no ideal black woman.
Ever since Sunday, this picture of Jesse Williams and his wife Aryn Drake-Lee has been floating around the interwebs with the caption: “This is Jesse and his wife Aryn. Do you see all her weave, makeup, crazy body, or fly clothing? Yeah me neither. What a conscious brother wants in a woman you can’t see. Stop lying to yourselves. Y’all don’t want no brother like him.”
I feel like people try to be well-intentioned without actually knowing what that actually entails.
The issue I have with this is that we are yet again pitting black women against black women.
Pump the brakes. Wearing a weave is okay. Not wearing a weave is equally okay. Not wearing makeup is cool. Wearing makeup is equally as cool. Just because one influential and smart black guy is married to a woman like this does not mean that every single influential and smart black guy will be married to a woman who looks exactly like Aryn. Stop the comparison and focus on something more important, like her career or what she has to say or something. The same thing happens with Ayesha Curry, and it has to stop. You think you’re being “woke” and helping to progress the black community but you’re so far off the mark that you can’t even see it. You’re using the topics of weaves, makeup, body shape, clothing, etc. to determine a black woman’s value and worth above another black woman, and while you think you’re being enlightened, all you’re doing is perpetuating a misogynoir culture. As DJ Khaled would say: congratulations, you just played yourself.
People are always going to have something negative to say even when it’s wrapped in a blanket of positive intentions.
What are your thoughts on the 2016 BET Awards? What were your favorite parts? I’d love to hear your thoughs in the comments section below!