Guest Post ~Woman: Black. Angry? ~

Today’s guest post is from Mocha Girl MJ.  A Chicago native, MJ Forbes began writing short stories at the age of five. She and a kindergarten friend would write stories and read them to one another over the telephone. MJ continued writing throughout her school days, and won several literary awards. Though it was once only a childhood hobby, MJ later realized the true power of the plume, and began to use writing to give a voice to words which might otherwise have been left unsaid. Her writing brings attention to common issues from a different perspective, allowing the reader to experience a variety of emotions vicariously through her characters. MJ believes that writing is a healing both to the writer and the reader.
“Reading your own feelings from off of a page feels like finally sharing a secret with someone other than yourself. A book won’t judge you if you cry when you shouldn’t or if you laugh when nothing is really funny. Reading provides freedom to acknowledge your emotions, whatever they may be. Writing forces you to do the same.” – MJ Forbes

Woman: Black. Angry?
I typically prefer not to address unfavorable stereotypes beyond an occasional private conversation with girlfriends. But I can’t stand to see an idea so muddled that everyone is talking about it, but few really know what they are actually talking about. Please allow to me provide a touch of clarity on the much debated topic of the misunderstood ‘angry black woman’, which I’ll try to do without belaboring it.
Let’s begin here.

Definition: angry – adjective, feeling or showing anger or strong resentment (usually followed by at, with, or about).

The phrase ‘angry black woman’ is something of a misnomer. It suggests that malcontent is an intrinsic part of the character of a woman who has brown skin and ancestors from Africa. In actuality, this unfortunate syndrome is not race related. It is not genetic. It’s a learned behavior. A reaction, actually. This anger is a defense tactic that has been passed down from mothers, aunts, and grandmothers along with secret family recipes and traditions. Black women are not naturally more aggressive than other human beings. That is why there are no angry black babies.
In fact, as babies, we are all the same. Humans are born with a sense of entitlement. No infant has ever considered whether or not they are entitled to more or less than others. We emerge from our mothers’ wombs with an expectation to have all of our needs met. And we cry furiously until our desires are fulfilled. No, anger is not a color thing. It is a human thing.
Anger not always a bad thing. The difference is in how we channel it. It is often the first step toward change. The problem is that many of us are not taking the second, third, and twentieth steps. But I’ll leave that topic for another discussion. Some women are known to express anger with yelling, finger swinging, and neck jerking. The unfortunate consequence of this is that others cannot see past your emotion to your meaning. Then these expressions are connected with irrationality and even monthly hormonal cycles. Therefore, they are treated as if unimportant or nonexistent. Some women quietly hold anger inside like a heavy stone weighing down their intestines. Poorly managed anger doesn’t do anything for us but encourage cortisol hormones to add inches around our mid-sections, and make wrinkles where we know good and well we should not be cracked. Finally, some women direct anger into calculated action.
An arguable idea: black women have just cause to be angry. Why? We live in a world where despite all of our advances as a species, we still categorize people by their appearance. For black
women, not only are we black, but we have the nerve to be female as well. Therefore, positioned in our spot at the bottom of society’s totem pole, we are often assumed less intelligent and capable. When we demonstrate that we are, in fact, brilliant, creative, and forward moving, the response we receive is often…wait for it… anger. This puts is in a virtually no win situation. That is, if the goal is to win the favor of people who are not black and not women. Perhaps we should make sure that is not our goal.
But we have made so many strides in race relations. That is true. And a great many people, male and female, black and other colors have fought and given their lives for our rights. We should be grateful that we have the freedoms and opportunities that we have, and we should take advantage of them. Through the efforts of these people, laws have changed. What is deemed socially acceptable has changed. People, however, are generally the same. Hatred has been with man since Cain murdered his brother and it is standing nowhere near the exit.
Angry Black womanBut that’s not all. Black women are angry because we are victimized by the media, each other, and ourselves. Some of us are mad that girlfriend bought a house, or started a business. We get indignant when we should be inspired. Far more unfortunate than that is the fact that some of us are mad at other black women for having a shade lighter complexion, or slightly fuller lips and hips than the next. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we should all be holders of our own beauty and grace. Then we may see that the beauty and intelligence of other black women is no threat to ourselves. The world is large enough for many women of beauty, intelligence, talents, shades, backgrounds.
Circumstances have placed us in a box, but guess what ladies – there’s a crack in the side. It has been caused by the weight and pressure of many women before us and next to us pushing against the walls. What are you doing? Are you pushing hard or are you standing around complaining that the crack is too narrow and you will never get through?
I am a black woman and I am not angry. I’m too busy being fabulous and successful and chasing my dreams to be mad at anyone for being mad at me for doing the aforementioned things. I am, however, aware. And I suspect that many other black women are not ‘angry’. I think many of us may have misdirected passion and misunderstood ambition.
I would like to propose a motion, and I’m looking for someone to second it. Black women, let us not pass this idea of inferiority to our daughters. Let us be the last generation of women with any hint of an idea that we accomplish anything ‘in spite’ of ourselves. Let us be so preoccupied with activity that we have less time for anger. One day may this all be a faded scar on the face of society rather than an oozing wound.

