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Trapped: The Problem With Mass Transit In a Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, Elitist, Ableist Country

When I was 15, I was on my way home from my part-time job on the train when a man approached me and asked if I wanted to go to his apartment. No conversation. No hesitation. He just sat right next to me in my Warner Bros denim jacket with my school backpack and propositioned me.

I first responded that I was only 15. This man, a brown Latino who had clearly been drinking, was unfazed. He continued leaning close to me and asking if I wanted to go to his apartment. I cursed him out. Loudly. And not a soul on that train, despite dozens of adult men and women looking on as a grown man attempted to lure a child to his home, came to my aid or defense.

That was neither the first nor last time I was harassed by a man on public transportation. A motley crew of men have sexually harassed, propositioned or threatened violence against me in the more than 25 years since I began riding the train alone. And while violent harassment from men is nothing foreign me or any woman, men and all other manner of predators seem especially emboldened by the closed space of trains and buses, taking full advantage of the opportunity to act out their violent, racist, misogynist, homophobic or otherwise oppressive instincts on the marginalized people who depend on their city’s transit system to commute.

That’s why as gut-wrenching and infuriating as it was to see, I was unsurprised when video surfaced online of 36-year-old Marc Gomez of Yonkers kicking a 78-year-old womanin her face and upper body repeatedly while young men did nothing but record and “ooooohhhhhhh.” That woman was elderly and Black, and by most reports also homeless and appeared to be battling some mental illness. She is the definitive vulnerable person who is forced to use public transportation. And she is also the definitive demonstration of how the hate, bigotry and anger this country breeds bubbles to explosion in the various transit systems of its major cities.

While transit cops roam subways in New York City, DC, Oakland and Chicago eager to apprehend citizens for fare evasion or drinking a soda on the platform, men grope little girls on crowded trainsbrutal homophobic attacks are committednaked men are permitted to enter and ride the subwayblind passengers are assaultedyoung Black women are murdered by white supremacistsand Black women are stabbed to death in broad daylight on the train.

In an America – and throughout imperialist Europe as well – where society teaches that it’s always acceptable to invalidate, demean, assault or otherwise victimize the marginalized, it stands to reason that when those same marginalized people are forced – trapped even – into spaces with those who hold power over them, they will be subject to abuses and violations of their rights. There is no mystery surrounding why public transportation provides the ideal setting for crime nor why it is most often women, the disabled, the homeless and racial power minorities who are usually victims.

America grooms white people to hate Black and brown people, then sets them out on mass transit with their warped idas about lazy, violent Black people and illegal immigrants taking their jobs to launch into racist tirades or worse, physically attack those they view as the real problem with America. This country teaches men that they are entitled to women’s attention, affection and bodies, then sends these same men to subways to grab women’s breasts or punch them for their rejection. We live in a nation that encourages us to mock, laugh at and ignore people with disabilities, only to take our ableist minds on MTA, WMATA, CTA, MARTA or BART and antagonize people who having mental breakdowns or proudly beat them. The United States discards its elderly, enforcing the idea that your value is only as much as a capitalist society can extract from you, then leaves them to commute with people who show no respect or deference for them, so much so that after kicking a woman who’s lived nearly 80 years in the face, a grown, young, able-bodied man looks into a camera and boasts, “Worldstar that, my nigga!” This place criminalizes poverty and queerness, then leaves the poor and queer to navigate its transportation systems with homophobes who believe a queer person’s objection is cause to break her spine.

America is so fucked up, so bigoted, so racist, so completely and utterly consumed with exterminating, oppressing and alienating anybody who is not white, male and straight, that even its most basic of infrastructures, the public vehicles essential to moving its citizens to conduct the business of living on this colonized, stolen land serves as a hub for the manifestation of its hate and fearmongering. And even knowing that mass transit is a cesspool of hate crime, the state’s concern is whether somebody avoids paying $3.00 to ride a few stops rather than keeping Black and other PoC, women, children, the disabled and the queer safe. But then again, America builds and maintains the stage for this shit. So why would it tolerate or expect anything less in its commuter systems?

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Daniel Caeser and Why I’m No Longer Rooting for Everybody Black

“I’m rooting for everybody Black.”

Since Issa Rae uttered that phrase on the Emmy red carpet nearly two years ago, Black people have adopted it as our unofficial motto. After all, it was so fitting for the way we are collectively groomed anyway. We watch the Olympics and root for the Black people no matter what country they represent. We rooting for the Black contestants on any game show or singing competition. We clapping for all the Black kids at the graduation whether we know them or not. It’s how we try to reattach to one another after having our familial bonds purposely severed by chattel slavery and colonization.

