It's A Personality Thing, Not A "Hood" Thing So Please Stop Confusing The Two
This past weekend was a doozy for me. Not because of anything that I had going on personally but because of the difficulty I had navigating my social media timelines with all of the chitter chatter going back and forth in regard to the Cardi B and Nicki Minaj situation that sparked this weekend.
For those of you who may be out of the loop, during this past weekend’s New York Fashion Week festivities, Cardi B. decided that she was going to use this opportunity to “address” Nicki Minaj about an alleged rumor - which is now being said to have not been true at all – which somehow resulted in Cardi attempting to attack Nicki physically while throwing one of her “bloody” shoes at her during a red carpet walk for Harper's Bazaar.
For several reasons, I disagreed with her actions and used my platform to say so as did many others. Many of us disagreed with her actions for varying reasons. Some feeling it was not the right time and others feeling it was just plain tacky. I was in the middle on both agreeing with it not being the right time and for that reason it being tacky. Of course, this opinion did not go without pushback and the expected bunch of gaslighting and Tumblr terms being thrown about.
My timeline was ablaze.
It’s always funny when situations like this happen because it gives you a chance to see hypocrisy at its best and through this small window of opportunity you are given the chance to really see where everyone’s mind is. I wish I could say that I was disappointed, but I truly am not. I wasn’t the least bit surprised that a vast majority of my timeline was in favor of her actions and that most of those in agreement were several years younger than me. I’m sure if I were 21-25 years old I probably would have been more understanding and on board with her actions but as a 32 (soon to be 33) year old woman who has had my fair amount of experience and lessons in the area of allowing someone else to control my emotions, my position seemed to go over the heads of many.
I saw the subs. Yes, I saw them.
I just chose not to engage. Just as she made the “choice” to act as she did thus giving power to the very person she was trying to “run up on”. I’ve been there, so I get it. I’ve been in situations where I have allowed someone else to dictate my actions and control my emotions. It never turned out well. Every action has a consequence and just because it doesn't happen immediately doesn't mean that the effects won't cause chaos down the line. As I said to a friend of mine, Nicki is playing Cardi like a fiddle and she is too silly to realize that Nicki is making her look like a raging fool. This is strategy. This is strategic. This is a passive aggressive game of chess not checkers and right now, Nicki is winning on that lane because she knows how to make her tick.
Pause: I am not, in any way shape or form, a fan of Onika. I think she is just as tacky and at her age she should know better and be doing better. I am also not a fan of Cardi. I have my own personal issues with her, but game recognizes game. So, I can acknowledge Nicki’s strategy without condoning what she is doing. This is not a post bashing either of these women, I am simply expounding on my personal feelings in regards to "this" specific incident and this incident alone. So, stay out of my emails. I don't care.
It's interesting watching this play out. Last year, I found myself running through the Triple D with my wheels spinning behind some drama. The one thing I learned from that was that you never let someone know that they have you so bothered that you would risk your freedom and access. You never let someone put you in a position to where you have to step outside of yourself. Offering up explanations. That kind of power is something you hold for yourself. Sometimes your first reaction is NOT the best reaction. No truer words have ever been truer than, "Think before you speak. Think before you react."
We all have a choice. And we are ALL responsible for our own actions. Unless you are being physically forced no one can "make" you do anything. You do it because you made the choice to do it. Say it with me: A C C O U N T A B I L I T Y
I wasn’t surprised by the coddling that she received. It was too be expected. Especially in some of these “wokebook” circles that I am forever grateful to not be a member of, at least I don’t consider myself to be. I wasn’t surprised by the unfriending, blocking (I got blocked twice) and subs that those of us who disagreed received as a result of our position. Some things people just have to learn on their own and I understand that. What bothered me most, and what prompted me to put words to paper, was the constant insinuation that her actions were a direct result of her being “hood” or “from the hood”. I found myself growing overly annoyed and agitated at the implications that her presented behavior at this event was because she was a “hood chick” because for some reasons there is this narrative being pushed that "this" is what it means to be from the "hood".
First of all, as a woman who grew up in the hood I would personally like to say: F*ck you from the bottom of my heart.
There were even people reaching as far out into the next galaxy to say that Black women who were not on board with her actions with “anti-Black” and weren't really for hood people. Making comments that suggested that we should be supporting her because she is a “black girl” (the jury is still out for some on this) and she should be allowed to express herself freely. Or suggesting that the reason we were upset was because we were worried about the “white gaze”.
To be clear, I don’t care if there were two zebras and a monkey in attendance. As far as what happened, I don’t care if it were a birthday party. You don’t go to someone else’s house and make a mess. If, for no other reason, out of respect for the person who extended the invitation to you. They thought enough of you to invite you so think enough of them to respect their time, money, effort and space. Check your drama and ego at the door. I still would feel the same and you tried it.
I wrote an article a few months back about how dangerous some of your views are about hood people. I talked about the anti-blackness and disrespect hood folks get as a result of this fetishized idea of what it means to be “hood”. The same idea that has now spread like a plague because every Tom, Dick and Linda thinks that being "hood" means dressing a certain way or conducting themselves in a manner that would make some of "hood" people blush and feel uncomfortable. Once again, I am having to revisit this topic and lay out the problem in suggesting that her behavior is a “hood thing” as oppose to it just being a thing of character.
