We played the name game with Confederate monuments, now we’re back for Round Two.
I didn’t want to write about the anger white women (fueled by Iggy Azalea) were feeling about Beyoncé using the term “Becky” to refer to her husband’s mistress in “Sorry” because I read a piece that did it so well that I thought I should leave it alone. But I have to say something. Let me say this once and for all: Sometimes, there are things in life that have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. *sets down bullhorn*
The story Beyoncé was telling was about her life (or someone else’s life who inspired the story, but most likely her), and she used terms that she (or that other person) would use. She can say what she wants. That’s what creative expression is about. If you’re upset, don’t listen to the song.
Notwithstanding that it was Beyoncé’s personal right to use whichever term she most felt applied, I haven’t seen anyone crying for the last TWENTY YEARS when Sir-Mix-a-Lot used the term in “Baby Got Back.” Black women haven’t slapped anyone (that I know of) when we get called “Sheniqua” and other fictional ethnic names – or worse -by the rest of the world. Being called outside of your name hurts, Beckies? Please, tell us more…
I really didn’t know an Iggy Azalea was still a thing, but it’s statements like this that make me actually wish it would stick to rapping horribly so it wouldn’t speak anymore.
*slow claps* Mr. Wilmore, you got on that stage and made everyone incredibly uncomfortable all night, and it was FANTASTIC.
I cringed as people booed (and flipped the bird á la Don Lemon) at the shade Wilmore lobbed in all directions at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night, then it dawned on me: I had no reason to feel uncomfortable for the black people in the audience because, like me, they all agreed with Wilmore, and I had no reason to feel uncomfortable for the white people in the audience because, if they felt uncomfortable, they probably needed to hear what was being said.
Wilmore ended his speech by telling President Obama, “Words alone do me no justice. So, Mr. President, if I’m going to keep it 100: Yo, Barry, you did it, my nigga. You did it,” and “Barry” smiled and nodded.
Now every black person in America understood EXACTLY what that exchange was about. President Obama DID it. HE DID IT. A little black boy from the South Side of Chicago became President of the United States. TWICE.
Feelings aside about his country of birth, his policy, his decisions this past eight years, racist and ignorant people alike have only seen a little black boy this whole time, and the fact that President Obama has managed to conquer the political system so effectively is a GIANT step for black people in America.
It’s so frustrating that the people who seemed to be the most offended by Wilmore’s address were white people. Why is this frustrating, you ask? Because once again, IT. HAS. NOTHING. TO. DO. WITH. YOU. Shocking, I know. The “n-word” is not your word anymore. It’s a word repurposed by people, now a term of endearment, and it was endearing to our President to hear it from another black man. He didn’t flinch; he didn’t look shocked; he nodded in agreement.
What we saw on stage that night was high key beautiful. These two black men, all dressed up in nice, probably designer suits, who came from their respective backgrounds, were on live television because they both have made names for themselves in the unfriendly environment that is white America. That gesture we witnessed was an acknowledgement that not only have they arrived, but because they have arrived, they are paving the way for more people of color to be in office, to be on television, to govern, to entertain, to do whatever they want to do, and all of this in a world where their grandparents couldn’t even use the same bathrooms as white people.
We tend to forget that the days of Jim Crow and segregation were not that long ago. What that acknowledgement at the WHCD meant was that “Yes, we have done a lot, but we still have a long way to go, because while I’m standing up here in this nice suit with all this money, all some of the people watching this speech see is two niggas. But this time, they can’t do a damn thing about it.”