I have already begun my mental preparations for the latest insult to Black women’s romantic lives that Steve Harvey’s upcoming film Think Like A Man will most certainly be.
I have had to start these preparations because I know that despite the sense I claim to have, I’m prolly gone go see the movie. Why? Because even though light-skinned men went out in the 80s, Michael Ealy will never go out of style! He is #mmmgood!
Anyway, let me stop being scandalous. This being Easter Monday and all.
Instead, let me give a shout out to Scandal, Shonda Rimes’ newest show starring Kerry Washington, the first Black female lead on a primetime network drama, in, let’s just say, forever.
I caught the show via DVR this week, and I have one thing to tell you. Olivia Pope is a bad-ass. And for that reason, alone, she is my shero. I don’t like all her choices, particularly of dudes (watch the show, if you wanna know!), but I cheer simply for the presence of Black female complexity being represented in primetime. And whatever I might think of Olivia, I do know this. Kerry Washington is a bad bish.
And I guess this is what it looks like when Black girls run primetime.
I was reflecting on just that point when I got the chance to see Washington as a guest on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show.
Now, I was already an MHP stan before the show—the first news show hosted by a Black woman on a major cable news network—(no shade to Jacque Reed for holding it down all those years at BET) debuted in February. If the MHP Show has taught me nothing else, it has taught me that in a Black feminist universe we DVR the news!
I’m so serious. I now have to have my weekly #nerdland fix. It is not a game. And I swear this show is some of the smartest programming on weekend television. On television period. It matters even more that MHP is a self-avowed Black feminist, particularly since so many sisters still seem to have a problem with that word. Both Washington and MHP identify as feminists and are fierce advocates for women’s rights through their various platforms. For all the reluctant feminists out there, these women represent just two of the many forms that Black feminism can take.
One of my favorite moments from the show was the day that MHP talked about the movie that Black feminist chicks – me included—love to hate: The Help. But on her show, she chose to interview an actual domestic, Barbara Young, the head of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. And when Ms. Young offered a different perspective than that of MHP and her other panelists, MHP made sure that Ms. Young’s voice and perspective didn’t get drowned out by the other folks who felt educationally entitled to take up more space in the room. We Black feminists take care of our own.
The more I thought about this awesomely unique moment in which we have a Black feminist delivering the news, a Black female lead (who can act her ass off) in primetime, and a Black female show creator, I realized that slowly but surely Black women are fighting back against this onslaught of misogynoir that has been the Tyler Perry-Steve Harvey media universe for much too long.
Sisters are kicking butt now and taking names later.
Over at Ebony.com, Kierna Mayo is leading a swift and steady revolution. I have read so many smart pieces there, since the site’s relaunch just a few months ago. I grew up reading Ebony and Essence, the two black magazines that we got at my house. My grandmother got Jet so the triumvirate was complete. But I let my subscriptions lag a long time ago. Yet, I knew something had changed when I began to see the word “feminist” there on a regular basis. And when I tuned in a couple of weeks ago and caught an important article on African American trans trailblazers, you could’ve knocked me over with a feather. Needless to say, Ebony.com is now in my regular rotation.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl won the Shorty Award for best web show, beating out 783 other entries. And Issa Rae demolished her racist haters in the aftermath.
Ava DuVernay won best director at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
And we can’t forget that whatever issues some folks might have with her, a Black Girl has got her OWN media empire.
So even though I’m not in the habit of quoting Nicki Minaj, I really do wish I could have this moment for life. This moment, when I can catch a Black girl (well, make that two Black girls) running things in primetime, a Black girl running things on cable news, a Black girl running her own network, a Black girl running the web, a Black girl running Ebony.com, and let the NYT tell it, a Black girl running hip-hop.
And to top all that off, there’s a Black girl running the White House.
I dare not close my eyes, cuz I feel like, in the blink of an eye, it could all be gone. And yet, I choose to savor this moment. Sometimes we Black feminist chicks, I guess because of our fervent desire to make this world reflect our best dreams for it, are quick to see the shortcomings, the wrongs. But in this moment, however brief it turns out to be, there are at least a few things going right.
And in a salute of that, I’m doing my Black girl dance, cuz this is what a Black girl world could look like.
So DO tha ladies run this? Hell yeah. At least for this one singularly exquisite moment. And right now, this one brightly shining moment is enuf. Because if I know Black girls, I know this. Don’t give us even an inch, because we will take over the whole she-bang. #watchoutnow