Tag Archives: Zora Neale Hurston

Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor Are Beautiful Women Not Rottweilers

I was happily scrolling through social media when I noticed Teyana as a trending topic. I am a fan of her music so I click the hashtag. To my dismay, she was not trending because a new song or dope video had dropped. Teyana Taylor and fellow singer Ari Lennox were trending topics due to the viral tweet below:

Image result for ari lennox teyana tweet king kwasii"

Colorism, Featurism, and the Black Woman

I never understood or really got colorism. I was never called light-skinned until college when I became very aware of an invisible line of demarcation, separation, and mistrust between black women based on skin shade. I have grown to learn more about colorism and featurism via novels by Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, my own study minoring in African American Studies, articles, and YouTube testimonials based on lived experiences.

Merriam-Webster defines Colorism as:

prejudice or discrimination especially within a racial or ethnic group favoring people with lighter skin over those with darker skin. Source

For a quick cultural reference, see Spike Lee’s School Daze. There is a musical dance battle between the light-skinned ‘Wannabes” and dark-skinned ‘Jiggaboos’ that highlights the tension between black women who fall into those perceived categories. The idea is that women who are ‘light-skinned’ are seen as more desirable by men, specifically black men in this case, than darker skinned women.

There seems to a subcateogry of colorism called featurism. As noted by writer Nia Hernandez,

The official definition of featurism is “A form of architectural design based around certain accentuated features”. In other context, society accepting or preferring certain features over others (i.e. European features over African features). Source

In the case of Ari Lennox, she has previously responded to criticism of her nose or wide nostrils. Teyana Taylor has received similar critique of her facial features. If we are to keep it real, a lot of the ‘you so ugly’ jokes center around facial features that are more afrocentric or our misconception of what is afrocentric. (Africa is a huge continent of over a billion people in over 50 countries. African Americans are the decedents of enslaved Africans who mainly came from the African West Coast countries.) We typically associate wide noses, textured hair, and dark skin as African features and all of the negative ideas that have been linked to that. ‘Beautiful’ black women are those whose features align more with perceived eurocentric standards of beauty; slim noses, lighter skin, softer textured hair.

When a Joke is Not Just a Joke:

There is a  malignant  history of race-based pseudoscience associating black people to animals  which metastasized into racist eugenics ideology. The idea that black people are animalistic or subhuman affects their treatment by others in society  in many areas, such as, politics, education, healthcare, law enforcement.

I believe the ease at which other black people make these types of jokes is rooted in ignorance. Comparing a black woman to a rottweiler dog is not funny; it is also not benign. Clearly the young man making the comment and the many who cosigned his statement through likes and retweets have not heard of the Human Zoo built by King Leopold of Belgium to showcase the Congolese people to Europeans. This display only highlights the actual reign of terror and genocide inflicted by Belgium on the nation of Congo.

Funny yet? 

Comparing these two young talented women to a dog associated with being dangerous and aggressive is associating their aesthetic with danger and aggressiveness.  These are the same stereotypes surrounding unarmed black men who are shot and killed at  7 times the rate of unarmed non-black males. We cannot become complicit in our own dehumanization. There is a history of this behavior being acceptable and normalized.

In this new decade, we will denormalize it.

Let’s start 2020 out right by calling out disrespect and putting haters in their place –  the trash.

Pilar Sanders, Porsha Stewart and Pretty Princesses Everywhere

I am Four Weddings watching David Tutera fanatic. I love corny 80s love songs. *hums Lionel Richie's Hello* lol. Although, single, I love, love. I want to see couple, especially fabulous ones, succeed.

 It always bums me out when people who seemed so happy divorce. Pilar and Deion Sanders; Porsha and Kordell Stewart.

It amazes me the capacity of men, who deem themselves good, Christian men, to hurt. These type of men demand obeisance and any spark of personality, or dreams outside of HIM and he will spare nothing to leave you high and dry.

I don't know Pilar or Porsha (or their husbands), but I loved the idea of them. I liked the idea of the sista being treated like a pampered princess for once. Then royalty discovered reality. . .shows that is. It became evident that these type of men are threatened by the humanity of their princesses. When they cease to behave like objects, they are dismissed.

Zora

But enough of celebrities. Truth is I don't know them and everything I just wrote is pure speculation derived from an edited television show.  What about a girl like you, a friend or even me?

 I know women, who marry grown kids. They essentially have to be the most responsible person in their relationship. If they are luck, their child-man holds down a steady job and only plays with his friends on weekends.

Harsh? Maybe.

In Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the grandmother 'Nanny' has been a slave and her heart's desire was to see her grandchild up on a pedestal, free from the hard labors of life. She arranges a marriage to a land-owning older man for Janie, her granddaughter. Nanny laments, "De (colored) woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see."

The black woman is *insert stereotypical adjective here*. Most would say strong. She can do what no other woman can. But can she? Can she be . . .carefree.

I understand that princesses are the stuff of fairy tale fantasies. Life is about working hard for and being grateful for all that you have. Michelle Obama is the epitome of this – smart, successful, wife and strong. Mrs. Obama is a hero of mine but so are my pretty princesses.

In all  honesty, and on my blog I MUST be honest, I would love a man to take charge of the heavy lifting and let me be dainty. I could finally grown my nails out lol.Until that magical moment, I stay on my grind.

Am I alone?