She acted that way because that is who SHE is, not because she is from the “hood” and it is an insult to every single person who has to carry the weight of living in the hood or being “from the hood” because those kinds of comments fuel the ideal that all (Black) people who come from low poverty areas are emotionally immature, violent people with no common sense or discernment. For emphasis, one more time for the people in the far back: This isn't a "hood" thing. It's a character thing. It's a personality thing. Black people from the "hood" are not the only people who fight in public, destroy property, are violent, uneducated, ill-mannered, etc.
It’s a dangerous narrative to push.
People from the “hood” already deal with a whirlwind of stigmas. Ones that they face daily. Ones that they never escape even when they have moved out and moved on so this narrative that you are trying to build around Cardi to “protect her” because she represents some part of yourself needs to end. If you are going to make an argument for her simply “being herself” then use that as your argument but don’t try to incorporate her being “hood” as a crutch because it’s bullshit and you know it.
Most of you don’t even know girls like Cardi and if you do you make it a point to separate yourselves from them as much as possible. That’s why you don’t invite them anywhere. Your outrage about people not condoning this is truly all performative because when you see videos come across your timeline of Black women fighting you aren’t reposting them saying “well they are hood and just being themselves” do you?
No, you don’t. I know you don’t and I know that you know that I know that you don’t.
You cut off friends and family members who are constantly in the mix of drama dubbing them and their antics as toxic, poor choices that you do not want to be bothered with because “your energy” needs to be clear. Yet, here you are making suggestions that people who were like “Nah, Cardi, I can’t rock with you on this one…” were in some way “afraid” or weren’t about that life. Maybe, just maybe, being about that life and being in situations such as what happened this past weekend was the lesson we needed to learn to get our acts straight because I can tell you that there is nothing more embarrassing than getting kicked out of a social event for fighting or causing a scene at the age of 30 (been there, done that).
At 25, I ran up in my next door neighbors backdoor (ripped it off the hinges, actually) and jumped on her ass because she disrespected me. She called me a "bitch" and told me she could "beat my ass". So, I called her bluff. It took 3 men to pull me off of her and drag me outside. Once outside I ran back to my house, grabbed the biggest knife I could find, darted right between two of the men standing outside my door, ran back to her house and told her that I would "gut her down to the white meat". I could have went to jail that night. I could have lost my daughter. My family. Everything. And for what? Because someone said something that I didn't like? Because she disrespected me? Because I had something to prove? Trust me, I’m more about that “run up on a jawn” life than you care to know and I’ve always been down for the ride.
This isn't about being "hood", this is about emotional maturity.
What we are not going to do is sit here and try to act like she is a representative of what hood girls are all about. You hate stereotypes and labels, yet you continue to play into the same stereotypes and labels that you claim to hate. What you are going to stop doing is trying to make it out as if black girls from the hood, collectively, are all a bunch of ill mannered, off-the-wall, uncontrollable people who can’t help what they do or have no control over their actions or emotions.
It is the reason why I have to constantly check people who make comments in regard to me not “acting” like I grew up in Baltimore or when I do mention that I grew up in Baltimore I get weird, awkward looks because they are now trying to “see the hood” in me, as if they should be able to read the “hood” on my face. It is the reason why I have to check people who make comments about how “articulate” I sound or how well-spoken I am because in their minds I should be bouncing off the walls, acting a complete fool. Because that’s what “hood” girls do, right?
It’s insulting and I’m tired of having to fight about it.
I am neither ashamed or bothered by where I grew up. I love it and if there were more opportunities in Baltimore or if I saw Baltimore as a place where I could live happily I would move back in a heartbeat. My mother is from South Central and my father is from Watts. I fully embrace where I come from and talk about each place with pride because they are a part of me.
- There are millions of black girls from the hood who do not act or behave in a reckless manner.
- There are millions of black girls from the hood who are articulate. There are millions of black girls from the hood who aren’t out here fighting in expensive dresses at social events.
- There are millions of black girls from the hood who have enough common sense to be able to differentiate and discern what is and what is a battle they need to fight.
The same ones attempting to connect her behavior to being “hood” and use it as a reason why she should be coddled in her actions are the same individuals who will, and have, criticized Black males for the same type of behavior. If we are being honest, if she had been a man that same argument of being from the “hood” would be used as an example of why Black women need to “divest” from these “ashy, uneducated, uncouth, hoodboogers because you can’t take them anywhere and they have no class.” This would be used as an example as to why you can’t date a man from the “hood”. Yes, I went there and I won’t be taking it back.
The definition of hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.
So, you would never date a man from the hood who conducted himself in this manner, but it is perfectly fine for her to do so BECAUSE she is from the hood? Pick a side or struggle and stick to it.
She is like that because that is who she “is”, and I will give her that much. She is being true to who she has always been and who she has always been is someone who continues to cross the line yet continues to receive passes that someone darker than her would not be granted (see: Azealia Banks). The same excuses being granted to her are the same ones that are going to cripple her. There will be no growth or maturity on her part and she will continue to act this way until something happens and by then it will be too late.
I am from the hood because that’s where I spent my youth not because of how I dress and most certainly not because of how I act.
Thank you for attending my TedxTalk.