Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I Was a Stranger, Day 29: Badass Black Women


We weren't made to serve the Sabbath, and women weren't made to serve men...especially Black women. Yesterday I read about THREE instances of rich, powerful white men insulting Black women or commenting on their looks. Black women are not your plaything.

1. April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks correspondent, was treated rudely by White House press secretary Sean Spicer...who accused her of wanting to push an agenda, telling her to "stop shaking your head." "April, hold on, it seems like you're hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays," he said. "I'm sorry, please stop shaking your head again," he added.

Ryan took the high road (necessary if she ever hopes to ask a question again): “Sean is being the White House press secretary, talking about and trying to make this administration look better than what it does right now, and unfortunately I was road kill today,” she said. Infuriating.

2. I've come to love Alicia Keys since I started watching "The Voice." A multiple award winner and philanthropist in addition to being an extremely talented musician and nurturing mentor and coach, Keys has been a vocal proponent of love and acceptance. At the Women's March on Washington, she said, "we want the best for all Americans. No hate, no bigotry, no Muslim registry. We value education, health care, equality." She cares about women's equal pay, war, women's rights, and environmental protection.

In May 2016, Keys began a makeup-free campaign, explaining "I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing." Of course, she's received a mixed reception, with some claiming it's easy for her to do so because of her attractiveness, and others calling it a PR stunt...because everyone feels the right to comment on women's appearances.

Adam Levine, her colleague on "The Voice," shared a story on the Howard Stern show about how he tried to tease Keys when he saw her putting on a bit of makeup. All the coaches tease each other on "The Voice," and Keys and Levine appear to have a warm working relationship. But I love Keys' response. "I do what the f*ck I want." Damn, woman. You are so right. As we all should do! She has no need to explain herself...not one bit. She is a star and a badass!

3. The right-wing racist, sexist blowhard Bill O'Reilly had the nerve to diss Maxine Waters, age 78, California U.S. Representative. The most senior of the 12 black women in the United States Congress and member and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Waters was fifth out of thirteen children and raised by her single mother. She has worked her butt off her entire life and has never suffered fools gladly or let right-wing blowhards tell her what to do. She's called Trump's friends and advisors "a bunch of scumbags" and has said Trump is heading to impeachment.

Yesterday Bill O'Reilly disparaged Waters on Fox News, saying that he couldn't pay attention to what
she was saying because her hair looked like a James Brown wig. Racist AND sexist. In an interview later in the day, Waters not only said she wasn't going to respond to O'Reilly or pay attention to him, but she also extended a message for all women:
"Don't allow these right-wing talking heads these dishonorable people to intimidate you or scare you. Be who you are. Do what you do. And let us get on with discussing the real issues of this country...We also know that when a woman stands up and speaks truth to power that there will be attempts to put her down. So I'm not going to be put down. I'm not going to go anywhere. I'm going to stay on the issues. And the issues are basically these: we have a president of the United States that doesn't deserve to be president..."" 
Watch her badass speech here:

Another woman constantly criticized for her looks and badassery, Hillary Clinton, made a statement yesterday, too, commenting on how poorly both Ryan and Waters have been treated and discussing the everyday sexism (and racism) women face. These women were just doing their jobs.

So here's the message of the day, brought to you by Badass Black Women: "Be who you are. Do what the f*ck you want. And let us get on with discussing the real issues of this country." Keep on resisting and don't let the scumbags get you down.

Read more of my "I Was a Stranger" entries here.

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