Updated: Aug 30
The problem of Black Patriarchy within the Black community cannot and will no longer be denied or tolerated.
Since the days of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, the role of Black women and girls in Black liberation movements has been colored by the stain of sexism and sexist oppression. Black feminists have long been the vanguard in criticism of Black people perpetuating white supremacist capitalist patriarchal ideology and how it continues to prevent Black people from creating a true and fortified foundation for Black unity against white supremacy and capitalism. The problem of black patriarchy still exists today not just within our ethnic group, but within Black liberation movements. At this moment, its noxious existence has been further crystallized through recent actions of note by Black men, celebrity or not, towards Black women online and offline.
J.Cole vs Noname
J.Cole crafted a song "Snow on Tha Bluff", in which he placed the onus on Black women to "treat people---cishet Black men specifically---like children" when it comes to creating radical Black unity, and chastised Black women for airing justified grievances with a "Queen Tone". Not only was the song was a subliminal shot at Black leftist raptress Noname, but the song also functioned as a typical and sexist demand for Black women to do Black men's work of decolonizing themselves from patriarchal ideology FOR them. Oh, and to do so in a manner as not to make Black men feel "emasculated", aka, "Don't come at me in any way that challenges my identity and ego as a man".
Noname responded back with a short but potent response, "Song 33". She later apologized on her Twitter account for expressing her anger, fearing it was a "distraction" from focusing on important issues. This type of action has long been expected of Black women, as we are taught and told that because we are women, our emotions always get the better of us, cannot be trusted, and will not be heard. This is how we end up with Black women and girls apologizing for expressing their legitimate anger, as well as environments where we are not allowed to express anger and outrage, even when it is justified. And patriarchal Black men have long used this sexist construct to make Black women second-guess ourselves.
And as to throw salt in the virtual wound, J.Cole doubled down in his wrongness on his Twitter account, outright admitting that he doesn't do a lot of reading into the issues he supposedly cares about and feels inadequate to lead, but presumes to lead anyway because he "does a lot of thinking". Then tops off his wilful ignorance with a passive-aggressive tweet about being gentle with each other even in disagreement. There's no way in hell Cole would have responded with such a statement to another man, yet he has the unmitigated gall to dictate to Black women to "be gentle with each other".
This is a prime example of sexism and sexist thinking: lacking the knowledge to be any sort of leader, but behaving as if he could just because he's a man. And as a man, he must react to a woman showing more intellectual fitness and honesty by telling her to speak softly and be gentle, because expressing oneself with such conviction and strength threatens his definition of masculinity.
Talib Kweli vs Money Maya
All Maya Moody, aka @moneymaya on Twitter, did was quote-tweet out a truth regarding Black men rappers: that the majority of them tend to choose light-skinned Black women as romantic partners. That's all. However, faux-conscious rapper Talib Kweli took being mentioned at all as a personal shot against his fragile masculine ego and enacted what has now been a month of vicious online antagonism towards the 24-year-old sistah.
Having gone through a short spat with Talib over Twitter years ago, I was aware of his penchant for arguing just to argue, but he has taken this non-slight beyond "too far", even vowing to continue his online harassment campaign for the next 12 years until Maya apologizes. Oh, for WHAT, you question? For pretty much stating what turned out to be a fact: Talib's now ex-or-soon-to-be-ex-wife is indeed much much lighter-skinned than he is! He initially tried to keep that lil tidbit in the dark by spinning a narrative of him taking offense in defense of his FIRST ex-wife, who isn't that much lighter than him. But choosing to make this molehill into a mountain meant more eyes on him and more eyes looking INTO him, and lo and behold, we find out the "family" he was supposedly defending wasn't even family no mo'!!
This and much more personal information has come to light, making Kweli look even more of a misogynoiristic jack-ass not only for responding like the hit dog he is but for continuing to double down instead of admitting his wrongness. Although he deactivated his Twitter account---or was rightly suspended for harassment---Kweli continues his online harassment from his Instagram and Facebook accounts. Kweli's fans have also participated in long-term enmity towards Maya, ranging from harassment on Twitter to death threats and doxxing Maya's parents and trying to get them fired from their jobs. All because one Black man felt that Maya, who didn't say anyone's name, challenged his identity and ego as a man. And again, as a man, he must react to a woman posing a threat to his ego and masculinity by harassing her for weeks and encouraging others to take part in said harassment. Kweli has shown that patriarchal men will do whatever they deem necessary to put defiant women like Maya back in her place.
Tory Lanez vs Megan Thee Stallion
It started with an argument in a car and ended with shots fired at a Black woman. Last night, Houston raptress Megan Thee Stallion went onto IG Live and confirmed what most Black women already knew: rapper Tory Lanez was indeed the person who shot her, leaving her with bullet fragments in both of her feet weeks ago. Megan didn't go into specifics about the argument (nor is she obligated to) but was compelled to come forward because Lanez and his PR team were apparently lying about the incident and throwing Megan under the bus to save face.
In her IG Live broadcast, Megan revealed that when their party was surrounded by the police, that she kept silent about the incident because she was afraid she and everyone else in the car would be killed or locked up. She later exclaimed, "I tried to SAVE this nigga!", recalling that she spared Lanez possible death and incarceration by keeping silent about him shooting her, and expressed anger at the lack of support and backlash she's received from majority Black men(and patriarchal Black women). It is angering to hear Megan recall these tragic events and bear witness to the abuse she's received from people who would more than likely believe Kylie Jenner if Tory had shot her than believe a Black woman. Anti-Blackness and misogynoir have intersected so violently in this circumstance, proving once again that Black women are taken for granted and are always the least protected; our lives are forfeit, regardless of when we center protecting Black men from the carceral state, as we've been taught and told to do.
Megan described walking away from Lanez initially, getting out of the car because she no longer wanted to argue, only to have Lanez pull out a gun from the back seat and shoot at her. Megan's words and actions challenged his identity and ego as a man. And as a man, Lanez must react to a woman posing a threat to his ego and masculinity by inflicting physical harm when verbal harm doesn't suffice to put down her defiance.
The common denominator of all these incidents and others: black patriarchy, the perpetuation of sexism and sexist oppression within the Black community offline and online due to the adoption of white supremacist capitalist patriarchal ideology. Even though our community generally has had a larger measure of gender equity due to both genders always having to work and financially support families, adapting to life in this country post-slavery has led to the adoption of one of the most toxic social and cultural constructs that plague us to this day.
The adherence to the idea that men are inherently better than and superior to women, along with social structures reinforcing the idea naturally leads to the mistreatment, disenfranchisement, and harm of women and girls through sexism and sexist oppression. J.Cole, Talib Kweli, and Tory Lanez all acted out of perceived attacks to their masculinity and ego, which patriarchal ideology holds as unforgivable. Patriarchal ideology dictates that men and boys handle attacks to their fragile masculinity with force and even violence, whether verbal or physical. This is the quintessential source of gender violence towards women and girls, and until Black people---cis-hetero Black men especially---unlearn patriarchal ideology, gender violence and oppression will continue to drive our communities apart.