and racist white guys have fucking always had to compare my sisters to celebrities they find attractive who they look nothing alike
they can’t admit that there are millions of attractive Black women and that it’s not only exceptional Black women who are attractive so instead they say they look just like Alicia Keys and Beyonce when they both look nothing like either
This. Right. Here.
I went back and watched some of the footage of Jeantel’s testimony. I could see why some observers might be disturbed that the teen wasn’t able to express herself more clearly. At times she was barely audible, she didn’t always use standard English and she sometimes didn’t seem to understand what the lawyer was asking her. It can be painful for us to see inarticulate black folks propped up on a national stage, speaking to a mixed audience with an unpolished tongue—particularly when words like “creepy-ass cracker” and “nigga” are freely tossed into the mix, words that Jeantel told the jury that Trayvon used to describe Zimmerman to her.
It reminds me of the way my parents described their pain and cringing embarrassment whenever boxing great Joe Louis was being interviewed on television and he would give the English language a vicious beating. We have a desperate need to want to always put our best selves forward. If you are in a position representing the whole of black America—and let’s face it, any black person being covered on a national stage still represents each of us, as much as it hurts us to admit it in 2013—every syllable you utter is going to be vigorously scrutinized. With social media, the scrutiny is going to be magnified like an electron microscope. [Exhibits A, B and C: Charles Ramsey, Sweet Brown and Antoine Dodson]
I understand all of that. But let’s not take this thing too far.
Rachel Jeantel is a teenager, a 19-year-old girl who told the world what she heard that fateful February night on the phone with her longtime friend Trayvon. From the news reports produced by the mainstream media, you got the impression that Jeantel was genuine and believable. Of course reporters from outlets like the New York Times, Miami Herald and the AP are not going to feel the need to describe Rachel’s attitude or overuse of black English vernacular, but they will feel compelled to describe the effectiveness of her testimony. And I saw them use words like “transfixed” to describe the all-female, nearly all-white jury’s reaction to what Jeantel was saying. Perhaps if the prosecutors had done too much coaching of their star witness, her genuineness would not have shone through.
I also saw incredibly mean things said about her looks on social media, even seeing her described as “Precious”—referring to the movie character brought to life by Gabby Sidibe, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of the troubled overweight teen. Disturbingly, this has become the go-to moniker for overweight, dark-skinned girls—aided by rapper Kanye West, who leveled that scarily ignorant line in his song “Mercy.”
Plus my b*tch, make your b*tch look like Precious
Jeantel had to live through a close friend being murdered, watching his killer walk free for far too long, then sitting in front of the world and recounting the painful night with an intimidating older white man directing questions at her while she’s clearly scared out of her mind.
Now, on top of all that, she has to endure some assholes critiquing her looks?
Really, people? Grow the hell up."
— Nick Chiles, “In Attacking Trayvon’s Friend Rachel Jeantel, Black Folks Are Taking It Too Far,” My Brown Baby 6/27/13
A stage play by and for Black women. I have nearly 1000 followers. They need 15,000 in 3 months.
13 Women the play deals with issues that women tend not to talk about. The characters in 13 Women are named after some of these issues like: low self esteem, adoption, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, parent rejection, homosexuality, abortion, suicide, fatherless child, single mother, reverse discrimination, drunk driving victim, and divorce. 13 Women is an abstract production which consist of poetry, monologues, and singing, all woven together and narrated through the voice of the minister character.
My purpose for writing 13 Women is to reach all women, from every walk of life, that have ever lived through any of the experiences portrayed in this production. As well as to give men an insight and hopefully an understanding of some of these obstacles women must overcome. Overcoming these issue will allow these women to be the best mothers, wives, teachers, lovers, friends, sisters, daughters and women they can be. 13 Women is a gripping and heartfelt production that will touch the very core of you. It is a production that more women need to experience nation wide.
Funding this project will enable me to carry 13 Women to wider audiences in efforts to bring healing, encouragement and inspiration to all that are willing, ready and open to receive. 13 Women….The Stage Production. It’s Time!
I once half-seriously joked to a friend that every woman should experience sleeping with another woman at least once in her life. Despite my personal views on sexual fluidity and belief that everyone (men and women) is bisexual to some degree (Kinsey scale, anyone?), there’s some truth I hold to in that declaration.
“Loving relationships among Black women do pose a tremendous threat to systems of intersecting oppressions,” Black warrior woman and scholar Patricia Hill Collins writes. “How dare these women love one another in a context that deems Black women as a collectivity so unlovable and devalued?”
While we all don’t necessarily have to be bedfellows, talking honestly with other women (black, white, straight and queer alike) about our deepest uncertainties about self is pretty radical. In a culture where sex and human sexuality is still largely taboo, that moment in front of my mirror — unshaven legs, chipped nail polish, nips and all, reminded me of the importance of not only loving (on) each other and ourselves but sharing openly about the parts we might not love so fully."
— Kimberley McLeod, “How Loving Up On Another Woman Helped Me Love Myself," xoJane 5/28/13