Wednesday
Jul152015

National Defend A Black Girl Day: Black People Rally Around Amandla Stenberg

Like Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day and the Super Moon, every once in a while, the Earth aligns with Pluto. The tides rise. Fish walk. And Black people rally to defend a Black girl in public spaces. It is such a rare event, that it is worth noting with some kind of monument, perhaps a placard or a certificate. I hereby  declare today National Defend a Black Girl Day.

On today we honor every grown Black person who rallied behind young Black actress Amandla Stenberg when she was attacked by the BRAVO network for comments she made to Kylie Jenner after Kylie sported cornrows and tagged her post #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter (*eyeroll*).  Andy Cohen, a fully grown man and BRAVO host,  called Amandla the "Jackhole of the Day" while two grown Black people, Andre Leon Tally and Laverne Cox giggled and joined in.

I'm no idealist. I know that this rare act of publicly circling the wagons in support of a young Black girl is due in part to

- a dislike of anything Kardashian
-a dislike of Andy Cohen
-a dislike of Laverne Cox
-a dislike of BRAVO
- a dislike of Andre Leon Tally

But I'll take it.

I was once an outspoken teenaged Black girl. Outspoken women, Black, White or otherwise tend to pay a heavy price for their boldness so it is refreshing to see a hedge of protection temporarily being placed around Amandla.

So mark this day on your calendars and let's hope it rolls around again before Halley's comet returns.

Monday
Jul062015

Luvvie Ajayi’s Attack on Black Beauty Bloggers: Been There. Done That. Got the T-shirt

Nearly a decade ago, marauding gangs of Internet Ike Turners attempted to terrorize Black women bloggers by demanding that they issue loyalty oaths on their blogs. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. We've already fought the Black Woman Blog Autonomy Wars ( Several times actually). Must we re-fight them all over again?

Its one thing to criticize a blogger for what they put out into the marketplace of ideas. Its another thing demand that they produce the content of your choice.

Last week Blogger, @Luvvie of Awesomely Luvvie attacked/critiqued/encouraged Black beauty bloggers in general for failing to use the #Charleston hashtag.

You can read Luvvie’s full “critique”/attack on Black Beauty Bloggers on the Storify she created to memorialize her attack/critique/encouragement.

In summary, she calls all Black beauty bloggers (except her friends) cheap brand whores obsessed with frivolous things like lipstick, shoes and an outfit-of-the day. Again, read the critique/attack/encouragement for yourself - do NOT take my word for it.

The issue has been framed as being about  “silence in the face of tragedies.” But that analysis is based on a number of assumptions about Black beauty bloggers all of which view Black beauty bloggers' motivations in the least charitable light - in other words, there's a whole lot of projection being directed at an entire group of bloggers that to my knowledge haven't done anything to anybody other than be run by Black women and exist.

An alternative view of her critique/attack/encouragement is that this is about the extreme entitlement to the resources of Black women - entitlements rarely extended to Black men and their resources. 

This is about attempting to dictate how Black women must grieve in public. Not even our sorrow belongs to us.

I've struggled to put my feelings about Charleston into words. I've relied on posting a YouTube video and photographs.  And I've actually been writing about horrific crimes of violence for almost a decade. Some people say that a hashtag is not too much to ask.

I don't assume that these women are unwilling to say something - there is also a possibility that they don't know what to say or how. Sorry for your loss? You're in my thoughts and prayers? What do you say in the face of such massive loss?

Heck the nation doesn't even know what it wants to say. We've moved on from the slaughter of six women and three men in a house of worship to fixating on a flag and monuments - anything to avoid the details of what happened in that church when a group of dedicated Black folk welcomed their assassin into their presence and prayed for him before he slaughtered them. They prayed for him before he killed them.  Maybe that's a simple matter that will fit neatly into a hashtag, but don't assume other people have such a simplified view of the world.

No matter how much people on Twitter and Facebook have been demeaning them as a group, being a BLACK. beauty. blogger is a revolutionary act. I’m going to say that again. Creating platforms that focuses on the beauty of Black women and girls is a revolutionary act. It's not anymore frivilous than writing recaps of ratchet reality television shows.

I know you may dabble in lotions, potions and products, but you’re a warrior (in your own way) - even if you don’t realize it.  

Black women and girls have a right to have spaces where they can be carefree, flighty, flaky, frivolous, and funny. Occasionally we need a break.  For some people, that’s a beauty blog.

I’m not a Black beauty blogger, but on this one, I’ve got your back. We are NOT going back to 2007. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. Not. On. My. Watch.

If you truly want Black beauty bloggers to talk about particular social justice issues, try asking. . .

Great discussion over on the Facebook FanPage. People are making some great arguments some of their arguments are wrong, but they are making them.