But while rooting for everybody Black, we often forget another motto: All skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.

Such was revealed last night when Canadian singer and breakout star Daniel Caeser took to IG Live to admonish Black people for our rightful and righteous outrage over a racist white girl’s anti-Black ranting. While we were rooting for his Black ass, Caeser used the platform propped up by Black people to ask, “Why are we being so meant to Julz?” he asked in the live video. “Why are we being so mean to white people right now? It’s a serious question. Why is that we’re allowed to be disrespectful and rude to everybody else, and when anybody returns that energy to us…” Admittedly “fucking drunk,” he continued his rant saying that though “white people have been mean to us in the past,” we need to “create understanding and keep it moving,” and “bridge the gap.” The shit show culminates with Caeser referring to white people as “the winning team.”



Back in 2017, Caeser, a native of Oshawa, Ontario in Canada which has a Black population of just 3%, revealed that he attended schools where he “was the only Black kid 80 per cent of the time.” He turns the fact that he was surrounded white people into a humble brag saying, “No one around me was playing D’Angelo, Usher or Missy Elliott. It made my tastes more eclectic.” More evidentiary of his allegiances is the video for his hit “Get You,” a song I first heard on one of my city’s “urban” stations almost two years and which was supported by the Black masses. Spotting a Black face other than Caeser’s unfortunate one is like playing Where’s Waldo, as we watch white and Asian couples lovingly gaze at each other to his crooning.

“When people tell you who they are, believe them the first time.”

And this is why, despite our need to repair the fractures in our collective identity created by white supremacy, we cannot blindly support all Black people. Artists like Caeser are happy to line their pockets with the money generated from Black people while holding firmly to their anti-Black beliefs about us. They use that “weirdo” identity as a cover.

Caeser’s rant demonstrates a fundamental perhaps even intentional misunderstanding of race and how white supremacy works. And so fully committed to his anti-Blackness is he the he tells Black people to make him broke if we don’t agree. This man would essentially alienate his strongest fan base to gain the favor of white people. For him, there’s no amount of money, no accolade, no reputation, no legacy more valuable than white approval. It’s his currency.

And we all know niggas like him. He’s nothing but the dude from high school who pretended that he only hung with white kids and dated non-Black girls because Black kids rejected him for being into alternative music and dressing differently when the truth was he was so anti-Black that he convinced himself that the Black kids who listened to hip hop and dressed for the culture weren’t good enough to be his friends. He himself admits he “didn’t turn toward R&B until early 2015.” Now, just a few years after even beginning to listen to Black music, he’s collecting coin from it while shitting on the very people who own, create, influence and support the genre.

Caeser doesn’t deserve our support. He don’t need our streams. He’s down with the “winning team.” Let the white people he’s so eager to protect the Black venom they’ve earned support him. It’s what he craves. It’s what he needs. It’s what the fuck he deserves.

We not just rooting for everybody Black because some of these niggas keep showing themselves to be Black with no allegiance to us. We can surely assume that Caeser will secure white adjacency with his fame. We rooting for him as he takes the money we spend on his shows to hire white people, live around white people and reject us for being too angry about the last 400 years. Nah.

Daniel Caeser may as well be one these white folks who call themselves rappers, and imitate and profit from Black culture while ignoring and mocking Black people. I’m only rooting for everybody Black who rooting for everybody Black. These Black-but-white-identified ass niggas ain’t on my radar. These niggas who use the culture and throw away the people can go.

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Jess Ain’t Hilarious: Why Islamaphobia in the Black Community Matters`

I remember in 8th grade, two girls, one Muslim and wearing a hijab, got into an argument in class. It escalated quickly and it was clear that they were about to come to blows. Suddenly, a classmate yelled out, “Pull her scarf off.” The entire class cackled at the thought of another Black girl being violated like that simply because she was Muslim and not like us.

Over the weekend, social media star Jess Hilarious went live on Instagram in an Islamaphobic rant about being in fear because she saw four people in turbans on a plane. As she was boarding the plane, she zoomed in on a Sikh man and gasped dramatically. Apparently the plane was evacuated before takeoff for reasons unclear, so Jess defended her prejudiced behavior saying people were mad because she didn’t “side with every other Black person” and that she was scared. She tripled down later with a video of her back on the plane noting that the four people she had previously expressed unjustified fear over had been removed. She later apologized letting us that she has Muslims in her family and was not aware of the “different types of Muslims.”

