Yesterday, Black Twitter lost its entire and collective mind after hearing that a beautiful, accomplished, and S-I-N-G-L-E 24-year-old black woman spent a weekend partying in Miami, in which she casually tolerated being worshipped by a visibly enamored white guy. If you don’t spend as much time on Twitter as I and other masochists do (and God bless you for that very commendable life choice), you may have missed yesterday’s trending topic regarding hip-hop’s reigning hot girl, Megan Thee Stallion, who was filmed being briefly canoodled by one of hip-hop’s (many) resident white boy hangers-on, G-Eazy. The viral conversation that dominated the platform in response prompted Megan to issue a clarification on Tuesday morning:
That a 14-second clip of a couple of twenty-somethings turning up on Super Bowl weekend was a trending topic on a global news micro-site is insane enough, but Black Twitter’s reaction—nicely captured in tens of thousands of tweets and retweets—took it over the top.
When I say “lost its mind,” I mean making tongue-in-cheek charges that this twenty-something black girl is ruining Black History Month, the not-so-tongue-in-cheek accusations from dusty men that she is obviously “for the streets,” and downright nasty comparisons of her to a slave on the auction block (this last one from a straight black woman).
Seriously. What the hell, y’all.
Black women are frequently relegated by others into roles we do or don’t consent to: the mule, the nurturer who never needs nurturing, the angry black woman, the fetish. But the combination of Twitter’s stan culture and society’s good old-fashioned misogyny has created an even more disturbing dynamic where individual black women have become stand-ins for everyone’s fantasies, obsessions, and insecurities—whether in the form of a sassy GIF or a flattened one-dimensional idea of what we should do with our bodies, time, and flirtations.
Personally, I believe yesterday’s shenanigans reveal a lot more about the people commenting—and our community as a whole—than they do Megan. Specifically, the “jokes” reveal very uncomfortable truths about our fascination with whiteness and white men, and how any of the latter’s interactions with black women make us feel about ourselves.
Why else would straight black men be congratulating a random white rapper for ‘bagging’ Megan? Why else would straight black women be tweeting about how little an imagined white man could please them in bed? Why else would a black man who is married to a white woman join the dogpiling on Megan for betraying her race (but only as a joke, of course)? Why else, if not for their own insecurities and hang-ups?
Those hang-ups are bigger than Megan—and in fact, outside of her completely. A safer place to interrogate them might be a therapist’s office or the interracial categories on your chosen porn-streaming service. In the meantime, if you feel tempted to question another black woman’s flirtations as if they are impacting your personal well-being, please repeat this to yourself again and again (h/t @so_treu on Twitter): “Black women’s sexuality is not communal property”.
And then, get some business of your own to mind.