In the past few days a situation has arisen that needs to be addressed. In addressing it I am not assigning “blame” or value to the blogger in question but am reaffirming the importance of the BWE message. The focus should not be on the blogger but on protecting the work. Besides, I am DEEPLY OFFENDED by this would-be BWE blogger’s attempt to tear down the work because she doesn’t want to be held to a higher standard. Especially in light of the beautiful post from Halima Why I Love BWE praising the BWE movement and the lovely sentiments expressed this week – Valentine’s Week which is supposed to be about LOVE.
All shut eyes aren’t asleep!
I have been silent for months, just observing the actions of the PR Pro who had made some inroads at infiltrating the ranks of the core BWE bloggers but was never quite successful. I think she would appropriate and capitalize on the work of others for personal gain at our expense. If we let her. Which we will not.
No one is opposed to any (and all) of us earning a living, getting a book deal, etc. I’ve noticed how she has tried unsuccessfully to usurp the BWE message and position herself as the lead BWE authority without originating any work of her own. What amazes me is how obvious she has been (as a fake friend to BWE/poseur) while she incorrectly assumed she was going to get away with it.
I’m writing about this now several months after she first appeared on the scene because she’s made a fatal strategic error by overplaying her hand in declaring open “war” against one of us. This was after she hung some of us out to dry. There is no war. Let me repeat. There is no war. She does not have the significance she’d like us to assign her. We’re not fighting and no one is suffering from the aftermath of a blogger break up. I did however, have a headache because I had taken one of my no-technology days off and logged back on to find this mess!
She’s not a BWE blogger.
She has however, been allowed all the rope she required with which to hang herself.
If you read and enjoy her forum feel free to continue doing so.
Methinks She Thinks Very Highly Of Herself
Just so that we’re clear, these are MY observations and mine alone. I want to provide some background information that will fill in some of the blanks for those who have been paying attention. Others can use this as an opportunity to evaluate why they are still not thinking critically, use terminology employed at the BWE forums but don’t take any actions and are still seeking to be entertained instead of getting busy at saving their lives. This is also a good time for some of the blog administrators to check themselves for effectiveness as well.
This one-sided “war” is the culmination of a lot of behind-the-scenes shadiness that had been allowed but not spoken about until now. I want to keep mentioning that Blogger X is a Public Relations Professional because she tried to join the ranks of the BWE bloggers (while pushing the buttons of known BWE opponents to gain credibility) to ultimately usurp the BWE message. I believe that has always been her end game. It was a deliberate publicity stunt using her media skills to catapult her as the de facto BWE “authority” at the expense of the BWE movement. She was busted and had she been clever would have graciously admitted defeat and gone about her business. The general reading audience would have been none the wiser.
The No Wedding No Womb initiative was a great addition to the BWE work already in existence. In fact, we’ve blogged about the OOW, HIV and never-married rates for BW repeatedly for several years now. The PR Pro was able to saturate areas where the established BWE blogger could not or would not access by being an unknown entity. I will personally always be grateful for new minds being touched and challenged. If the life of one black girl was saved from hearing about NWNW our efforts were a success. I was happy to participate. Using a new face to address a continuing problem is a great strategy that should be employed again for other campaigns in the future.
Allies v. Opportunists Part 2
I’ve previously written how everyone who espouses BWE messaging doesn’t make a BWE messenger. Indeed the BWE message has spread far and wide across various forums and many people are watching everything we do! The immediate concern on my end was whether the PR Pro had the stomach, stamina and steadfastness to stay on point with such a message and in how it was going to be executed. She had requested help from the BWE bloggers in reaching out to our forum participants. It was just a bit weird for someone to appear out of the blue, mounting a major campaign. She hadn’t been a regular participant at any of our forums prior to its execution.
She also chose to work with more or less anybody, with no boundaries and no expectation of reciprocity. Some of those people were established anti-BW bloggers, DBRs and dysfunctional-male identified BW. The very same types who would have never been trusted to work with an established BWE blogger because we’ve already identified these types as Zombies ready to suck the life out of BW and undermine the BWE message. If it was me I would’ve proceeded with some caution, but she didn’t seem to care.
Now one might argue such a move was a strategic one, which the PR Pro claimed when I specifically expressed my concerns during some of the phone calls we exchanged (that I’d initiated). I wanted to offer my assistance (I did a lot of social media related counterbalancing to the troll attacks, misinformation being spread and recruited some participants). I also wanted to monitor the progress of her PR initiative (NWNW) and get a peek to what was going on behind the scenes if I could.
Transparency keeps people honest.
I saw there were many inconsistencies and sought to address them. The message was more important but the messenger would have an impact in how it would be executed. When she told me flat out that she was a people-pleaser I took her at her word. People-pleasers cannot be trusted or relied upon. People-pleasers will abandon you when times get rough. I should have been angry but I had more pressing matters to attend to in my offline life. I had every confidence the universe would sort it all out eventually.
