Dear Black Men: You cannot and will not cancel Issa Rae for telling her truth
Ancient advice from “Insecure” creator gets the Noteps big mad.
It’s been a tough week for many of the Internet’s faves.
In mere days, Kanye West went from being heralded for his triumphant Twitter return to going full red-hatted MAGA and being wished away to the cornfields by (now) former fans and respected celebrity voices including The Roots Crew’s, Questlove.
We’re still waiting for Nas to address allegations from ex-wife, Kelis that he was both emotionally and physically abusive during a marriage that many of us hip-hop fans assumed was magical musical #relationshipgoals gone mysteriously awry.
This is the shirt @questlove wore while performing at last night’s Concert for Peace and Justice here in Montgomery, Alabama. It reads “Kanye Doesn’t Care About Black People,” underneath the arching sentence “This is an Alt-Right Dream.” I took this backstage after the event. After Ahmir showed his shirt, someone nearby remarked that “Kanye cares about record sales.” I can’t say that I disagree with that, or the t-shirt.
When I saw Issa Rae’s name trending on Twitter on Sunday night with excerpts of her nearly three-year-old book, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” being held aloft in screenshots, my blood ran cold. What on Earth could this bronzed Benevolent Goddess of Content Creation and Unlocker of #BlackGirlMagic have done to merit what looked like some serious receipts?
I was quite honestly relieved when I expanded the shots and saw that the furor was over a passage in the book. Apparently, Rae suggests that heavily degreed, successful Black women and Asian men (both the much ballyhooed “bottom of the dating totem pole”) should cut their losses and team up for what certain sites might dub “swirly coupledom.”
I ask you this, angry NoTeps, as you seem most bothered by Issa Rae’s words: What’s the actual problem?
Do you hop on your keyboard and assail rappers, including Kodak Black and 2 Chainz, the latter of whom extol the virtues of “foreigns,” translated to mean both cars and women? Do you fire up your Twitter fingers and harass self-appointed dating experts like Steve Harvey or Tyrese when they tell Black women how they need to look, dress and behave to be worthy of a Black man’s love? Do you aggressively invade the mentions of pro-athletes, such as the woefully ignorant Gilbert Arenas, when he questions the beauty of Lupita Nyong’o chiefly because of her deeply chocolate (and, by the way, deeply gorgeous) dark skin?
Are you out here refuting the statistics offered by dating site OKCupid which pointed out that Black women and Asian men are consistently the last-picked profiles? I mean, these are the results of actual algorithms and follow-up research, son. Issa Rae didn’t make this up.
Now, what she did make up was a solution for those Black ladies and Asian gents who feel both undervalued and ostracized in a world that so often swipes left on them. She did not say that Asian men were superior. She did not say that Black men were trash. She simply took the information as force fed to us African-American women that we are un-dateable, untenable and unwanted. In doing so, she voiced her thoughts on how we could potentially connect with another group being treated as “less than.”
Your reward to her for simply (and most likely, satirically) putting this in a book that clearly none of y’all read before this weekend was a threat of cancellation and slander about her appearance and supposedly insufficient upbringing around mostly white folk.
A few of you fools even went so far as to use her words to justify WHY you gravitate toward non-Black women, because as we all know, that trend just started three years ago.
Please. If you’re mad at anyone, be mad at yourselves for not appropriately uplifting and wife-ing up the beautiful Black women in your circle. Upbraid yourselves for allowing the Kardashians (and their appropriating acolytes) to swoop in and ruin your lives, meanwhile copying every angle of Black womanness and claiming it as their own without a hint of self-awareness. Why don’t you consider smacking your fellow social media inhabitants for voicing desires for “mixed babies” with “good hair” or attributing almost anything bad that happens to a Black woman to her “bad attitude” and inability to let her man lead…even when said man isn’t doing a damn thing with his own life.
This is 2018, and in case you haven’t noticed, Black women as a collective are no longer trying to think-like-a-man-and-act-like-a-soulless-Stepford-wife in order to curry favor from those men who decidedly do not want Black women and consider an entire race a “preference.” We’re not cringing when you refer to us, or some of our beloved sheroes including Serena Williams, as Negro bedwenches for opening up the relationship playing field as you all have done for years.
There are reasons, yes deeply rooted in supremacy, that explain why interracial dating rates for Black women have consistently been much lower than our male counterparts. But times, they are a changing…and you’d better change with them or get left behind with the “exotics” you stan for.
Black women are not here for your slander. We’re not here for your admiration of our features on other women’s bodies. We’re not here for your comparisons to the “other” women who know how to love you so much better than we can.
Kyra Kyles is a multiplatform media executive, author, and speaker on media diversity. In addition to her 20-plus years as a journalist, including a tenure as Editor-in-Chief of EBONY and a multimedia correspondent/columnist for the Tribune Company, the Chicago-based co-founder of Myth Lab Entertainmentwhich tackles the stereotypes facing Black women one sketch at a time. Follow her @thekylesfiles on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.