I could actually take the “Hair” out of the title of this post and leave it as is. Black women angst should NOT be open for public consumption!! I find these conversations to be challenging, painful and difficult. They require time and great care as we sort through things. The issue is they’re often full of pain and tied to other issues involving the abandonment and denigration of black women (in particular African-American black women) at the hands of black men.
So when Chris Rock appeared on Oprah yesterday to discuss his documentary, “Good Hair” I cringed. Again, it’s another hijacking of stories that should be told and controlled by BLACK WOMEN but is only given “validity” by those black men who decide to cash in on them. That cashing in may be monetary compensation or notoriety. This goes hand in hand with other black women engaging in patriarchy-based sexism who agree to defer to these “experts” simply because they are MEN.
Curiosity on a subject is usually an indication you need to examine an issue further but to then make a cottage industry out of it at the expense of your “subject matter” is all about YOUR hustle. Any real assistance that emerges is a residual affect. The assumption that black men (who frequently devalue other black women in their personal and professional lives) can suddenly decide to “come to the rescue” of black women in one hand with the “answer” in the other is disturbing to me. It’s not sincere. Not when pathologies and pain are laid bare in a public forum AND they’re trying to make money from it.
The participation of black women is still 100% required for any such projects to be successful. I’m still annoyed that Steve Harvey, the thrice-married cheater is giving any woman advice on how to have a successful relationship – and given validity. Especially when he’s being sued for stealing the concept and content from another black woman. Then we have Tyler Perry allowing a black woman writer-director to be pushed out of the For Colored Girls project in favor of….himself. I could go down a list.
As more and more black women take the pill to get out of the DBR Matrix our movements have not gone unnoticed! Now our real oppressors want to further obstruct the path to freedom by seeming to champion us. Like any sneaky saboteur they will grin in our faces while steadying the knife to stick in our backs. We must never forget the oppressors are also in competition with those of us who want to succeed. It’s part race and part class warfare. Lest anyone wish to dispute this ask yourself how you’d feel if it was a white male director making a documentary about “good” hair and referring to childhood photos of Oprah as her “slave” look. All of our skin folk are NOT our kin folk!
Here’s a “good” moment from yesterday’s Oprah episode – but again Rock has to insert himself and his opinion as if what he thinks about Solange actually matters. He is spot on in his political commentary but has a clear animus towards educated and successful black women. I still remember the way he put down Michelle Obama during his comedy routine from last year and his poor attitude toward his wife. As if making a joke out of married life and devaluing relations between black men and women accompanied with laughter removes all the hatred.
Speaking of which – where was Malaak Compton-Rock in this conversation? Why isn’t SHE on stage (ok at least in the audience)? It makes you wonder about all the rumors of their marital strife. I sense much of it stems from him and his attitudes. If he is sooo concerned about the well-being of his daughters and screams from the rafters about what he says to reaffirm their beauty why is there such an ongoing problem? Actions speak louder than words that’s why. Like so many weak, insecure and often limited-educated African-American black men (regardless of their income) their short-comings are obvious to everyone but them.
**Carmen Dixon mentioned me in her latest post! Thanks CD.