While I felt sympathy for the sustained attacks from the trolls who had descended to oppose the message behind NWNW – which was about addressing solutions to the OOW birth rate it didn’t escape my observation that in being attacked and having some of the core BWE bloggers helping the PR campaign legitimized her much faster than running an humor-based interracial dating blog ever would.
There was also a key issue of her refusal to hold black men accountable for their behavior by framing the mass OOW as the equal responsibility of men and women. That ignores the specific indoctrination of black women that must be called out. That is in direct opposition to BWE messaging for self-determination – to not try to “save the community” at all costs.
Where’s the reciprocity? Who benefits?
Where I raised the red flag is in the PR Pro’s curious choice of friends and influencers – many whom oppose the very concept of BWE. Now, to be sure there are some powerful voices from black women bloggers who are NOT BWE Messengers. They have contributed to saving the lives of BW and have a body of work, blazed trails and left a legacy that they’ve created on their own however. They’ve taken slings and arrows. They have PRODUCED results. Consistently. Frequently. There is simply a different focus when it comes to discussing certain topics that the core BWE message encompasses.
This is wholly separate from the PR Pro’s one-off campaign.
Speaking of which, the PR Pro claims to be a BWE blogger but does not actively or consistently participate in the BWE forums. Some don’t even know how she is. She has not produced a body of work that she has originated. She has consistently pilfered concepts at our forums and dumbed them down for a general audience. In fact I can quote the sentiment from one of her readers who said she doesn’t want to be “preached to” i.e CHALLENGED at the BWE forums. This reader enjoys the “lightness and humor” at the PR Pro’s blog.
There is nothing wrong with lightness or humor. I liken it to cotton candy. Sugar sure does look pretty when it’s dyed multiple colors and mixed with air. Candy is a nice treat to have, but it doesn’t offer sustained nutritional value. If reading the BWE blogs that tell you your house is burning, get a lifeboat, flee the zombies, make better choices or die is too much of an inconvenience for you STOP READING them.
Do not complain about it at other people’s forums. Which brings me to the heart of this post. The PR Pro who claims to be a BWE blogger has NOT looked out for the BWE bloggers as a collective or protected the overall message.
THE MESSAGE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY ONE BLOGGER.
There were several commenters who on more than one occasion trotted over to the PR Pro’s site to slag some of us. Yes, I was one of the bloggers but that’s not the point. This is par for the course when running a social justice forum where a disgruntled reader will bring up their issue with Blogger A in Blogger B’s house. We are quick to tell them to take that mess somewhere else. We protect each other. The PR Pro did not and has not. If you are not paying attention to what’s going on in your house you are being negligent. There’s a learning curve leeway courtesy extended with the expectation it will be corrected if one wants to claim inexperience.
Yet she was very much aware of what was going on – but as a self-identified and admitted people-pleaser chose to not say anything or correct it. While some bloggers share a difference of opinion about how to moderate comments, some of us identify opposition to core values as obstructionism where open attacks against other bloggers will not be tolerated.
You cannot claim to be a BWE blogger and not have our backs!
Halima, Evia & Khadija are the backbone of the BWE message. That does not remove them from scrutiny, but anyone who fails to offer them respect on behalf of their work is suspect.
There is a cost involved with being a serious activist. BWE is a social justice movement, not a tea party. While we are all on different paths, live different lives and may never meet in real life online we have to be clear about who we are and what we stand for.
We are not “friends”. We are message-bearers. Guardians.
By that I mean the message takes priority over any individual blogger and when someone starts to stray too far off the reservation one of us will throw down the penalty flag. This is done in a symbiotic fashion for it’s not as if we have weekly strategy sessions or even communicate with each other regularly. Everyone is incredibly busy employing Rule #1: Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First Before Trying to Rescue Anyone Else.
We have a deep, abiding mutual respect for one another but realize this is serious work. I am very grateful for being pushed by the BWE bloggers past my comfort zone and to re-examine ideologies. It hurts sometimes. I do it anyway. Our readers understand that as well. Those who prefer a steady diet of cotton candy are not going to like being told to eat their veggies.
As a BWE blogger I have an obligation to keep challenging myself and you, the reading audience to excellence. I get frustrated at times – that’s usually when someone leaves a comment urging me to take care of myself. I know because I use a lot of social networking sites I can go places some of the other BWE bloggers don’t. I find it amusing how some of those I come into contact with think my forum is tough. I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to implementing overall lifestyle strategies. My approach is more philosophical. If we don’t know what motivates us how can we see value in making changes? Yet some things are far too urgent and need to be addressed immediately – which is where the other blog forums come into play. We all complement each other.
