I want to make sure that I have a disclaimer right now that I adore Issa Rae and her Awkward Black Girl series. Again, I adore Issa Rae and I think the Awkward Black Girl series is amazing (and HI-larious) but something she said in an interview recently really stood out to me and I can’t let this comment pass. It wasn’t really something insanely offensive in fact I don’t know if most people would even notice it. But when she said this an interview, my ears immediately perked up.
While Issa Rae was being interviewed about the success of ABG she was quoted lamenting about how there were not many shows that featured African American people and they weren’t really created with black people in mind as there was in the 90’s. When the interviewer mentioned that there are many shows with diverse casts Issa Rae pointed out that that most of the characters have bit parts and are sidekicks. She then said this:
“But the black characters on TV are the sidekicks, or they’re insignificant. You could put all the black sidekicks on one show, and it would be the most boring, one-dimensional show ever. Even look at the black women on Community and Parks and Recreation — they are the archetype of the large black women on television. Snide and sassy. I love both of those shows, and I love the characters, but it’s like, come on, there’s more than that. At least there’s Donald Glover on Community. But unfortunately that’s one of the lowest-rated shows on television.:” – Issa Rae. (full article below)
I am can not say that I disagree with what she is saying. In fact I would say I have to agree. But here is where I have a problem. She seems to find some solace in the fact that Donald Glover is portraying black people on television. Let me make this clearer to you if I’m being confusing. She seems slightly pacified by the fact that there is some brown skin representation of blacks in the media even if it is only a black MAN. The problem that I have with statements like this is that black women seem to think that black MALE representation and black FEMALE representation are one and that because black MEN are featured in a good way on community it will somehow bring black women higher in status.
I have a problem with this because this is similar to the same meme that if black women help black men get ahead black men will pull us up also. And we ALL know how that brilliant idea worked out for black women. I don’t even need to go into that right now. The problem is, when black women think like this they complacent, they start thinking they don’t need to represent themselves, well, themselves and leave it up to the Tyler Perry’s, Chris Rock’s and Martin Lawrence’s to speak for black women and their needs, wants and desires. And black women eat it up because “at least their are somebody anybody with brown skin on the Tv, as if the fact that these men have a penis doesn’t come into play.”
Here is a hint ladies. Black men do NOT equate bw sucess in the media with their own, they dare I say are not even happy for the black women somehow manage to pull themselves out of the drudgery of women (of all races) clamoring to be the next Jennifer Aniston and actually reach mainstream status. In fact one recent example comes to mind. I read numerous comments online about Zoe Saldana’s role in Colombiana and many black men were disgruntled because, the felt that not only were black women getting more roles than black men they were also getting pared with love interests who were white men. I didn’t here any congratualtions that a brown person was being represented but instead there was a resentment that the representation had a vagina.
Now I’m going to “keep it real” I’m probably going to piss people off by saying this but here is the truth as I see it. Men do not give a damn that women are successful.( of any race) And black men who feel they have been slighted by white men do not give a damn that black women have gotten ahead. In fact they are more pissed that a woman has taken the success that they perceive as theirs. BM (and men of other races) do NOT want you to succeed if it means they will not directly benefit them. They do NOT see your accomplishments as their. And you can bet they are going to be saying “Where’s my piece of the pie?”
Just like similarly black men do not care to see black women/ white men pairings as representative as interracial relationships, but wouldn’t bat an eye if they were going to be paired with a white woman. Because of course this is for the good of the black race. These same men who were (literally) calling Zoe Saldana and black women who accepted roles paired with White Men “The white man’s whore” (One guy on one blog actually said black women are “cum guzzling slut buckets”) are the same ones who take whatever roles they see fit and say not one word when black women are over looked or cut down.
Don’t be fooled ladies,and don’t stop creating awesome stuff like the Awkward Black Girl Series that shows black women in p0sitive lights. These men are NOT your friend and they are not your buddy. (Unless it can take them somewhere.) These men only care about Racial unity because it is benefiting them. But do these same men have a problem with black women being over looked? Is Donald Glover on community fighting to have Yvette Nicole Brown’s Character have a more active role? I don’t think so. Probably not. Because in the end it is not about anything more than having more than you, a black woman. Because these black men feel that they deserve to be successful and you do not. They only have a problem because they don’t get your share.