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Now if you’re going to be ignorant and use deadly stereotypes for laughs, at least have your shit right. In her desperate attempt to seem like an edgy comedian, Jess only exemplified how many who have bought into the Islamaphobic often racist propaganda about muslims being terrorists cannot even differentiate between two completely different religions. Not that the distinction matters in terms of legitimizing the terrorist stereotype, but minimally, she’s too ignorant to even know who’s she’s hating. Sikhs and Muslims are not the same.

For the past few weeks, Minnesota House Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Black Muslim woman, has been the subject of racist, Islamaphobic harassment and censure from her colleagues in response to her valid criticism of the Israeli state and America’s unwavering support. Last week in New Zealand, Brent Tarrant, a white Australian, carried out a horrendous massacre in two separate mosques killing 50 people and wounding another 50. A manifesto “filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments” purportedly from Tarrant was posted online.

And still, with Muslims, many of whom are Black, under attack both in sentiment and action, Jess Hilarious thought nothing of adding kerosene to the fire of hatred that sees Muslims murdered for existing. After walking through an airport surely filled with white men, it wasn’t until she sat on a plane with people she thought were Muslims that she was afraid despite the fact that just Friday, a white man walked into two separate Islamic places of worship to murder and otherwise injure innocent people. She’s never felt the need to post a video after seeing a white man or white boy in a school when we have countless examples of them carrying out indiscriminate mass shootings, but she’s so invested in white supremacy that she believed the plane could only be evacuated because a brown man in a turban had his terrorist plans foiled.

But let’s keep it real, she comfortably posted this ignorant shit because she knows she has an audience happy to engage in Islamaphobia and proud of their ignorance. Despite the fact that 20% of American Muslims are Black, we collectively and too often eagerly engage in Islamaphobia. We, oppressed people who know just how irrational and illogical white supremacist fear of us is, will turn around and use the same tools of our oppressors.

Never mind the fact that white Christians and their racist, homophobic, elitist ideals are directly responsible for the fatal oppression we endure daily. Ignore the fact that we interact with Sikhs and Muslims in convenience stores in our neighborhoods everyday – And please don’t mistake this as some PoC solidarity shit because I’m real hip on the ways we’re treated by non-Black people of color who are happy to do business in our neighborhood while still viewing us as niggers! – who’ve never carried out terrorist acts against us. Forget about the time a white man killed his three Muslim neighbors over a parking space, or the time another white man hit a 15-year-old Black muslim Somali boy with his car knocking him into the air and before running over and killing him when he hit the ground while yelling about Islam, or the white man who shot into a car of Somali Muslims dressed in traditional Ramadan attire, wounding two of them. We don’t have to talk about how many Black Christians align themselves with white racists because they share “traditional” values. Instead, let’s use the same tired ass commentary on how being on an airplane with a brown person in a turban makes us fear for our lives more than the white supremacy and Christian extremism that sees us locked up, beaten and killed deadly.

Now we cannot be racist nor do we collectively have the power to shape society’s perception. For this reason, it is usually not my policy to engage in publicly admonishing Black people for internalizing and regurgitating white supremacist tropes. But there are times when our failure to critically examine and interrogate our thinking makes us complicit. This is such a time.

There is nothing that justifies a fear of Sikhs, Muslims or Arabs flying. There is no rationality for your Islamaphobia. And that ignorant shit is deadly to Black Muslims just the same.

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Y’all Gotta See This Shit: ‘Prophet’ Delivers Woman From Oral Sex

Now I done seen some shit on the information superhighway that has made me pause. I mean, just two weeks ago I witnessed Khlo J Simpson get dragged by Black Twitter and Robert Kelly act an entire fucking fool during an interview last week. The internet has allowed me to witness some of the most beautiful displays of humanity and some of the most disgusting demonstrations of humanity’s lows. But nothing, NOTHING AT ALL, could prepare me for this shit.

There is a “prophet” by the name of Ed Cintronnelli who leads a ministry “which exists to strengthen & encourage every believer to walk in fellowship & power of the Holy Spirit & God given inheritance.” Apparently, part of the ministry is to remove the spirit of sucking dick from believers. Yes, you read that correctly.

In the video, a woman who says her name is Rosman Danielle sucks air dick that rivals Jill Scott as the prophet yells about the “oral sex demon” and encourages her to let the sperm of that man out. She goes on to tell us that a demon came and put his penis in her mouth, and came again and slept with her. Later the prophet sprays her with “holy water” on her vagina and she comes back to tell us when she went to the bathroom 15 minutes later, “some white stuff came out.”

