black women

The People’s Definition of Beauty

“The Dark “Natural” Black woman has long been a fetish, even, I’m sad to say, to our own race. She’s the one who “dares” to exist as she was born in a world that encourages her to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards, and therefore, from the get go, she is viewed as a hostile/stubborn/strong individual; someone to be forced into submission through self-hatred. She is reminded of her colour, her ethnicity, every time someone mentions it and makes it seem like a handicap.

I find it interesting to note though, that people who measure beauty by aforementioned Eurocentric standards, people who look to Pop Culture to inform them what’s hot or not, still refuse to embrace Lupita as an icon. I find myself wondering whether it’s to do with the fact that embracing her beauty would have to mean actually facing the fact that through the mainstream media we have been told and shown that we’re not considered desirable, something many deny, or whether the self-hatred runs so deep that women who look like her will not be deemed worthy to such people, no matter who says so.

Many dismiss her as “average”. “I can find a woman who looks like her just walking to the store,” they say, insinuating that the average woman to them isn’t in the least bit attractive or worthy of attention, no less admiration. To understand why Lupita is not a Goddess to many, why her triumphs are insignificant, we will need to understand that the bar has been contorted to fit only a specific mould and her acceptance will see her not only altering it, but possibly maiming it and proving it redundant and unrealistic. And during this process she will obviously face resistance, as we’re currently bearing witness to.”

 

My first piece for C Hub Magazine. Read more here.

Strength of a Woman

Things irk me. I wish it were as simple as saying they annoy me but when it comes to womanhood, the things that make me feel like being a woman is a burden, a curse, something to be ashamed of, hurt me in a rather unique way.

Most days I’m okay with the fact that, going out into the world, logging onto a social network, hell, going on Yahoo, means I need to switch off internally to a certain degree and get ready for hostility. Being a Woman is much like being a warrior, even when you aren’t actively at war, you’re ready to fight.  And sometimes, I wish it wasn’t that way. Some days I get tired of fighting.

You can only ignore so much, I find, til you probably have to break down, then wipe the slate clean and start again. Start registering more hate and more pain and more of what comes with being who you are, where you are, and what you are.

Women aren’t meant to complain. And by “complain” I mean be honest and vocal about what hurts them, or what hurts anyone else. We are everyone’s punching bag. Everyone’s dump site. Everyone’s maid, lover, stress ball..Anyone’s anything.

Facelessly.

Silently.

I wonder, if it weren’t for “radical” friends, books, social media, all the ways women show support to and for other women, how many women would know they actually exist?

As people and not Lesser Beings.

How many would know they need to be their own Everything and not someone’s something?

I realize I’m faceless when I’m harassed on the street. There I’m just another body.

I realize I’m faceless when I’m shamed and stared at for my shorts or cleavage or walking a certain way.  To them, I’m just another [young] woman being nasty and disgusting. Something to hate and judge.

I realize I’m faceless when my parents tell me I’m a disappointment. To them, I’m just a dream gone wrong.

I realize I’m voiceless when I try to explain [myself].

When I come home, dead tired, and have to cook because I’m a woman. When  my brother, who’s 11, does nothing more than fry drumsticks every two months because “he’s still a baby” and I’ve been cooking for all of them since the same age. I realize I am just an able [female] body then.

When I hear the many variations of “dark skinned VS light skinned women” and I’m told I’m alright because I’m light, I know  to some men, we’re just colours with vaginas.

The arguments over what a woman should look like or be. We aren’t people,bodies,women..we’re clay everyone thinks they have the right to mould.

And how do you think it feels to live in a society that only acknowledgeS you exist when either degrading, dismissing or dehumanizing you?

To work at enlightening and emancipating people who think you’re silly?

What it’s like to live when you’re dead in other people’s eyes.

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Words To A Daughter

  1. If you really loved him, and he hurt you, the broken heart will be repaid. Somehow. The Universe reacts to the pain of  Black Women. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quietly, but it does.
  2. You may end up heartbroken and finding solace in temporary lovers who belong elsewhere.  You may end up like your mother and simultaneously intrigue while repelling. You may be blessed with Love.  You may have no time for it. You may fear it, and you may just shut yourself off and focus on anything and everything else. And all of this is fine if you feel so. If it feels right and necessary.
  3. Men who don’t even belong to themselves are only for temporary use.
  4. Some days you will take long showers and hot baths seeking things in the water you could not find on the Earth. Peace, understanding, silence. You will get it. Until the water turns cold or the mist begins to disrupt your breathing. Then it’ll be easier to just go back to the Earth.
  5. I hope you forgive me, I didn’t know. And I don’t know if I would have done anything different had I known. But maybe. I think I would have.
  6. I would have loved you better.
  7. You changed my Life, for the better. Thank you.
  8. The readers and the thinkers are those who get the most out of this Life. Do both passionately. For yourself.
  9. Insecurity is a disease. It’s symptoms are aggravated by society.
  10. Your skin, your features, honey, they are beautiful. It may take you years to see it. Countless books and documentaries and hours spent staring at the mirror naked, but see it. See it all, eventually.
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Other Side Of The Game

