I had to take a minute to really think about what I wanted to write and convey in this post.
There’s been so much going on in February and we are only over a little halfway into the month. It’s shocking how during a month we are supposed to be celebrating and uplifting each other, we’re turning our back against one another. We’re lying. We’re believing the people who we know are corrupt. We’re going against our word. We are not consistent.
Last month I wrote an article about taking a break from activism, and while I had a few reasons for taking a break, the overall reason why I took a break is that the fight for justice is inconsistent. Everyone had something to say about the black community until it was time to confront some problematic ways they have. There were too many people who laughed and criticize the actions of black individuals while not helping the community due to their actions. With Black History Month around the corner, I thought, maybe people will refocus and get back on track with the real fight and the real call to action; unfortunately that didn’t happen. Black History Month has re-emphasized the reason why I took a break from activism, and why, to be honest, I can’t take a lot of you seriously.
It started with the Super Bowl. One minute, we’re not supporting in honor of Colin Kaepernick. The next minute; we shouldn’t be hassling Travis Scott for doing it because he needs to get his “coin” (performers don’t get paid but they usually benefit the next day from streams increasing and exposure). Then all of a sudden the rules change when it was announced that Gladys Knight will perform the national anthem, and all of a sudden she’s a coon. Then the rules went back when Chloe x Halle performed “America the Beautiful”, and when artists like Meek Mill and Jay Z want to work with the Super Bowl to help prisoners, Diddy and others hosting Super Bowl parties and events, and artists like Cardi B and Chance the Rapper who present themselves as “woke” and “progressive”, yet still participate in SuperBowl commercials and events.
Fast forward to the Grammys, a night we often look forward too. Alicia Keys' wonderful tribute to Hazel Scott was overlooked by the salsa washed Motown Tribute which mostly featured Jennifer Lopez, who we all love don’t us wrong, and featured a little bit of Ne-Yo and a little bit of Smokey Robinson. Why didn’t they hire some black artists or the artists who were associated with Motown to do the tribute, the world may never know. Then Cardi B received some controversy for winning Best Rap Album, which most people felt as if she didn’t deserve, but some people also used this opportunity to shade and discredit Nicki Minaj. I don’t know why we’re discrediting a black female rapper who’s been in the game for over 10 years, won numerous awards worldwide, and who’s been able to have all her albums go platinum, but it’s counterproductive to down Nicki to uplift Cardi. If that doesn’t give you the side eye, Dolly Parton was given an extensive tribute with her and numerous other country singers, while the late Aretha Franklin only got a tribute that featured one song. I know, how disrespectful.
So then, the announcement of the NAACP Image Award nominations arrive, and while most of us were proud and excited of the nominees, a valid point was brought up. Where was the nomination for Pose? Janet Mock took to Twitter to express how the NAACP ignored Pose due to the show’s nature; assuming the award show ignored a story centering around black trans and queer people. I’ll admit, I’m a little surprised the show nor any of the cast members got a nomination considering the shows incredible success, the topics on social media stemming from the show, and for being the first of its kind. This is the first show to have a trans writer and director, as well as the first show with a predominately trans cast.
Of course, you had your typical European designers who used black stereotypes and black struggles as fashion...and of course debut it during Black History Month. That, unfortunately, didn’t stop anyone from supporting them.
With everything that’s been going on, I must say this has been the most disappointing Black History Month yet. I’m disappointed in the actions but realized that maybe this is the breaking point our community needs. When I spoke about taking a break from activism, this is one of, if not the main reason why I decided to do so; it’s the inconsistency of our community that’s holding us back. We can not commit to a fight or protect our communities as we claim we do. We, at times, don’t even represent and honor people within our own culture if they don’t fit into the box we call “blackness”. We’ve spent too much shading and discrediting our own while praising those who disrespect us, in our face and behind closed doors. Even the ones who claim to be the most intellectual, the most “woke”, and the most “conscious” seem to fold and support the people and organization they’re quick to call the “oppressor”. I love my black skin, I love my black communities, I love my black people, and I love my black culture, but during the second half of Black History Month, I have to ask, when are we going to start being consistent? When are we going to stick to our word? When are going to start holding ourselves and our people accountable for our actions?
I hope it’s soon because it’s looking real dismal right now.