Y’all. Just weigh in.

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Where Were the Parents?

Confession: I haven’t watched either Leaving Neverland orSurvivingR. Kelly. The information I had prior to the release of either documentary was enough for me to believe that both Michael Jackson and R. Kelly raped children. And after reading graphic descriptions of Jackson’s victims’ accounts when the Leaving Neverland was announced, I vomited. I’ll continue my practice of avoiding the details and descriptions of violent sexual acts committed on children.

That said, the only temptation to watch either documentary comes from my desire to know what the parents of these two men’s victims have to say about how they allowed these grown men the kind of access to their children that their heinous crimes required. In the current climate, it seems that assigning partial blame to the parents whose most important responsibility is protecting their children is often dismissed as victim-blaming. However, when parents not only fail to ensure that their children are guarded against potential harm wherever possible but enable, arrange, assist in and perhaps even ignore their children’s abuse, they are not victims but coconspirators. 

I watched Michael Jackson himself admit to Ed Bradley that he thought there was nothing wrong with “sharing” his bed with children. “The most loving thing you can do is to share your bed with someone,” Bradley quoted Jackson. When asked if he still believed the most loving thing you can do is share your bed with a child, Jackson replied, “Of course.” He later stated that he did not sleep in the bed with the children but on the floor beside the bed, adding that caveat as if that made his sleeping in close proximity to children he was not the father less inappropriate.

Leaving Neverland aside, we have confirmation that minimally Michael Jackson slept in the same room with children who were not his own. There is no instance imaginable where an adult could take such enthusiastic interest in my child that he would seek to have my child not only sleep at his home but sleep in his bedroom with him. And there is no amount of fandom and admiration that would make me believe that a fully-grown man would have such obsessive interest in my child that he would want to have him in his presence as a companion without any duplicitous intentions.

The same goes for R. Kelly and Aaliyah. It was many years ago, perhaps 20, when I first heard that Kelly had forged documents to marry a 15-year-old Aaliyah when he was 27. Reportedly, the two were illegally married in Chicago and the annulment took several months. I cannot imagine any instance where I would be so blinded by the promise of stardom for my daughter that I would allow a man 12 years her senior to travel freely with her, have her in his home and otherwise give an adult male free reign with my baby. 

Now certainly, there are instances when parents have done all they can to keep their children inaccessible to predators both potential and known. In no way would a parent whose child is sexually abused by an adult whose access is customary and necessary hold any responsibility beyond making sure the culpable party is punished and that the child receives the love and counseling crucial to successful recovery. The reports of the aforementioned men are not those of adults who needed the kind of access they had to their victims though, and thus, the parents must be held accountable for their part.

So while Kelly and Jackson are certainly inescapably liable for their crimes and moral reprehensibility, the parents of these children, who sought the favor of celebrities must also be indicated as responsible for neglecting their most important duty. But for the negligence of parents who failed to use their common sense in questioning why grown men would need to share rooms and beds with their children or who looked the other way because the money was too good or who traded their children’s safety and bodies for cash, trips and other material spoils, these men, no matter how vile and predatory they were, would not have had the opportunity to violate children. If the parents had properly supervised their children and made it clear to Jackson and Kelly that they as parents would always be involved in any business, rehearsals and studio sessions, that their children would never be permitted to travel without their parents, that no unsupervised relationships could blossom with their children, how could these men have abused them?

Contrary to rhetoric which considers it unproductive and blaming the victim to implicate parents who enabled the abuse and consequent trauma of their children by not doing the minimum we require of parents, which is to protect their offspring at all costs, conversations about children being abused in situations where the parents properly parenting could have most likely prevented the child’s abuse should harshly condemn the parents. A part of us making this world safe for children is holding parents responsible for shielding their own children. That part matters as much as smoking out and punishing anyone who abuses a child. 

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Kylie Jenner Is Not a ‘Self-Made Billionaire’ and Neither Is Any Other White Person

“My grandfather came to this country with nothing and ended up owning his own business.” Start talking about how white people have inherited the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow, and as such are the sole beneficiaries and administrators of structural racism, and you can be assured a white person or 100 will respond with that statement or some other one-liner about how their success is attributable to hard work and not the color of their skin. Then another white person or 100 will launch a tirade about how they are poor despite being white, asserting that fact as indisputable proof that whiteness does not give one any nonforfeitable benefits.

