Happy Monday and Happy Black History Month All !
This weekend was an interesting one to say the least. On Friday teacher greeted the class with Dunkin Donuts,much to my delight. Shoutout to Gary! You see I live in Krispy Kreme nation down in this sea of Carolina Blue, so I’m always thrilled when someone offers me Dunkin. Unfortunately that is the only highlight of my day.
Once I left class, I discovered my town was without water. We had two unlikely incidents to occur over 24 hours, resulting in several emails instructing us not to use any water until further notice, with an estimation of things being resolved Sunday. Eeek…. Rest assured, the ETA was correct. Well to distract myself from this, I decided to scroll down my Twitted time line to get some laughs from Black Twitter, which I did. CNN was being roasted for identifying Faith Evans as Faith Hill.
— CNN (@CNN) February 3, 2017
Soon I noticed a shift as I saw an article with Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement photos floating around. Not one to jump in on the lashings without knowing the whole story, click bait won’t get me in trouble, I decided I had time that day to read the article.
She Said Beyoncé Shouldn’t Do What?
The editor of Man Repeller, Leandra Medine, penned “The Problem with Social Media Announcements” a piece using Beyoncé’s recent announcement to explore how social media changes the way we communicate joyful moments in our lives and the ways it may impact others. While I do believe we as a collective can overshare some aspects of our lives – I don’t need to see your pregnancy test stick on my timeline – I could not help but to roll my eyes at Medine’s piece where she suggested the announcement could have been more humble. Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement was something she decided to share with the public, because it’s a wonderful moment for her and her family, and she was going to be visibly pregnant at Super Bowl LI in her hometown, and it was her right to do so. This was done for her and family and no one else, so what gives Medine the right to dictate how she shared this news.
I understand we all come with different lived experiences and we all have different emotional triggers that may seem like nothing to others, so I do empathise with Medine ,who experienced a miscarriage and finds these displays uncomfortable. However what struck a chord with me is the timing. In her think piece, Medine mentioned roughly 1/5 of the women she was currently following on Instagram are pregnant, yet it was Beyoncé’s photos that inspired this posting. Not Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Laura Prepon, or Lauren Conrad to just to name a few of the celebrity women who have announced their pregnancies in the recent months. Not even her friends who have been using their social media accounts to document their pregnancies.
Where is the Sisterhood?
Granted they are not the powerhouse that Beyoncé is, I could not help but to ask myself “why is it an issue when a black woman does it?” It’s almost as if the joy of black women enrages some people. There’s always this rhetoric of “we should celebrate each other as women” or “do not police one another”, but as soon as it involves a black women a think piece has to be written on what she did wrong. When one considers who the figure that is Beyoncé means for black womanhood, black career woman, black motherhood in terms on representation, an attack against her is meaningful. The failure to understand the consequences of dumping ones feelings on the body of a black woman shows a lack of awareness and the faux sisterhood touted out.
This is not to place Beyoncé on a “can do no wrong ” pedestal, but instead to challenge the notion of her – and other black women – being superhuman. I know the world likes to treat black women as if they are super woman or to steal Medine’s word ” immortal”, but we are not. We suffer and cry and bleed , but we also experience joy and laugh and smile. Black people, especially black women, are told to be humble. If we are too flashy or extravagant then our egos are too big and we need to be put in check. Essentially we are told to push ourselves into a box of domesticity and white womanhood for our celebrations and joy to be accepted as is. Using a black woman’s joy to police people on not considering the feelings of others, in this case a white woman’s feelings, shows a lack of self awareness and a lack of care for true sisterhood.
Black Motherhood Is Daring
In a time when our children are being shot or held in airports or receiving abuse in the school system, the act to practice motherhood in America for a black woman is daring. To show it to the world in a way where is isn’t surrounded by negativity and grief as we often have seen , that is daring. It deviates from the hegemonic story we as a collective have been fed. It brings a humanity to the notion of black woman having ownership of their bodies and having the ability to mother their own children.
Beyonce with daughter Blue Ivy (Source: Beyonce.com)
Going against the grain is daring and bold and vulnerable and deciding to present ones self to the world in such a way should be celebrated. I know when I have kids my pregnancy announcement will be bold and colourful and exuberant, because it’s my body and it’s my right. In a country that has done almost everything possible to prevent the growth of black families and children, telling a woman she should be humble about it, is much more than telling someone to consider your grief.
We should all consider the labour we are putting on the bodies of others and what it means to ask them to take on that task. We should all consider using our platform to promote our own self centered and negative agendas. We should all celebrate each other more.
So no Beyonce doesn’t have to be humble and neither do I.