Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reclaiming Black Womanhood

I ended my work day with a co-worker showing me a headline on her phone that screamed in bold faced font that our favorite fake black woman is pregnant with a baby. I gagged and then looked up the information on my own iPhone to confirm the miracle foolery. TMZ, The Daily Mirror, and several other 99.9 percent reliable celebrity news sites confirmed that Rachel Dolezal is indeed pregnant with a baby boy and in her second trimester. This confirmation thus commenced the gathering of the black women in the room at my workplace to discuss this latest tea. The conversation, as many conversations do amongst black women, jumped quickly and we went from trying to figure out if the baby would be black, the baby daddy, and we eventually got back to Dolezal and her race switching shenanigans in which I was reminded that she does hair now to make ends meet since she lost all her jobs. If she was actually black I could sympathize with the blackness of this story, hold up a fist of support for a black woman down, pour some out for her struggle, and add her to my prayer request at church. But Rachel ain't Black no matter how many times she proclaims she is, and I ain't the one to offer words of support for her privilege at pretending to struggle.


However, Dolezal's expectancy, the continued blow up, blow back, and critique of the Nicki Minaj-Miley Cyrus VMA beef, and the recent "Born and Made" campaign launched by Carol's Daughter founder Lisa Price got me to thinking about black women and black womanhood and what it means to be and exist as such in a world that prefers our parts over our whole.

Rachel Dolezal's continued classification and representation of herself as a black woman eats at me whenever I see her name. The audacity of her to stake a claim to what she inherently is not, and then try to justify that fatuous claim with professorial philosophizing that "she can argue that she is Black, but not African-American," and that a difference exists between those two labels. The one time Africana Studies professor should know that in this country black folk had to fight to be colored instead of niggers. We had to fight to be negroes instead of colored. We had to sing to be Black instead of Negro, and that after all that fighting, singing, protesting and crying we had to put our marching shoes on once more for us to finally be recognized as African-American.

It is no help to Black women for a pretender to stake claims and define herself in terms that are used interchangeably, and mean the same thing for every Black person in America, except her and maybe a white person who was born and raised in Africa and who later immigrated to America.

Rachel Dolezal's audacious privilege is much like that of Mylie Cyrus who thought she could pop off on Nicki Minaj for not being nice and not expect to be dealt with.

Mylie is almost as bad as Rachel Dolezal. She has entrenched herself in Black culture so much so commercial white America credited her with twerking instead of giving owe to where owe is due to the black girls that showed up for Juvenile's "Back That Ass Up" video in the 9-9 and 2000. Mylie hasn't put the icing on the racial cake by claiming she in fact is black, but she doesn't have to when there is a white woman making that claim for her, and other white women running around thinking they are some fashion designer's muse for rocking artificially fattened lips and stringy teased afros.

Black womanhood belongs to every woman but black women, ("I'm Every Woman" we are not. #RIPNippy) so much so that when black women are unapologetically black we are labeled as angry, ghetto, or told we look like we smell like marijuana and patchouli oil. Locs don't look good unless Rachel Dolezal is rocking them. Weaves are ghetto unless the virgin hair from an Indian temple is flowing from a Kardashian/Jenner head. African prints are not appropriate for work until they float down a fashion week runway with a European desginer's name stitched into the tag. Big lips and big behinds are only cool if the body sporting these plump beauty perfections are melanin deficient.

The separation of black women from their womanhood has been so complete and so thorough by commercial culture that we have had to be reminded of who we are by a select few who never forgot. Those select few gave us #BlackGirlsRock to which some twitter trolls took offense when the First Lady, a black lady, agreed that Black Girls do indeed Rock, and the creator of the empowerment initiative had to respond to the shortlived foolery that was #whitegirlsrock.

Another campaign meant to inspire Black women to own their agency is the week old "Born and Made" campaign launched by Carol's Daughter founder Lisa Price in conjunction with I Am That Girl. The natural hair care guru encourages women to celebrate their heritage. For black women that heritage has been taken from us, given to an other, and then spit back at us in commercials and ad campaigns where we are told we should try to imitate what we already are to compete in a beauty olympics where the race is always rigged.

I choose not to compete and I will not be outdone by a pretender and white women armed with privilege.

I am Nikesha. Born in Chicago. Made with verses, flow, and fire. I am Jackie's daughter.


Who are you?

blog comments powered by Disqus