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Can Black Women’s Anger Finally Be Taken Seriously?   

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By Maya Mackey

On May 21st, a viral video surfaced of Kelly Rowland strutting the red carpet and being escorted up the stairs at the Cannes Film Festival. She looked radiant (as always!) but unfortunately, the buzz wasn’t about her beauty but an altercation that she got into with one of the security staff.

People who are more adept at lip-reading than I am detected that Kelly told someone, “Do not talk to me like that! I am not a child, don’t talk to me like that.”

And rightfully so!  People were appalled that anyone could get Ms. Rowland out of pocket like that. Kelly has always been known for her kind, humble, chill vibes.  Whatever was said to Kelly, or rather whatever tone was used with her is clearly something that shouldn’t have happened.

Nonetheless, the bigger issue to me is the memes that were created at lightning speed following the incident. People used some of her song lyrics, like “I told y’all I was gonna bump like this” and others simply captured the photo of Kelly raising her finger at the security guard and projecting their sassy thoughts onto her. I can’t say I didn’t laugh at some of them, but then I paused and realized, this isn’t a laughing matter.

The list of incidents where Black women, famous or not, have been publicly dismissed at best and downright humiliated at worse is about as long as the Bible itself.

It was only a few weeks ago that Drew Barrymore had Kamala Harris as a guest on her show and had the nerve to call her “Mamala.” To be fair, it is a term of endearment coined by Kamala’s step daughters.  But Kamala is not Drew’s mother.  And the black mama reference is in direct line to the Mammy trope White people have projected onto Black women for centuries.

Kamala was gracious enough to laugh it off, but we all know that was partially for her own career survival. Any time a Black woman shows an ounce of emotion that is less than chipper or mama bear patient, she gets stamped “The Angry Black Woman” But anger is a natural and furthermore appropriate response to disrespect.

I would think the Black community knows that and yet, they still couldn’t refrain from getting their jokes off at the expense of a Black women’s pain. We have to do better fam. We can’t hold a microscope to Drake and Kendrick Lamar’s double-sided misogyny and turn around and make light of our sister being mistreated publicly.

Either we’re for us or we’re not.  So, let’s think a bit before we turn another Black women’s disarray into a meme for public fodder.

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