2020: New Year, Same Misogynoir

They startin’ real early, y’all…

I was hoping to stride into 2020 leaving (at least a little) misogynoir behind us. Of course, America’s not having that. Not to suggest that Black women should never be a target — I mean, we are human. But, damn, why we always gotta be the only target? We’re only thirty two days into the new year, yet it’s been jam-packed with misogynoir-fueled offenses. Below are seven moments in January that proved that, it doesn’t matter how rich, how accomplished, or how young, no Black woman or girl will be spared…

7. First, they came for Blue

Shortly after new year’s eve, social media obsessed over photos of megastars Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion, along with a beautiful Blue Ivy. Many appreciated seeing the famous faces. However, a few couldn’t resist the urge to bully young Blue Ivy. Vanity Fair film critic K. Austin Collins, a Black man, tweeted, “I have a feeling the Jay Z face genes are about to hit Blue Ivy and I feel really sorry for her.” Violet Lucca, a white woman and web editor for Harper’s responds, “They haven’t already?” Naturally, Black twitter showed up to snatch wigs. The result was Collins giving an “I should have known better” kind of apology. In typical white woman fashion, Lucca reduces her behavior to only ‘petty.’ She was also sure to include in her excuse-of-an-apology that she’s since been called, ‘ugly, old, and a racist.” Pardon me while I pass on the opportunity to weep for her.

6. Ari Lennox is Beautiful. Periodt.

Singer, Ari Lennox spent the very first day of the new year defending herself from trolls who deemed it appropriate to suggest she resembles a Rottweiler.

“Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor’s ability to have dangerously high sex appeal while simultaneously looking like Rottweilers will always amaze me,” someone tweeted. Not long after, she took to Instagram to address the slander at length. Through tears, Lennox stood up to those who condone singling out Black women for our complexion and features. For many, myself included, the moment was a painful reminder that society is A-Okay with casting Black women as the whipping girl of unappealing. Sarah Baartman is likely rolling in her grave.

5. Bernie Sanders embracing an endorsement from Joe Rogan

Yup. That Joe Rogan.

It’s no secret that Black women are underwhelmed by Bernie Sanders. His dusty, fifty year-plus old memories of the civil rights movement are as relevant as an asshole on an elbow. Black American women voters have long been calling out Sanders for racial ignorance and misogynoir. Essentially, we pay him as much attention as he pays us: none. Rogan, who’s podcast commentary is checkered with sexist, racist, transphobia, is no friend to marginalized communities. Sanders embracement of Rogan’s endorsement affirms to Black women what we knew all along: Bernie Sanders doesn’t give a shit about us.

4. David Schwimmer tried to white-out the whole cast of Living Single

In a recent interview with The Guardian, former Friends cast member, David Schwimmer, addressed criticism about the show’s blatant lack of diversity. Schwimmer, offended that the show was called out for its mayo-ocrity, suggested an “All Black Friends show.” Say what now?

It’s no secret that Living Single innovated the way ensemble casts delivered situation comedy, while correcting how Black women were represented on television. Besides the fact that the worst episode of Living Single was better than the best that Friends had to offer, there’s no denying where Friends snagged their template from. Queen Latifah has long since confirmed this by revealing that NBC big-wigs were quite intentional with stealing the intellectual property behind Living Single. Erika Alexander, who played Maxine on Living Single, reiterated this fact to Schwimmer personally on Twitter:

“Hey ⁦@DavidSchwimmer@FriendsTV⁩ — r u seriously telling me you’ve never heard of #LivingSingle? We invented the template! Yr welcome bro.” — Erika Alexander, Twitter

For the fans of Living Single who continue to celebrate the show, Schwimmer’s call-out was vindicating and frustrating by equal measure. But, for those who appreciate the subdued, pasty humor of Friends, they’re likely still wondering what Living Single is smh.

3. Tyler Perry Shitted On Us. Twice.

As if his content isn’t bad enough (and, it is), there’s another line that Black viewers are tired of him crossing: The hairline. Those wigs in A Fall From Grace are just pitiful.

During a press junket for the film, leading actor Crystal A. Fox and Perry confessed to having a heating exchange about one of the wigs for a pivotal scene. Perry admitted that the decision was ‘very emotional’ for Fox, and listened as she explained that “hair is part of the journey, so it is very, very important.” However, he responded with, “I don’t have time to wait five hours and spend ten million dollars to figure out which curly is right for you.” Perry’s response to Fox was not only dismissive, it’s reflective to how he views and exploits Black women. We are not people, we are plots. Best seen in bad lace fronts and only heard when reading off his scripts. Black women are not welcomed in Perry’s writing room, and unless we’re giving him a round of applause, he doesn’t want to hear a word from us. He’s not an ally, he’s an asshole.

2. Somebody Come Get Terry Crews. Now!

When Gabrielle Union expressed discomfort with behind-the-scenes conduct of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, she was terminated from her position as a judge on the hit show. Celebrities from Tyra Banks to Will Smith have championed Union for standing up for what’s right, even at the expense of her job. And then, here comes Terry Crews’ big-headed ass.

“First of all, I can’t speak for sexism because I’m not a woman, but I can speak on behalf of any racist comments. That was never my experience,” he said. “In fact, it was the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment,” Crews said last Thursday. He continued to explain that, after referring to his wife, he decided that if Union wasn’t going to speak on the events, than why should he?

Invalidating Union’s experience by countering with how ‘pleasant’ his experience was is corny asf. In true call-out fashion, Crews took to Twitter to double-down on his statements, continuing to use his Black wife as a shield against those challenging him. In my opinion, the only reason he eventually owned up to his actions and apologized is because of public scrutiny. This isn’t the first time that he’s pulled a problematic stunt. Somebody tell him to pull up a seat besides Sanders, because we don’t need him either.

1. White women assaulting timelines with their Kobe trolling while celebrating David Bowie

News struck Sunday that famed NBA player, Kobe Bryant, died in a horrific helicopter crash along with thirteen-year-old prodigy-daughter Gianna Bryant, the pilot, and six other friends. You didn’t have to be a fan of Kobe or basketball to feel for those affected. From diehard fans across the globe to the entire city of Los Angeles, many mourned the loss of Kobe Bryant. Sadly, Black women got only a fraction of a moment to process before the white feminist brigade barged in. There was a certain arousal from white women who desecrated Bryant’s name with poor reporting, n-word ‘slips’, and complete dismissal of feedback from Black women. Black women, the ones who curated #metoo and continue to set the bar for safety for sexual assault survivors, were forced to compartmentalize their mourning and handle all the Beckies. Yet, white women would never have done such a thing when their beloved David Bowie died in 2016.

Bowie was a whole grown ass man when he solicited sex from a young teenager. And, this victim has told her story and has a name. Her name is Lori Mattix, and she was only fifteen-years-old when Bowie raped her. Despite this knowledge, white women continued to share their favorite Bowie songs, movies, and styles. When asking the average Becky why mourning the death of Bowie is acceptable, but grieving tears for Kobe isn’t, the answer often has something to do with stardust. Bitch, if you don’t…

Many are saying that January was an incredibly long year, wishing that the remainder of 2020 moves with a more consistent, optimistic pace. But, for Black women, we know better. The bullshit is just getting started.

Tamela J. Gordon is a writer, editor, book critic, and facilitator of safe space for Black women. Join Tamela’s Patreon community, her online book club (exclusively for non-men), and check out shewritestolive.com . You can follow Tamela on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads!

Writer. Feminist. Advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store