Don’t Flatter Yourself, Katy Perry.

Bon Appétit art, Katy PerryLet’s talk about Katy Perry’s ridiculous new video for Bon Appétit. I’ll be honest, the song it kind of catchy. But the video, though. It’s horrendous. It’s gross, and it’s thrown together in seriously poor taste.

But most of all, the subtext is so fucking played out. The whole men of color being characterized as insatiable (shit, cannibals in this case) for white women trope is ridiculously stereotypical, but it, coupled (in this case) with hip-hop artists and strip clubs (you know, the basic white woman’s guide to Black men) in the video is just…wack.

It’s no secret that I have no chill when it comes to calling out white women for appropriating our shit (you know, naming their Black babies after influential Black folks with whom they have no meaningful cultural references, etc.). As usual, I digress.

Scene from D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation”

But this extra layer that Katy Perry has added in Bon Appétit brings to mind images of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915), where Black men are portrayed as mindless, psychotic animal-like predators, stalking and chasing after white women. And the women are terrified.

But in her video, Katy seems to be loving it. You know the drill, white feminism — weak (failed) attempts at flipping the narrative, or something. Spare me.

Now, it’s hard to tell of there are white men included among the chefs literally mangling, cutting and cooking Katy while she writhes in pleasure, but all that I noticed were the Black and brown hands that the director chose to focus on. Oh, and Korean chef Roy Choi is thrown in, too, for good measure. And the whole thing bothers the fuck out of me.

Spare me with the sexual liberation and sex positive justifications for this mess. The fact of the matter is that not only are we tired of your appropriation (because you look foolish, Katy), but portraying men of color as cannibals, starving and famished for your basic ass is too much. We’ve seen that story before, and we’re tired of it. Also, don’t flatter yourself. You’re basic. And so transparent.

Take a look at this fuckery. Or don’t.

My Prom from Hell.

Check the Twitter thread. The night (in 1998) consisted of fuckboys (or, my boyfriend at the time who, for unknown reasons wouldn’t go to prom with me, and seemed unfazed when I told him about the resulting debacle that I had experienced), presumptuous men, bad judgment, and lucky stars.

It was wild. And all things considered, I was very fortunate that it didn’t end worse for me. Read: sexual assault.

No Pain, No Gain?

No Pain, No GainNo Pain, No Gain is one of those songs that reminds me of a bunch of older aunties sitting around the kitchen table — smoking cigarettes, drinking wine, playing spades and talking shit (and lamenting) about men.

Betty Wright strikes me as one of those aunties, waxing poetic about her experiences with men — schooling us young girls on what (and what not) to do to keep one.

Basically, No Pain, No Gain reads as a relationship manual of sorts, filled with some gems, but if I’m keeping it real, a whole lot of codependent encouragement and antiquated space junk.

Nonetheless, it’s one of those classics to which young (-ish) folks probably just sing along, without really paying attention to the lyrics — and just how problematic they are. And this song is problematic as hell.

Let’s break it down (in no particular order or fashion).

First of all, the name of the song. No Pain, No Gain. Why does love have to hurt, though? Is it a prerequisite? Am I too naive to think that love can be smooth — think The Isley Brothers’ Smooth Sailing (even if that has been counter to my experiences)? But seriously, I should expect a certain amount of necessary pain — think Stevie Wonder’s
Ordinary Pain — as requisite to come away with anything meaningful?

“Anything worth havin’ at all / Is worth workin’ for and waitin’ for” 

Okay, I can get with that. Love is a verb, and all that. Relationships take effort. And if it it’s worth anything to you, you’ve got to be willing to put in some work. And patience. Oh, patience. I accept that.

But she goes on with: In order to be something / You got to go through somethingwhich begs the question — go through what? I’ve been in bad relationships. Relationships that have caused me to question my worth. And to be honest, mantras like that which Betty Wright espouses would play in my head as I contemplated why I would subject myself to (and make excuses for) the bullshit I experienced.

The more I sit with the faux knowledge that Betty Wright spits, the more glaring just how problematic the song becomes.

“We’re all entitled to make a mistake /  We got to prepare for some heartbreak / I was earnin’ my man, while I was learnin’ my man / Something you young girls might not understand”

Earning my man? Learning is one thing, but earning? The whole concept of earning in a relationship doesn’t sit well with me. Shouldn’t basic things like respect, trust, etc., be given freely? Not everything in a relationship need be earned (and by extension, commodified). And frankly, Auntie Betty makes no mention about earning me (save for the flowers and candy and all kinds of gifts that could perhaps be tokens to ease his guilty conscience). And, the tone deaf narrative about selfless sacrifice for a man is played out. But, I digress.

