6 Black Celebrities Y'all Can Take Back4/03/2015
by Kesiena Boom Black people are not a monolith. Our opinions and beliefs are as diverse as the shades that our skin comes in. Despite ...
by Kesiena Boom
Black people are not a monolith. Our opinions and beliefs are as diverse as the shades that our skin comes in. Despite what mainstream media would like white people to believe, there is no one way to think, talk, or act as a Black person. However, this doesn’t mean that we accept any and all bullshit that comes out of our fellow Black folks’ mouths. There are a bunch of Black people in the public eye who seem to be doing their damn best to say and do the kind of shit that makes us side-eye so hard it hurts. The following six people are Black celebrities who have finally said so much foolishness that we, quite frankly, don’t want them on our team any more. They ain’t doing a thing for us.
Does Don Lemon revel in saying the most ridiculous and offensive shit possible? Or, more sadly, does he just straight-up believe it? Either way, sorry Don, but you can’t sit with us.
In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, Lemon interviewed Arsalan Iftikhar, a Muslim Human Rights Attorney. Iftikhar spent minutes patiently and articulately explaining why he condemned the Hebdo attacks and all religious extremism… and in reply Don chose to pointedly ask him if he supported ISIS. Oh Lord. Was he even listening to the man? Does he realise how absolutely ludicrous and and uninformed he seems? Furthermore, whilst talking to Joan Tarshis, one of the women who came forward to say that she had been raped by Bill Cosby decades ago, Lemon decided to give Ms. Tarshis a handy suggestion on how she could have prevented the assault: “You know there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it… Biting,” he stated. Suggesting that a rape victim should have done anything in relation to their assault is disgusting behaviour and to do it to the woman’s face, on television, is a particular kind of messed up.
In her now infamous interview with Oprah, she insisted that she’s “not African-American” but is just “American,” because an American is a “colorless person.” She said she connects with all races, which is all great and good, but doesn’t erase the fact that her ass is Black, whether or not she cares to acknowledge it. And acknowledge it she should. Her absolute shying away from being deemed African-American comes off as if she is ashamed of her heritage and is trying to distance herself from it. In the same interview she also refused to give a label to her sexuality, missing a golden opportunity to raise visibility of LGBTQ Black women. Raven’s heart might be in the right place but her vehement opposition to embracing her Blackness is a small kick in the teeth. She tried to set the record straight in a recent interview, but only made herself seem like more of a fool when she was quoted as saying she’s from nearly “every continent in Africa, except for one.” If Raven doesn’t want to claim us, she can keep on keeping on without us—no matter what continent in Africa she says she’s from.
Oh, Pharrell, we had such high hopes for him. N.E.R.D. was the shit and he has the cheekbones of a god. It was looking promising. But then, “Blurred Lines” happened. Putting aside the fact that he was found guilty of lifting the track from Marvin Gaye, the song is a literal ode to rape culture and has been criticized repeatedly from a feminist standpoint for its lyrics. Things have not improved since then, since Pharrell decided that he, as a ”New Black,” holds the key to transcending race and anyone who is silly enough to let racism affect them just isn’t trying hard enough and is stuck in a cycle of “blam[ing] other races” (read: white people) for their woes. Pharrell, honey, please just stick to using your mouth for singing until you bother to pick up a textbook on critical race theory, yeah? Pharrell’s words stung, not just because they’re misguided but because they basically put the blame on the rest of us Black folks who aren’t at Pharrell’s level of success, rather than placing it at the feet of… oh, you know… white supremacy. That little thing that’s been holding us back for centuries?
The Gnarls Barkley singer and former judge on The Voice, exposed himself as exactly the kind of person we don’t want around when he took to Twitter to explain that, “If someone is passed out, they’re not even WITH you consciously… so WITH implies consent.” He then added, “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!” What makes it even worse is that he was attempting to defend himself, by using his own false definition of rape, against allegations that he gave a woman ecstasy without her consent and took her to bed, which she had no recollection of in the morning. Green’s disgusting and nonsensical views on rape earned him a collective recoil of shock and dismay from the public and his reality show was subsequently cancelled.
Kanye told it like it is when he proclaimed that, “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people!” in the wake of the abysmal support given to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Time went on and he released “Black Skinhead,” which urges us to “Stop all that coon shit!” He dared to love himself in a white man’s world and it was kind of great, until some switch flipped in his brain (it was probably Kim) and turned him from beloved brother to rightfully berated jerk. Lately, he has used the trite and derailing phrase “All Lives Matter,” in an interview with Radio One DJ Zane Lowe, condoned pedophilia—even referring to it as “smart” in the case of Tyga and his sister in law Kylie Jenner. He has also attacked his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose and said that he needed to take “30 showers” in order to wash the taint of her off before he could hook up with his now wife, Kim Kardashian. Maybe Kanye thinks he’s successful enough to say whatever he damn well pleases, but it’s not gonna wash with us anymore.
Two words: Black. Republican. Stacey Dash is an out and proud supporter of the GOP, the party that cares approximately zero percent about Black folks, unless they’re rich and famous enough to help spread their message. Dash’s endorsement of conservative views that directly and disproportionately affect Black people is kind of unforgivable, especially since she is now penning a book all about her beliefs, and thus will make even more money off of her questionable political alliances. She also thinks that Benjamin Netanhayu, Israeli Prime Minister—with the blood of countless Palestinians on his hands—is a “true leader” who President Obama ought to “take notes” from. And if that isn’t enough reason to not claim her, then I don’t know what is… Oh wait, how about her skewed and harmful views on sexual assault? She recently insinuated that rape is more likely to happen to “bad girls” than “good girls” and that being drunk is to blame for young women being sexually assaulted—instead of, well, the men who take advantage of them and actually sexually assault them. Sorry Stacey but you’re well and truly not here for us, and we’re not here for you.
Kesiena Boom is a Black lesbian feminist and writer who adores Audre Lorde, sisterhood, and the sociology of sexuality. She is twenty years old. She is a regular contributor at For Harriet and Autostraddle.com. You can tweet at her via @KesienaBoom.