White people are conditioned to view themselves as individuals only. Thus, they can ignore the network of privilege their race affords them. Now that network does not guarantee them financial success, however, it does ensure that they are not strapped with the burden of inaccessibility that follows those who are poor and Black. In fact, no white person can ever be the kind of poor that Black people are because even drowning in debt with no income and no other liquid assets, they cannot be stripped of the most recognizable and universally accepted currency: whiteness.

Success under capitalism and whiteness are intrinsically linked. No, that does not mean all white people  are successful under the system, nor does it mean that Black and other non-white people cannot be successful capitalists. It means that not only have white people spent four centuries at the helm of capitalism and white supremacy, gatekeeping resources, developing networks – networks which are minimally most favorable to its white members and at most purposely and explicitly exclusionary to non-white but especially Black people – essential to receiving favorable rates on and access to shipping, inventory, marketing, legal representation, patents, real estate, lobbying and all other services required to successfully run a business, but that capitalism was created to and continues to function to ensure that those most easily able to live the “rags to riches” American dream are white.

So even if her family’s money and fame hand’t provided her all the financial resources and connections she needed, Kylie Jenner could never be a “self-made” billionaire. Even without a mother who was willing to allow her to and pay for her to undergo various cosmetic surgeries and procedures before turning 18 in order create the look that would make her a credible face to sell makeup, she would still have started ahead of Black women whose aesthetic she and her sisters attempt to copy. Let’s say she wasn’t born into money and didn’t have a family who got famous by being famous, she would still be white and accordingly already standing rungs above Black women on the ladder of success. And it is most noteworthy that Kylie Jenner’s has made a fortune in the beauty industry, which centers and exalts white women as the standard of beauty, therefore, her whiteness is not only responsible for her access to financial capital, but her access to this racial capital puts her in a position to be viewed as an expert, a rightful and righteous guru in the beauty industry.

Moreover, a significant part of maintaining the racist networks that prop up white folks is pretending that those able to amass fortunes in business did so based solely on merit. This is why Forbes magazine published an article lauding 21-year-old Kylie Jenner as the “youngest self-made billionaire,” just 14 months after posting an article titledWhy Minorities Have So Much Trouble Accessing Small Business Loans.” Perhaps the posturing and brainwashing has gone on so long that white people now honestly believe that a white girl born into fame and money who had the capital to start a business on her own before she was legally able to drink actually is self-made, but believing something does not make it fact.

“Marketing is done mostly through social media, where Jenner has a massive following. She announces product launches, previews new items and announces the Kylie Cosmetics shades she’s wearing directly to the 175 million-plus who follow her across Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.” And how does one amass a following in the hundreds of millions without doing anything to be famous?

She wasn’t a Disney star. She didn’t put out albums. She gained hundreds of millions of followers by doing nothing more than being associated with a white family who capitalized on Black culture. Yet, that’s hardly the most tone-deaf part of Forbes labeling Jenner self-made since last January, Forbes noted that minority business owners are much less likely to receive a small business loan and attributed this to three factors: lower net worth, opening businesses in less than optimal locations and poor or little credit history.

“Wealth levels for Latinos and African-Americans are reportedly 11 to 16 times lower than for whites.” The article goes on to state that white business owners typically a start business with more than three times the capital Black business owners have when starting a business. Logically, banks are “biased against applicants with less money to spare.”

Now from a numbers prospective, one could argue that banks are in business solely to make money, so it would make sense and does not demonstrate any racial bias that they would deny the loans of those they believe cannot pay back loans. But that myopic assessment ignores, maliciously and intentionally, that systemic racism in employment and housing leads to Black people being significantly less likely to be gainfully employed, results in those of us who are employed being paid less across gender lines, that insecurity in employment inescapably contributes to our collective inability to earn or maintain solid credit, and makes it increasingly difficult to obtain mortgages that would allow us to own a home which is a crucial tool in building wealth.

“A great deal of minority-owned businesses are located in poorer, urbanized communities. Research from the Small Business Administration suggests that the location of a business plays a bigger role in the approval of a loan than the ethnicity of the business owner.” On a surface level, that declaration holds water, but when we factor in the fact that Black and other non-white people are more likely to live in poorer areas in the inner city and consequently more likely to open businesses that serve those communities, then we must admit that the racial bias is inherent.