“If it weren’t for the trials we’ve been through / I’d never have the courage to come back to you”

Okay, so…what the fuck happened in the relationship from the get go that would prepare me to be courageous enough to take his dumb ass back after he does God knows what in the future?

“But love is a flower that needs the sun and the rain / A little bit of pleasure’s worth a whole lot of pain”

Heartache and anguish for just a little bit of pleasure? So, as I cry myself to sleep, I should just think about the good times, no matter how few and far between they may have been?

“If you learn this secret, how to forgive / A longer and better life you’ll live”

So, my heart is breaking after my man has done some unforgivable shit, but I should think about the good times, and forgive him?

All of this just seems wrong. And counter to all of my sensibilities.

Maya Angelou once wrote, “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” So there’s that. That advice seems so much better and gentler for the heart. Sorry, Auntie Betty.

Petty on Reserve.

Appropriation
Appropriation. | Honestly, I don’t know who to credit for this image, but I don’t own it. Very fitting, though.

So in my post yesterday, I mentioned that it has become apparent to me that I can no longer unleash my petty on my ex (no matter how much the feels and bitterness overcome me). I have to reserve my petty for my blog. But I digress.

As I was reading earlier, I came across this article. It was amusing to me, because it slightly echoes my sentiments from last night’s post. I was so tempted to post this article to my Facebook, but I’m not into petty subliminal messages.

We, The Nigerians, Do Not Accept Rachel Dolezal’s New Name | Awesomely Luvvie

This is the 4th time I am writing about Rachel Dolezal the Undercover Sista on this site. And each time, I want to track her down and slap her in the face with a stack of paper printed with my words in 50 point font. Rachel Dolezal is the person …

This quote tickled me: “Rachel the Appropriation Aristocrat then had a son and named him Langston Attickus, which has to go down as one of the Blackest names in history. That name is so Black that it comes with a Jazz band. As in, the boy probably sang the Blues before he could walk.”

Okay, I need to stop. No, my ex’s BM isn’t as delusional as Rachel Dolezal (well, I don’t know her, but I give my ex the benefit of the doubt), but this whole concept of a white woman naming her Black son some uber Blackity Black, powerful name kind of mirrors what I ranted about in my previous post about that whole situation.

Appropriating our shit is never cool. No matter who says it’s okay. You don’t get cool points for it — in fact, the Ancestors likely don’t find it amusing.

On another note, it’s Ash Wednesday, and we’re supposed to give something up. I resolved to give up some of my petty tendencies. I’m going to seriously try. I’ll start tomorrow.

Privilege to be Petty.

So the other day, I sent my ex a very blunt and (and in his view petty) text Petty textmessage waxing poetic about how how disrespectful of him it was to encourage and allow the random, white, broad (who he barely knew) to name the child he knocked her up with (not only the name we discussed naming our hypothetical future child), but the name of a very influential Black legend. I carefully chose my words, and articulated my thoughts as candidly and eloquently as possible. That didn’t matter, I suppose.

Now, I know it may seem petty, but I promise that there was some very specific context that motivated me to send it (and to that end, had me in my feelings — nearly 4 years after the fact).

In any case.

He called me today, understandably perturbed by my text the other evening. I won’t get into the specifics of our conversation, but he did say one thing that really stuck out to me.

He commented that while actions speak louder than words (something that I pointed out when he accused me of having a vendetta out for him — which I truthfully denied, as my actions, despite his damn near unforgivable deed, have shown that I have gone out of my way to remain friends with him), texting is, indeed, an action; not just a static stream of words or consciousness (as I suggested).

Moreover, as the wise Dr. Angelou pointed out, “I‘ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Down the line will he remember these petty text messages? Likely not, but he’ll remember how they made him feel. And, as an INFJ, feeling is certainly action oriented to me.

I digress.

While I defended expressing my thoughts, he pointed out that the ability to send a text message — a free and open line of communication, without filter or warning  — is a privilege. And he was right.

It took a minute for it to really accept that (because frankly, the sentiment reeks of a bit of self-aggrandizing, but I digress), but it’s true. He continued that if I was unable to stop persecuting him for the past (and in that vein, questioning his Blackness and all the other baggage that usually comes along with my random, unexpected rants), it may be better that we not communicate.

That hurts. But, I guess it gives me a lot to think about.

Side note: I sent the text Sunday evening. I had a dream that evening that he reached out to me and texted that I should stop the “Mrs. Grieving” act. The dream was bizarre, mainly because I am not a Mrs., but it dawned on me that I likely still am grieving. And it’s not an act.

Lesson: Save it for the blog.