Snip, snip h*e
Not only do Black Lives Matter, but Black hair matters too. At a time when representation has become a national conversation, especially following incidents like the KTVU coverage of Nia Wilson's murder, this statement becomes necessary.
Today, Netflix is shining light on this narrative in their film "Nappily Ever After" starring Sanaa Lathan and directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. Really, there’s a market for this kind of narrative because it is a prevalent issue in the Black women’s community.
This conversation about Black hair can be investigated from a more focused lens: a Black woman's haircut. The first time I officially cut my hair (I say “officially” because I had *unsuccessfully* clipped my ends a few times before) was around the beginning of last year. As I sat in that barber's chair, I heard one thing in my head: "Snip, snip, h*e.”
Yes, I'm mad,
If you have something to say, you should say it. Right now, we are in an epoch of blatant racism, no thanks to the mouthpiece that got elected by Russia in 2016. But, before I get into that, I would like to say welcome back. It's been a while since I've been on this blog, so let's talk about what brought me back. It wasn't Nia Wilson, or Harith Augustus, or the 10 year old boy who was treated like a man and thrown to the ground by police. This is not about them individually but collectively. Where is the humanity for Black people?
I took a hiatus from this blog because I'm writing a book and in grad school, but this is something I can make time for because this is something that I have to live through every day. I watched people break down in tears after the Harith Augustus murder because they were grieving their loved ones who were murdered at the hands of the police.
I've watched my sister get into it with a white, male officer who seemed like he wanted to do her harm. I have personal experience with ineffective policing. So, understandably, I am tired, I am angry, and I am moved to action.
Social Media gave us #BlackLivesMatter, the OG #MeToo movement, #BlackGirlMagic, #BlackBoyJoy, #BlackWomanMagic, and #BlackManMagic (okay, maybe I made that one up, but it should definitely be a thing too). The point is, social media has been almost quintessential in modern day grassroots activism. So, why do I deem it a love/hate relationship between the Black community and social media? Tagging “hate” onto there implies that there must be a dark side to social media activism and I believe there is. Using my former examples, I will demonstrate its dark side.
#BlackLivesMatter was easily gentrified to say "AllLivesMatter." Yes, you salt-guzzling, Trump supporting, tone deaf bozos. Of course, all lives matter. However, Black lives were foregrounded because it’s black lives that are being taken at an alarming rate. We don’t just mean the mass murders by cops; we also mean the PTSD and other post-slavery scars we are still dealing with to this day. The same goes for #MeToo which was white washed as well. Like classic white feminism, the attention was taken from a Black Woman to put a white woman front and center. It’s not reverse racism or internalized misogyny; it’s the truth.
So, I recently finished binge-watching Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It" on Netflix and, honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. At one point, I took a break from the show (albeit brief) because I didn't really like the direction it was travelling. Yet, something pulled me back and inspired me to finish watching it. Was it Lee's creative genius? Was it DeWanda Wise’s powerful acting? Was it the theme? I'm not sure. In general, I'm undecided about how to feel.
I'll start off with the pros, though. First and foremost, I enjoyed that Lee foregrounded an artistic Black woman. I feel like throughout the season, viewers were able to see Nola essentially categorize her body as a work of art. As an artist myself, this was something I really delighted in seeing. Then, Lee set it in Manhattan, which is no surprise since that borough encompasses Harlem - the mecca for Black art. This ties into the second thing that I enjoyed about the series.
Lee payed homage to a slew of talented artists. From the continual recesses to showcase Black musicians to dedicating an opening segment where Nola went down a long list of Harlem's artistic forefathers (and mothers), the director did not shy away from acknowledging the role art has played in the Black community.
Author’s Note: “Mo’s Mix” opens in the year 2022, so “Millennial Diaries,” the prequel, will cover all time before that. The first entry was set in the present-day (2017), but this entry steps back in time.
Introduction: So, I've been sitting on this idea for a minute. The entry you're about to read, "Broke and Bougie," was started in May of this year and finished today (December 13th). Millen(nia)l Diaries is a way to peer at the lives of the characters inside "Mo's Mix" before readers meet them in the first book. The short story series “Millen(nia)l Diaries” will run concurrently with this blog, but I have not decided when I will premiere the series yet. In the meantime, here is a brief glimpse on what I plan to do with Millen(nia)l Diaires (this segment may be extended in the future). Enjoy!
And every day I wake up celebrating shit (Why?)
Naya Rivera was just arrested for domestic violence against her husband. Previously, Rivera was romantically linked to Big Sean, but the couple split and many believe Big Sean's anthem "IDFWU" was an open letter to his ex, who he was set to marry, but there were complications. Fast-forward to today, Big Sean is living his life and Rivera is currently dealing with a domestic battery charge. There have been mixed reactions elicited from social media, AKA millennial news. Big Sean seemingly responded in this shady tweet.
These allegations spark a conversation. Usually when discussing domestic violence, the focus is on women, since women are more affected by domestic violence. Following the revelation about Naya Rivera, some women laughed about it and said that her husband overreacted. This bothered some men because, had a man "laughed" about Chris Brown and Rihanna, the man would likely be crucified. Some go as far as to say there's a double standard when it comes to dealing with oppression.
“I pledge blind allegiance
That sounds about white...I mean right. With the current racial climate of these un-United states, many things weigh heavy on my heart. Then, as I was reading poems from Frank X. Walker’s “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers,” I started thinking about this little thing we call freedom. In one of his persona poems, Walker compares the murder of Emmett Till to baking a pecan pie and it’s grotesquely painful - thinking about what Emmett Till suffered, what his mother suffered, and what we suffer.
That same day, I was talking in groupme with my organization Younge Black Artist Movement and someone asked, “What can a blind man see?” I wrote a poem in response to this query where I alluded to Walker’s poem because it hit me. The danger of color blindness is that we forget how race has functioned in society. Race shouldn’t matter, but unfortunately, it does.
Here’s my response to the question:
Is the All Lives Matter movement to blame for what happened at the University of Hartford? Oh, wait...that's right. They only pop up when Black people begin discussing Black liberation. When those Black kids brutally beat that mentally disabled white young man in Chicago, critics were saying it was a "Black Lives Matter" group, although BLM had nothing to do with that act. It was all part of a scheme to paint BLM as a terrorist group. Tomi Lahren once compared BLM to the KKK, which was an oversimplification of the movement. For one, the KKK was formed to instill fear. BLM is not a movement based on hatred; it is a movement based on the brutality that people of color face on a day-to-day basis. It is an iteration that Black lives matter just as much as white lives because this is not seen. Chennel Rowe, let's say her name, was the victim of a hate crime and the agitator actually admitted to it on social media. See below:
By: Jay. Tha Poet. (2017)
The "Rebellious Woman" blog is a periodic scoop on hair, love, race, politics, and everything in between. Stay tuned for reflections the life of a rebel with a cause!