And while these factors would seem irrelevant to Kylie’s success since her and her family’s money and access meant she did not require a small business loan to begin her company, she was able to secure the money and access because of her whiteness and inclusion into a white family that has mastered wielding whiteness. Essentially the same whiteness that allowed the Karadashian/Jenner clan to become wealthy in the first place makes it easier for non-famous whites of modest income to receive the cash they need to start businesses that can grow into empires. Neither a white person born into money and fame nor a white person born into poverty who works hard to build a business is self-made.

White people can never truly start from nothing because whiteness is always something. It’s less about working for it than it is about having the sense to grab what’s already set up for you. Hard work and whiteness make for the most foolproof combination for success. “Self-made” and white are antonymous because the “self” is already partially made.

Calling a white person self-made is like calling a person a good cook because they didn’t burn a frozen dinner. All of the hard work of preparing the food and building the stove has been done. When you’re white, all you have to do is watch the oven.

 

 

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Stop Playing in My Face: Taylor Swift, Sara Baartman and the Burden of Real Curves

As a child, my mother bought my sister and I a set of Encyclopedias. Always a homebody, I’d often opt of going outside to play to sit in the house just reading through volumes of the reference books. With the advent of the internet, I replaced hours reading through random articles in the encyclopedia with hours spent reading random information online.

That is how I first learned about Sara Baartman.

Baartman was a South African (Khoisan) woman whose “extremely large buttocks” made her the subject of racist, dehumanizing exploitation and exhibition. Nicknamed the “Hottentot Venus,” Baartman was kidnapped by a British doctor and sold into slavery. Because of her remarkable body, she was put on display, like an animal, and studied by zoologists fascinated by her unique buttocks. She was later “sold” into slavery with a French man who continued to put her on display in freak shows. “On stage she wore skin-tight, flesh-coloured clothing, as well as beads and feathers, and smoked a pipe. Wealthy customers could pay for private demonstrations in their homes, with their guests allowed to touch her”

Baartman died at 26 years old in 1814. Her cause of death was listed as “inflammatory and eruptive disease,” and it is now believed she died from either pneumonia, syphilis or alcoholism. And as if her life in a captive state, paraded around for rich white people like she was an animal weren’t enough, the a naturalist made a cast of and dissected her body. Having preserved her skeleton, genitals and brain, she remained on display in Paris’ Museum of Man until 1974, 160 years after her death. Her remains were finally returned to her home in South Africa in 2002, nearly 200 years after her death.

This week, Taylor Swift, penned an essay for Elle magazine titled “30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30.” In it Swift writes, “I learned to stop hating every ounce of fat on my body. I worked hard to retrain my brain that a little extra weight means curves, shinier hair, and more energy. I think a lot of us push the boundaries of dieting, but taking it too far can be really dangerous. There is no quick fix. I work on accepting my body every day.”

Now while learning to love and accept your body is not a struggle unique to any particular body type, Swift’s declaration about accepting her own rail thin body is nothing more than a white woman seeking to center herself on an issue that does not concern her at all. Swift is not curvy. Like many white women who have been conditioned to believe that their bodies are the standards to which all women should aspire and by which all women should be judged, Swift has a flat ass, no hips, skinny thighs and no defined waist. Her assertion that fat somehow transforms to curves is ludicrous seeing how many fat women are not curvy at all.

Moreover, with the history and present of Black women being punished, penalized and dehumanized for our naturally curvaceous bodies, it’s peak white feminism for a rich white woman with a stick figure to say that she’s had to learn to embrace every ounce of fat on her body and pretend that a few pounds automatically translate to curves. This is not to say the public does not to a mild extent shame skinny white women for their bodies, but generally and customarily, white women need nothing more than blonde hair and a boob job to be considered to have the ideal body. Whatever personal battles Swift may have with her body and not appreciating it, cannot compare to Black women who cannot post a selfie without being ridiculed mocked and humiliated. Even non-Black women who are fat are routinely harassed online and in public.

But the real problem is that body-shaming for Black women based on our curves has systemic effects and implications. Employers’ disproportionately and discriminatorily enforce dress codes as Black women whose curves cannot be hidden are called into HR and reprimanded for learning dresses that are too tight or that rise above our knees because of hips, thighs and buttocks while our white female counterparts enter the office in dresses four inches from the knee and are not disciplined in any way because they do not have the curves that would deem their short dresses inappropriate.

And this does not stop in corporate America. Let’s look at Serena Williams, a woman with an ass and thighs that define curvy. How often is she body shamed and called fat, manly and ugly for the body she works to maintain? How often does the media exalt women like Williams’ colleague Anna Kournikova who is straight up and down, remarking on how “hot” their bodies are as Serena stands there with enough cakes to fill a bakery and is never praised for it?