I had a friend who loved Miss Badu. She was the quintessential Nubian Queen.  Long print skirts, short natural hair, big brown eyes and a smile that you won’t often see. A smile untainted by the Evils of the Concrete Jungle. A smile you’d find on one of those little kids that live in some remote forest far from our organised chaos.

Her perfect man was a tall, dark man, with dreads, a poet, someone you’d find in an India Arie music video. Beads on his wrists, bags by his side and poetry on his Lips. That was the beauty she held out for.  While I complained about being unable to find an honest, trustworthy man who’s good in bed, she complained about not being able to find a man who was honest to his craft, good in that respect, respectful, who oozed Soul.

She had a Badu song ready for every type of situation that might arise and rings for days.

We differed greatly. I’d quote Nicki Minaj, have casual sex, swear, smoke and be the exact opposite of the calm aura she exuded. She was never able to understand how I could feel her, understand her completely, and still not be like her. Our friendships ended when I found Lust in a place where she had almost discovered Fake Love. But I’d honestly rather have had him use me than her. 

 

She was beautiful and hopeful. I have been beautiful and jaded for years. 

She loved artists. I am one and have loved others such as myself. I no longer see their appeal.

She felt natural was the way to be to discover real Beauty. I preferred to find Beauty in the chaos. 

She was a virgin. I am fairly skilled in the Art of Seduction and Satisfaction.

And she felt I could not be these things because I am, to a certain degree, wise. 

See, I wonder how she feels about Q.U.E.E.N. 

Will it take a Neo-Soul song stating that Women can in fact be as they please, to make her realize that no, I wasn’t just sleazy and  somehow by some miracle blessed with intelligence?

Will it take a song to remind the Konscious folk that I can twerk and study? And it is not shameful. That by exploring my femininity, I am not renouncing my Queendom?

Because how is it that even the Women who claim to be all about Women being “beautiful” and “free” believe we should only be so through being chaste, silently powerful and unaffected by the World we live in?

They will love you until you straighten your hair.

They will love you until you have sex with someone you don’t see as your King.

They will love you until they realize you’re only trying to teach those who want to learn because time’s too limited to be wasting it on those who don’t want to learn.

They will love you until you switch up your sandals and head wrap for stilettos and weaves in a club setting.

 

I sometimes wonder if people don’t listen. If they don’t learn.

When you say no one should tell a Woman how to be then turn around and attempt to do so, do you not choke a bit on your hypocrisy?

Because when Miss Badu dyes her hair blonde, she’s discovering new things. When I do it, I’m trying to be a White Woman. 

When I fall in Love with a European man named Mark, I’m a sell out because he doesn’t have in-depth knowledge of African tribes and doesn’t sell beads from his bag as he travels across Africa helping refugees. 

“Black Love” is always depicted as couples with dreads or afros. Bald ladies in intimate poses with dreadlocked men. I have seen women with straightened hair a handful of times in such images, I dare say 3. And the only women with weaves I’ve seen depicting Black Love are usually in BDSM shoots. So it leads me to wonder, is our Black Love only pure if we’re natural?

I mean, let’s be honest, a lot of us are only uplifting and acknowledging the parts of Black society and culture they want to.

How does exploring my body make me less of a Queen? Please, tell me. 

How does make-up mean I’m spitting in the faces of all the Goddesses associated with feminine beauty?

How does adapting, adjusting to the modern World make me less Aware?

Before I reach Zion, will I need to recite every line in Lauryn’s “Doo Wap”?

Will I need to twist locs in order to enter Black Koscious Heaven?

Am I a bad person because I smoke weed to get high and you smoke it to “reach a higher plane and open your third eye”? [Which in my eyes, honey, IS getting high..But what do I know?]

Am I automatically like them [the ignorant],because I’m not like you?

Is our Love not real because I think of him when I hear Beyonce’s 1+1 and not India Aries’ The Truth?

Am I still a Queen when I question the views of your third eye, with my tattoos that read in English and my natural, yet dyed hair?

Do I qualify? Am I worthy?

