Rebel Wilson has an interesting idea of what constitutes “police injustice.”
Sunday night, before announcing Nicki Minaj as the winner for Best Hip Hop Video at the MTV VMAs, the comedian decided to discuss her issues with police.
Yes, the Pitch Perfect 2 star had an opportunity with millions watching to discuss the ways in which white bodies have committed violent acts on black bodies by way of police brutality.
But I guess that’s expecting too much.
Instead, Wilson explained how she was upset by a ‘stripper’ police officer she ordered for her grandmother’s birthday because she paid an extra $100 for a erotic back massage, which only lasted for one song.
“I know a lot of people have problems with the police, but I have a problem with police strippers,” Wilson deadpanned.
Instead of taking a moment to discuss the seriousness of police brutality, Wilson — backed up by the sound of white laughter in the audience — thought it would be funny to mock the movement that has addressed racially-disproportionate violence by police officers.
Maybe someone should tell Wilson and other potential allies that police brutality isn’t a laughing matter and using such a public platform like the MTV Video Music Awards wasn’t the stage to air this laundry of, once again, proving to black people that we will always be a punch line to not-so-funny jokes.
This is why #BlackLivesMatter continues to exist, because day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, we are told that we are not to exist. And when we do exist, media (often used as a tool of vilification) will create a mockery out of our lived experiences. Wilson proved this to be true last night.
Nearly every single day, we hear the names of black people who have been killed by the police, and often, we attempt to give these black people life, although state violence has taken it away.
Whether it is Mike Brown, who was shot multiple times by his home, or Sandra Bland, who allegedly “committed suicide” in police custody, or Eric Garner, who was choked by an officer using an illegal chokehold, or 7-year-old Aiyana Jones, who was killed during a police raid, or Rekia Boyd, who was killed by off-duty police officer Dante Servin, we are working to remember the names of those who lost their lives.
Wilson happily walking onstage to joke about a movement that highlights the lived experiences of so many black people is utterly offensive. Police brutality is never funny, and when we are faced with mockeries like stripper police and #AllLivesMatter, “F*ck the Police” will continue to ring true.
Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson wasn’t amused, and I don’t blame him:
Somebody tell Ms. Wilson that, this time, the joke is on her.
Preston Mitchum is a Washington, DC-based essayist, activist, and liberator. He has written for The Atlantic, Ebony.com, Huffington Post, Think Progress, and Role Reboot. Follow him on Twitter here.