But we don’t even need to go into all of those examples. Let’s look at Sara Baartman whose naturally curvaceous body saw her kidnapped, put on display and likened to an animal. Baartman did not have the chance to embrace her body. It was made her curse. She died before 30, unable  to learn this lesson of embracing her body that Swift noted as one of the 30 things she’s learned before 30.

Listen, all women should be able to have their journey to loving themselves, but white women centering themselves ain’t the move. Swift pretending that she has the same burden that women with actual curvy bodies have when there’s an article out titled ” 100 Sexy Taylor Swift Pics That Will Convert Just About Anyone Into a Swiftie,” praising her skinny ass is some shit straight outta the white feminist handbook. She can learn to embrace her body and also not pretend it’s anything but the matchstick it is.

 

 

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You’re Not Serious About Getting to Know Me If You Don’t Want to Take Me on Dates

It had been a week since Kevin* and I started communicating on Instagram, having originally connected on a dating app called Hinge. When he asked for my Instagram handle and not my telephone number, I thought it was odd, but obliged because the conversation was decent. Over the course of the week I learned a lot about him: his goals, his passions, his outlook on our current political landscape and where he saw himself in five years.

By most standards, he was a “good Black man”: attractive, established in his career, seemingly mentally sound and family-oriented. I was feeling the kid. He checked off all the right boxes on my list, but it’s easy to be the perfect man online or over the phone. I was ready to meet him in person to see if what I was seeing in writing was real.

One day, I asked him plainly, “When are we going out?” He typed for what seemed like forever and said “We can go on a date, but I would like to get to know you first”. That was the last time I spoke to Kevin.

I know what some of you are thinking “Damn girl, you cut him off like that? You savage!” But see, like most of you, I have been dating since I was a teenager. In that time, I’ve dated the worst of the worst and found myself in a many fucked up situations. So with 12 years of dating under my belt, I would be a fool to ignore clear warning signs.

In Kevin’s case, that sign was like a NYC billboard in Time Square reading, “Run bitch, run! This nigga wants to waste your time. Precious time you don’t have to spare!” I don’t know what the fuck these niggas thought, but I was always under the impression that the purpose of a date was to get to know someone. Otherwise, why would you go out with a complete stranger in the first place?

Just 2 months and 7 days into 2019, I am sorry to say that I have encountered far too many “Kevins” already. These men that seek to establish connections with women without properly courting them. It’s as though the concept of dating is completely foreign to men, and instead they opt for these pseudo relationships that offer them comfort and support without the “burden” of dating to lead to a committed relationship.

Well, I am here to say this: Fuck. That. Shit.

Dating is vital to establishing any type of connection. And by dating, I mean actual set appointments. You know the kind where you call a woman and invite her to a movie, dinner, a restaurant or some other place where you can both enjoy each other.

Besides the fact that when you date someone you learn about them, dating is a demonstration of the level of effort you are willing to put forth. Spending time with someone tells them that they are a priority in your life and that you are serious about building with them. Even if you all decide that a relationship is not right for you, you are doing so after giving it a fair and honest shot.

Look, I get it, dating can be intimidating. You put yourself in a vulnerable position that can lead to rejection at best and humiliation at worst. (I once went on a date where I nearly busted my ass in some heels at Cheesecake Factory fucking around with them slippery ass floors!) Even still, dating is worth the risk. You are worth the risk!

So fellas the next time you come across a young tenderoni looking like the best thing since a slice of  your grandmama’s sweet potato pie, do not hit her up on no bullshit. Do not “wyd” her death. Do not DM her to death.

Ask her out on a fucking date! Show some effort. Show her that you value her time and are willing to spend your own time, effort and money to make the best impression on her.

*Names have been changed to protect the bitch-assed.

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?I Don’t See Nothing Wrong With a Little Jail Time? R. Kelly Back in Jail After Child Support Hearing

The Black History Month hits just keep coming. Last month, after decades of raping Black girls, R. Kelly was charged 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He was given a $100,000 bond which he was unable to pay. Unfortunately, a female friend, enabler and general trash bag forked over the cash for the bond, so the predator was released.

This morning, Kelly took his ass on CBS This Morning and acted a damn fool, jumping around crying, yelling and insisting he was innocent. Gayle King handled his performance with all the shade it deserved, confronting him about playing the victim and refusing to feed into his antics. It’s safe to say, it’s been a bad couple of week’s for Arruh.