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We DO love them Ho’s

I love women.

I love strippers, housewives, prostitutes, nuns and ho’s.  I want the best for them all, whether that means going to med school or being a porn star til you make enough to retire. I respect them, I adore them, I admire them.

But this does not stop me from screaming out “Bitches ain’t shit but ho’s and tricks” when the track comes on..Yes, I do want a big booty ho for my birthday and Juicy J gets me hype as hell.

Now anyone who listens to Hip Hop would understand why it’s considered ideal for misogynists.  The lyrics are mostly derogatory towards women, or rather, “bitches”.

“I just fuck her, let you love her.” -King Louie

“I don’t respect no brain unless we talkin’ that saliva spit,
Ho I got a lot of bread, lot of whips, lot of chicks,
You can be demolished then be gone without acknowledgement..” -Wale

“I never met a bitch that didn’t need a little guidance..” – Pusha T

“You see, me and my homies like to play this game
We call it Amtrak but some call it the train
We all would line up in a single-file line
And take our turns at waxing girls’ behinds..” – 2 Live Crew

Bitches are, mainly, sex objects, This is made apparent not only by the lyrics, but by the music videos too. Attractive women are recruited to play out the fantasies the lyrics sold in the first place. Lesbian scenes to excite the masses, scantily clad females shaking ass and looking like they enjoy it. They feed into our fantasies while still making us uncomfortable, because we know..That’s someone’s sister. Someone’s mother maybe. Definitely someone’s daughter. And these men saying these things, are of our ethnicity. They are of our tribe and this is not some random man from afar calling you a Nappy Headed Ho, it’s someone with equally nappy hair.

As my politically correct side and my ratchet side collided, I began to make up excuses in my head of why I should in fact continue listening to these men who tell me to “bus’ this pussy open” and how, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. My PC side reminded me that I am a Black woman and by being a part of this, I’m allowing them to continue the breakdown of Black women and spread misogyny and patriarchy.

It was a tough call.

As I sat I thought..

Black men can’t REALLY hate us. I mean, on the surface it looks like it, but do they really?

They verbally abuse and degrade these women on a grand scale. Granted, the women place themselves in these situations but as they themselves often say. “A bitch gotta eat.”

Looking at these men, most are married to or in relationships with Black women. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Dr Luke, Wiz Khalifa.. Despite their “Bitches ain’t shit” crap, they have stable homes with the very women we’d expect them to be shunning.

On that note, we get to the ‘Ho’s.  Strippers are big right now. No rap video worth it’s salt doesn’t have at least 5 of them twerking, gyrating and doing splits. You’d think after the video shoots these women would be discarded,no? These are the ones society would consider the true Ho’s,I mean, they take off their clothes for money. Nope. Wrong.

Wiz Khalifa is currently expecting a child with Amber Rose, a former stripper who was previously with Kanye West and has been linked to Fabolous and Chris Brown among others. Kanye West himself is now expecting a baby with self made Millionaire Kim Kardashian who shot to fame after her sex tape with Ray J leaked. Tyga has a child with Blac Chyna, a former stripper. Drake doesn’t hide his adoration for them, and has been linked to Maliah Michel, Kyra Chaos and Bria Myles, a video vixen. Lil Wayne has been quoted as saying Karrine Steffans AKA SupaHead is the love of his life and supposedly wrote his song Prostitute about her.

These are the bitches and ho’s they supposedly don’t care about.  They are the women they’re looking after and loving. Rappers go to strip clubs and spend thousands and we think they’re treating these women like objects, which may be true but in the grand scheme of things, these women take home this money to feed their kids. They pay their bills and build lives by what they get from these men who supposedly hate them.

These Black men who, granted, on a public forum don’t really do much praising, are, in action helping out, providing for and supporting these Black women. Wale went and placed one of the female characters in Ambitious Girl as a stripper.

I had to look beyond the blatant bullshit and wonder, are these men really just doing this to eat? I mean, we all know, it’s hard for the darker race over there. You have to be a puppet to survive..Is that what’s up? And if so, maybe, as Wayne said, I can “pop my pussy for a real nigga” and it won’t be that much of an issue. Because he doesn’t REALLY think I’m nothing but a “big booty ho”. When the song’s done,I’ll go back to being an attractive, intelligent female. It could be pipe dreams. But at the same time, there’s always more than meets the eye.

[On that note, I suggest you check out this 4 part documentary on Strippers [Power of Pussy] here. It looks at the challenges they face and the misconceptions they seek to clear up. There’s lots of ass and beautiful women in there too. Enjoy]

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