Just last week, I was talking to my roommate about problematic,internet platforms like worldstarhiphop. Alas, this week, Marc Lamont Hill hosted a panel on Huff Post Live to discuss how worldstarhiphop normalizes and incentivizes violence amongst people of color. I was extremely excited because 1. I have been voicing my concerns about this website for years now and 2. Professor Brittney Cooper is all that and a bag of chips and I couldn’t wait to hear the valuable thoughts she’d bring to the discussion. The discussion panel also included RhymeFest, Professor Shayne Lee, Filmmaker Mandon Lovett, and T.V personality Amanda Seales.
**Sidenote: I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding the Sharkeisha video. I refuse to watch it because I have no desire to support worldstarhiphop nor the unsettling pathologies videos like this perpetuate. So of course, they opened the discussion with footage of the fight, in which, I was angry, because I had done such a good job of avoiding the fight. I digress.
So I’m watching the panel discussion, I’m agreeing with half of what’s being said and disagreeing with the other half, the usual. At some point Professor Cooper aka Proffessor Crunk (check out her: http://www.crunkfeministcollective.com) brings up the valid point that violence initiated and carried out by a black man against another black man is taken with a higher rate of severity and call to action than violence initiated and carried out by a black woman against another black woman. She supported this notion by pointing out our culture’s reaction to the Sharkeisha video. We have laughed, shared the video amongst co-workers, and snickered when watching this violent video. I am curious as to why violence between black women is taken with a grain of salt? What pathologies have developed in our culture where this behavior is basically encouraged by the prospect of internet fame?
Anyways, at this point in the discussion, all hell broke lose. RhymeFest found it somewhere deep in his patriachial-filled heart to raise his voice at this sister while asking her, “Why you so mad?” She held her own,obviously, and stated her point very clearly and informatively.
But to RhymeFest and to everyone else who can’t understand why Professor Cooper and womanist like myself are mad, here’s a glimpse into the reason: Black women are constantly being silenced and asked to stay in our place. These messages are sent explicitly through our interactions with black/white men and implicitly through racially-charged stereotypes that impact society’s perceptions of us. We are hardly ever allowed to express ourselves, our struggles, our pains, without being typecast as the “Angry Black Woman,” even when these expressions are valid and grounded in sound rationale. And in the select platforms we are given to express our opinions, such as this, we are asked to back down and think of the greater good before our own (which is what we have been known to do since the beginning of the African-American family.)
Rhymefest accused Professor Cooper of bringing division to the “good fight.” The “good fight” being the fight against violence in black communities aka the fight to end violence amongst black men. If there is division, which there is, it is because many black men refuse to acknowledge the experience(s) of the black woman. They refuse to support our fight, simply because they can’t wipe enough patriarchal, misogynistic, and sexist crust out of their eyes to see merit in our struggles and in our attempts to surpass these struggles. It is as if they feel our success will put theirs in jeopardy.
Why are we constantly asked to be silenced? Why are we constantly asked to validate, support, and uphold the black man, when there is no reciprocation? We are not asking for validation, but so much as a mutual understanding of the under workings of oppression, sexisms, etc that influence black women’s lives daily. It is not that we do not love our men, our community, and our kids, it is that we no longer find it advantageous to put our experiences aside for the sake of the community. We are better than that and we deserve more.
So yes, we are angry RhymeFest and we have every right to be.