In light of some recent events that I have witnessed, I think its time to have this very much needed conversation. I recently did a guest lecture in a Hip Hop & Social Issues class talking about the intersections of Black Feminism & Hip Hop. I had the students analyze “Flawless” by Beyonce & then “Lookin’ A** N****” by Nicki Minaj. One general theme surfaced from the overall analysis: Nicki Minaj was confrontational & her confrontational stance was seen as completely unwarranted & unnecessary. I thought this was interesting seeing that there were other issues with the song (e.g. transphobic lyrics) but the one thing that came off as most important to the students was the fact that Nicki had the audacity to be angry. So let’s get this straight:
- Black women can be oppressed & talk about their oppression BUT it shouldn’t be confrontational? Black women can’t be mad?
- Black women somehow are ALWAYS angry according to imperialist White supremacist racist cisheteropatriarchy BUT they have NO right to be angry or confrontational?
If these seem like mixed messages, its because they are. Racism & Cisheteropatriarcy don’t have a logic, they are flexible systems that can be manipulated to serve their respective privileged groups. Black women have a right to be angry and there is no need to apologize for that anger.
Being nice to your oppressor and tending to their emotions and standards has never freed any oppressed group. Audacity and bravery are required. To be under the impression that I need to be nice to people who have privilege when they attempt to oppress me with intersectionally oppressive rhetoric and treatment is BS. I will not shrink myself or make myself smaller to make my oppressor more comfortable.
Guess what? I am mad, I’m pissed. If you’d seen the shit I’ve seen, experienced the shit I’ve experienced, you’d be pissed off too. So no I will not be nice to you, no I will not theorize for White folks, cishetpatriarchs, or the economically privileged. Its not going to happen. Damn straight I’m one of the mean Black kids & NO you can’t sit with us. So members of marginalized communities, please remember that you are not responsible for making your oppressors comfortable. Their comfort with your oppression goes hand in hand with their inaction. You are worth loving, protecting, embracing, & caring for. So protect yourself. So speak up, speak out, speak against your oppression and don’t worry about “offending” people or being “politically correct” because those who get offended don’t matter & the politics of the current state of affairs are twisted. So don’t doubt yourself for speaking up for yourself or other marginalized peoples. You were right for calling oppressors & their institutions out on the injustice they perpetuate. And NO you don’t owe any oppressor an apology unless you’re apologizing for not calling them out on their shit sooner.