Thank you Mocha Girl MJ for this guest post.  Feel free to comment below and if you would like to submit a guest post about Black Women, books or something along those lines, please email me at mochagirl@email.com.

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Guest Post: Do Black Women Have Any Say of Our Portrayl In American Media?

Today’s guest post is from Mocha Girl Dionne “YVE”.  Former West coast hip-hop artist Dionne aka “Y.V.E.” is from Los Angles, CA.  Her  favorite book of all time is Louise L. Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Lifewhich transformed her life by showing her how to overcome life’s setbacks. She chose to join M.G.R. because she LOVES to read books and enjoys connecting with like minded women.  The next book she’ll be reading is “Guerilla Marketing” by Jay Conrad Levinson in order to learn how to thrive in this New World Economy.

DO BLACK WOMEN HAVE ANY SAY OF OUR PORTRAYAL IN AMERICAN MEDIA?

    The Final Call Recently I was driving down the street and a bow-tied Nation of Islam member approached my car at the red light. He had a newspaper in his hand with a large photograph of Nicki Minaj on the cover. She kinda looked like Lil Kim so I rolled down my window and asked him “which female rapper is that?” Once he confirmed it was Nicki, I noticed the paper also had smaller pictures of Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Serena Williams and Rihanna. I decided to purchase a copy so I could learn more about the title of the article called “Fact, Fiction & Black Women”.

     It turned out the article was written by a black female Muslim named Charlene Muhammad, who interviewed a few other people, including Dr. Ava Muhammad. From reading the article, I formed the impression that Dr. Ava Muhammad, who is an attorney and Nation of Islam student minister, couldn’t shake the media image of Black women as “self-hating, miserable, and vindictive.” I have a hard time signing off on that sentiment.

     With recording artists “living life like it’s Golden”, such as India Aire, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, to name a few, could she be focusing on the negative? This is not to say some of us are not self-hating, miserable or vindictive, but I believe those words can be applied to our entire American population at one time or another.

      How many Americans drink to excess, smoke, take legal and illegal drugs, overeat and over-indulge in sex to fill a void within ourselves? These behaviors are the result of self-hatred or non-acceptance of who and what we are at a particular moment in time. It’s all of our inability to accept our losses and move on to a brighter day. Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “God cannot make us the head if the woman is not lifted. If God does not lift the woman, the man will never come up, so if God is going to make a new world and a better world, He is going to make that world coming through a woman.” That sounds like a heavy burden to me. Black women already shoulder the vast amount of responsibility as head of most Black households. It seems like God needs to lift up the Black man to be more of a father to his children and a stable husband for his wife or “baby mama”.

     Some cite “Basketball Wives” and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” as examples of the failure to show positive role models to our youth. I contend that reality shows were not created to show positive role models. Some people in real life are low-down, dirty, backstabbers. Sorry to hold up a mirror to how some of us are living but that’s just simply what I call “keepin’ it real”.  We have grimy elements in our culture and that shouldn’t be swept under the rug. Some of us have people in our family like that, and even though they are far from perfect, they certainly do exist. Just like we have Halle Berry, we have black women comics on stage with mouths so filthy, they say things that embarrass a grown woman.

     As a former record label owner/female rapper called, “YVE THE ORIGINAL WOMAN”, I remember putting a song on my 2nd album where I wondered if I should censor the lyrics where male rappers said things about certain females that could be found offensive. I made an executive decision not to censor it because if the rap music I listen to was a movie, it would be rated R. As an adult, I feel other adults should have the right to choose what they say and listen to. Although the content is not at all appropriate for children, it was created for those 18 years old and over.

     DO BLACK WOMEN HAVE ANY SAY OF OUR PORTRAYAL IN AMERICAN MEDIA? I say yes we do-individually AND collectively. Does Oprah Winfrey have any say? Hell yeah. Does Michelle Obama? Yeah. What about the Black female authors, entertainers,  film directors, politicians, astronauts, athletes, entrepreneurs and broadcasters? Um, yes. Others disagree and say the entertainment industry is an institution that promotes Black women as “bootylicious rump shaking females on music videos”. In my opinion, that’s just one dimension of the wide spectrum of images that I have seen of us on TV and film.

     Now that I’m not currently selling rap music, honestly, the only way I can see how I can make any impact on the portrayal of Black women in media is through my own individual words and behavior as well as what books, TV, films and internet sites I support in media. What about you? What impact can you personally have?

Thank you Mocha Girl Dionne “YVE” for this guest post.  Feel free to comment below and if you would like to submit a guest post about Black Women, books or something along those lines, please email me at mochagirl@email.com.

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