Since there is some overlap amongst readership at our forums I am not here to tell you what to consume. I will continue to urge you to stay away from anything dysfunctional which is usually “black” oriented. As always take what you find useful and discard the rest. I am not emotionally invested in who “likes” whom. I am protecting the message in calling out a not-so-crafty leech. We are not her and she is not us.
Her most recent request that we give her data and do work to help her “introduce” the BWE movement in a 3rd party forum (owned by the parent company of Bossip) that she’d control was the last straw in a series of attempts on her part to hijack our forums. This is why she jumped the gun in attacking the core BWE blogger. She’s under the mistaken impression she has this huge forum and could splinter the readership by encouraging people to take sides by playing the victim role. I know it’s hard out there for a pimp but she’s in for a rude awakening. Nobody actually cares about her forum. I laughed at how one commenter actually suggested the core BWE messenger was hating on the PR Pro because her blog was more popular.
The PR Pro is throwing a public fit to be manipulative and some of ya’ll have fallen for it hook, line and sinker. This is why some of us are tracking the demise of the black community, African-American women (and other BW w/similar ideologies who make poor choices) and estimate 95% won’t make it when the &*^%$ hits the fan. This isn’t a popularity contest. This is life and death. Some of you think the fire from your burning houses is oh so pretty. Remember, cotton candy melts in your mouth and disappears in seconds. If she was a legit BWE blogger she wouldn’t be asking others to define the concepts for her and “explain” the BWE movement. She’d be leading by example.
The BWE blogs already have millions of readers. We don’t need an official spokesperson – definitely not a self-appointed one who hoped to show up at the 11th hour and run off with the spoils! We are each our own individual cell where sincere participation makes strong building blocks. We encourage every woman to be successful in their endeavors. We are interested in continuing the work and getting that message to the younger generations. That’s where you teen and 20-something readers will need to step into leadership positions. Women who have benefited need to give back and pay their tithe to the movement. It is just as much a spiritual battle as any. Dismantling harmful ideologies is akin to fighting evil.
You Are Not Automatically A BWE Blogger If You:
- Write about interracial dating and/or marriage without examining the ideologies that hold other BW women back or offering key strategies for success (being in an IRR alone is not enough).
- Are still holding on to your Race Woman “I Am Black” card.
- Have one half of the “empowerment” conversation but don’t follow through to the end.
- Allow others to denigrate bloggers in your forums.
- A black woman.
- Exclude us while trying to mount a self-helmed BWE campaign using our work.
The BWE bloggers don’t all agree on every single detail. You, the general audience may never be privy to that for a reason. As adults we have to decide to focus on what matters and allow some things to simply be. We will close ranks if necessary. What some of you don’t realize is this is bigger than a blog. This is bigger than writing pretty words that have impact. This is not random. This is about establishing a new world order where black women get to be on top for a change. There are many interested parties who want to ensure that never happens.
Their opposition message is getting more sophisticated (but it’s still obvious to the trained observer). There are many who’d seek to destroy us from within. Every person who claims to be a friend and ally is NOT. Infiltrators and traitors are interchangeable at this point. This isn’t COINTELPRO. Except we can study exactly how the government operated and how easily those movements were infiltrated to avoid the same fate. We are not that naïve. This is nothing new. This is not a “war amongst equals”. It is one blogger who got her hands hit with a ruler for reaching into the cookie jar one too many times. It is an exposed roach scurrying away from the light.
She could have chosen to persevere and do the work necessary to build a completely separate and self-sustaining audience while maintaining a reserve of goodwill amongst the BWE community and tangible results would have resulted. If you do the work there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the rewards. Just like the rest of us who have spent years building our forums. Instead she tried to step over us on the way to what I’m not certain. Even some of the BWE opponents have accused her of trying to pilfer for profit. Game recognizes games, eh?
When the next wave of would-be infiltrators like the PR Pro make their next move you will need to step it up a notch. Unless you’re offering a series like Table Talk For Activists or other in-depth analysis either as a standalone post or other useful info shared in the comments sections at our forums we won’t even begin to take you seriously. She miscalculated in assuming we had already done so.
I admit I have probably erred by responding to this bit o’ nonsense at all, but I had taken a technology day-off, saw all of this foolishness going on for nearly 3 days straight and I’ve had enough. When someone has taken hits for defending me and other bloggers I am obligated to respond. The only haterade I’ve noted is in wanting to be deep and not having the fortitude to carry it out. Anyone who’d actually think this was about a having a book contract is an absolute fool! It has always been about the social justice work – but I see this as a teachable moment where we can separate the wheat from the chaff. Like those black women who saw nothing inherently wrong with the Pepsi SuperBowl ad, those of us who still have common sense and values need to separate ourselves. Every conversation doesn’t have to be hard-hitting but you can’t be in opposition to the core message of black women’s empowerment (or attacking its messengers for enacting standards) while claiming to be part of its movement.