February 2, 2017

The Self-Care Series: Can Black Joy Have a Moment or Nah?

So by now you've heard. You must know the news because even your transitioned ancestors have heard the news.

An oompaloompa is President! Just kidding! (Not really)

No shit, right?! But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the news that the Beyhive's lord and savior, Beysus, is pregnant with not one, but two... read it, TWO little christ childs! Too much? Ok. My bad. I meant beybies, she's pregnant with two beybies at once. She's having twins!

Bey shared her announcement with the rest of us via a lovely post on Instagram - a seafoam green tulle draped over her head, wine colored translucent bra with tiny pink bow accents, and powder blue satin undies with ruffles as she kneels before an altar of lush greenery and flowers, tenderly embracing her belly and the lives in her womb. Mother Beyonce. Resplendent! Gazing into our souls with the smeyes of a million Tyra Banks. Bey, the veritable Patron Saint of Slayage, matriarch of the house of Knowles-Carter, carries three hearts and shall give birth to twins.

Do you understand what I'm saying? The internet exploded yesterday, the very first day of Black History month.  Even for those of us who do not call ourselves Beyonce fan-atics, don't pay membership dues to be part of the Beehive, and sometimes critique or debate about Beyonce's authenticity, this was undeniably good news. Regardless of what or how you feel about Beyonce as a person (or avatar as some of the great debaters/critics suggest), you cannot deny her significance, nor can you deny her impact on the culture. And by "The culture" I mean all a dem! Seriously, where can we go in the world that at least one human being isn't aware of who she is or what she's done. And if you aren't aware, who gives a damn right? Because homegirl has got the receipts!

As the news spread and our collective hearts filled with joy, it became obvious to me that we, black people, need to have a sit down. A face to face, heartfelt discussion about why some of us feel the need to shit on the joy of others, and then take so much pride in the shitting.

I'm choosing to address us because gahdamn have you seen what's happening?? We are watching our human rights go up in flames in this house called America, and throughout the rest of the world.

Illustration from Gun Show Comic by KC Green

Somehow though, there seems to be a number of us out there who think that any energy or attention not spent publicly addressing the political tragedies unfolding before our eyes, but spent celebrating the joy of another human being's good fortune or happiness means that we are doomed.

I've heard and seen evuhrythang within the past 24 hours:
1) Black people are gullible and always allowing themselves to be manipulated by the media.
  • Let's say this is true. Have you been sharing resources to help us get ✌🏾unmanipulated✌🏾? Is it because Beyonce is a celebrated pop icon and anything pop and celebrity news is fluff that we're being manipulated? Or is it because you can't stand to see people, mostly black women, divert (even if momentarily) from an agenda that YOU think is most important for them to be focusing on? Have you ever self reflected on why your immediate response to collective black girl joy, via Beyonce, is almost always negative and critical? Is it possible that you yourself have been manipulated and conditioned to respond to the joy of black women with disgust and disdain? 🤔
2) As soon as Beyonce does anything y'all lose your minds and your focus. Beyonce is a distraction to keep black people ignorant and placated while the fascists take over!
  • Let me ask you something. Do you hold your breath while you wipe your ass or do you exhale?  Can you walk and chew gum at the same time? Do you dance or do chores as you listen to music or do you sit and watch the track time on your cd player, or watch the wheels of your cassette tape spin as the music plays? Is this 2017? Can you do more than one thing at a time? Can we have a respite from the Drumpshit for two minutes before you whip out your superiority complex to force us back into caring about what you want us to care about when you want us to care about it? You think we don't know that we're sitting in a burning room and EVERYTHING IS NOT OK? We know that. But if good news gives us a moment to breathe deeply and restore ourselves, aren't we more useful for the fight ahead? Even and especially in moments of crisis, it is important that we are able to step away and pour joy, goodness and positivity back into ourselves. That practice keeps us alive. And if Beyonce's pregnancy announcement is that for some of us, then who are you to say other wise. If there's anything that I've learnt in the past two weeks it's that there are tons of things that we take for granted and regard as frivolous. But to someone else somewhere that frivolity could be the difference between life and death, sanity and insanity, tears or a smile.
3) Y'all so dumb! Beyonce don't even know who the fuck y'all are and here y'all are acting like she care bout y'all.
  • LeBron, Steph, O'dell, Migos, Drake, and not nan player on the Man U team don't know you either... Sooooo? 
4) Y'all keep posting capitalist Beyonce's picture but you won't repost a pic of someone you know to support their work.
  • I'm not necessarily mad at this accusation. I mean we can write an entire post on this another day. I may most certainly need to dedicate a post sometime in the future to my thoughts on how we spend black dollars, on black things, with black businesses and hold those businesses to a more strict standard than we do established multimillion dollar corporations who aren't pouring back into our communities. But, again, thats for another day! I also have my beef with capitalism as an oppressive system, and what that means for black folk but right now that ain't got shit to do with me being happy for Beyonce. I can critique Beyonce within the context of capitalism, or disagree with her, but that doesn't take away from me or anyone else having a genuine positive response to a black woman just out here winning at life. But right now? Right now y'all need to take up that beef with your friends and loved ones. It may be fair to say that sometimes we find it easier to openly express positive regard for things and people out of our reach. And whether that is out of fear of rejection, jealousy, envy, or our own personal struggles with self esteem or mental health issues it's definitely something that we'll need to work on collectively. But what irony befalls us here that, we could be looking at this out pouring of love and support for Beyonce as an example of what to do in our personal relationships and how to cheer each other on. 
One of the most influential sisters alive right now is carrying two black lives within her, and they are coming into this world at a time that shakes the most hardened of us to the core. A time where black bodies, talent, culture, contributions, intelligence, art, thoughts - our existence as a whole is devalued. We are often stomped out with little regard for the gaping holes left in the universe when our lives are taken. If we can collectively recognize the power and beauty, in all of us deciding to LIVE FULLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY, with all that that entails at this particular time in history, and allowing our love and will to live to fill the gaping spaces... where is the harm in that?

from www.Beyonce.com

Look. All I'm saying here is Let Black Joy Live. This will be very important as part of a holistic strategy for surviving the next four years, because moments that warrant shared public joy may be forced out of the national awareness.

We need to hold spaces for each other in ways that allow our happiness and bliss to flow unbridled and without judgement. This is an integral aspect to self-care - collective self-care.

I'm not a Beyonce stan, which you probably couldn't tell from this article, but what I do stan for is our freedom to experience joy and happiness collectively. So if you were annoyed by public support for this announcement, and felt the need to shit on people who publicly expressed support, just remember next time that keeping your cynicism and unsolicited opinions to yourself is free.99. No taxes. No fees.

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