 

Now as if the charges and Kelly making a fool of himself on one of the biggest morning shows in the country weren’t enough, we were treated to another little surprise today when he was sent back to jail after a child support hearing. USA Today reports:

“R. Kelly was arrested and taken into custody in Chicago following a hearing over unpaid child support, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Wednesday. 

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sam Randall told USA TODAY Kelly was taken into custody in the courtroom and will be transferred to the county jail, where he will stay until he pays what he owes. His next court date in the matter was set for March 13.

Kelly faced a charge of failure to pay $161,000 in back child support. Failure to pay child support in any amount over $20,000 is a felony under Illinois law.”

Sadly, this man still has throngs of fans who defend his morally repugnant and criminal behavior, including the one who forked over his bail the first time, so perhaps he will once again be bailed out, but how sweet it is to see him back behind bars where he cannot harm any Black girls, even if only temporarily. In fact, it’s so sweet, I wrote a song ’bout it. Like to hear it? Here it go:

(To the tune of Bump & Grind)

?See I know just what we want. And we know just what you need, Kellz. So, nigga, take your ass in that cell. We not fucking around witchu. Nigga, your ass is thru. In jail is where you need to be (where you need to be. Here’s your orange suit, meet your celly, now, nigga, they ’bout to throw away the key.

‘Cause we don’t see nothing wrong, with a little jail time (with a little jail time).?

 

 

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Black Love: Which Black Couple Is Your Fav?

Y’all remember the contest I posted about a month ago? Well, the finalists are here and I need your votes.

Couple #1: Daneisia and Jamall  ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

First we want to say thank you again for picking us for this date. We did the best we could with the time we were given. Jamall and I both have crazy schedules with none of the same days off, so it was pretty hard for either one of us to plan the perfect date night.

I requested to be off for Valentine’s weekend, but I was denied. We decided to try a lunch date instead of dinner since I work the 3p-11p shift. Unfortunately due to him working overnight, our lunch date didn’t happen. Saturday night I was able to get off of work an hour early, and we made it to the Cheesecake Factory just in time to enjoy some much needed qt together. Though we both ordered two amazing looking dishes, he couldn’t resist eating off of my plate smh.

To spend the rest of the money we decided to get some snacks and popcorn from the grocery store, and enjoyed a movie at home ❤️ Though we both had seen the movie a dozen + times, we agreed on Black Panther, and watched until we fell asleep.

I’m sure we could have spent the money a different way, but with the time we had together we did the best that we could. It all came down to getting some alone time together longer than a few hours.

 

 

 

 

 

Couple #2: Leah and Shandrice

Valentine’s Day, 2019. A few days prior, I’d submitted my beautiful partner and I into a contest to win $60 towards a Valentine’s Day experience. Lo and behold, I was one of the winners! I can count on one hand how many times I’ve won something, so the sentiment motivated me even more to use my winnings in a unique way. Although we had to celebrate a few days after the actual holiday, it was still a beautiful day full of love, fun and reminiscence.

I’m rather new to the KK community, having been exposed to it by my partner who is a long-time subscriber. She and I have been together for just about 5 months now. Like her, I fell in love with the mindset, content and overall empowering vibe that is Kinfolk Kollective. Once I revealed to her that I was one of the winners she was ecstatic! We made a deal this V-Day: I’d plan the “adventurous” portion of our day and she’d take care of dinner… because it’s no secret, I’ll take her home cooking over a fancy-smancy restaurant ANY day. To stay within our $60 budget, she suggested she whip something up that we’d already had in the pantry/ fridge/ freezer. Feast your eyes on the masterpiece of a meal that this here Goddess “whipped up”!

Not to sound like a basic bitch, but I’m more of a crab eater. She’s a bit classier than me, hence the lobsters and shrimp I’d bought a little while ago. And leave it to us to always have some red meat in the freezer. The lobster was cooked to perfection and the steak, almost as rare and juicy as her.

Once we wrapped that up, we showered of the Old Bay and got ready for part 2 of our belated special day. I’d decided to make our first Valentine’s day special buy honoring our very first date. Artechouse (DC) was the destination. We like to think of ourselves as intellectuals and… artsy, if you will. That being the case, this venue proved absolutely perfect the first and this time around. Artechouse is an art space that showcases experimental and tech-driven works by featured artists. It also has an Augmented Reality bar that serves drinks that can be activated with an app!

 

 

 

 

 

So who deserves this $200? Visit the FB page to vote.

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