What Steve Harvey did in the Miss Universe pageant was funny, hilarious to me. Social media of course exploded at his Sunday evening blunder. This morning, a Texas grand jury decided not to indict anyone in the death of Sandra Bland. Her death was tragic, and this latest injustice angered me.
On social media, I saw a couple of posts sharing Sandy’s story with this sentiment “yall laughing about Steve Harvey, but what about Sandra?!” I rolled my eyes. My argument is this, I (we as black people) can focus on more than one thing at a time.
The media’s silence on Sandra and the victims of Daniel Holtzclaw is certainly an issue and we as consumers of media should address that. But as individuals, we have no right to attack our brothers and sisters for having the nerve to search for a laugh or some relief in chronic tragedy.
Sandra Bland’s story hits home to me because of the similarities between her and myself. A 20 something year old black woman with dreads who has the nerve to speak out against injustice and forgot to use her turn signal and that terrifies me. The only difference between Sandra and I is that I’ve been fortunate to interact with (mostly) respectful cops and have never been in police custody.
I don’t know Sandra personally, but I think that she would want us to continue to have fun and smile instead of walking around with our fists raised, miserable and refusing to enjoy life 24/7. If I am a victim of police brutality or violence, my funeral better be the party of the century. I’m talking a DJ, disco ball, confetti, twerking, line dancing, a buffet, an open bar and all the trees you can smoke. (Yall better cry and climb on top of the casket at the visitation though. I WANT DRAMA. )
Since I’m nervous every time I drive my Volkswagen Beetle and I’m terrified every time a cop passes me, I think I have the right to laugh when something is funny. Laughter is relief from a very dark world. Laughter is good medicine and if we have something to laugh at, we are brought together. It’s even better if it’s at Steve Harvey’s expense (Joking. I love Steve).
Something funny on Facebook may be the only time I interact with some of my white friends because they may not be able to relate to the story I post about Sandra Bland, or they may just want to learn and choose not comment. It is important to me to interact with them and this week, a cat falling off of a table may be the source of that.
Laughing at James Wright’s review of Patti’s pies and traveling to the Walmart in the next state to purchase two myself was fun. We met up at my homegirl’s house and made our own Instagram/snapchats about Patti Labelle’s amazing pies. Everyone in the room was black, college educated and conscious. But we sang Patti Labelle at the top of our lungs while eating pie that night. It was a Wednesday so we also watched Empire.
You may have watched a documentary on Fred Hampton that night and ate a pie from the local black owned bakery while wearing and 12 pound ankh around your neck and burning incense, that doesn’t mean you are better than us.
Friday night I went to the club with one of my homegirls, had too many cranberry and vodkas and rapped along to Lil Wayne and Boosie. I had a trying week at work and needed to wind down. Saturday morning, I went to Books and Breakfast; a program I believe will grow into something reminiscent of the Black Panther’s Free Breakfast program. It was started in Ferguson as a response to the murder of Mike Brown. We talked about Rosa Parks and the organizing strategies used in the resulting Bus boycott.
I can do both. I can have fun. I can be conscious and positively impact my community as well. God blessed us with the mental capacity (and swag) to do both. He knew we’d need it as brown people in a system of white supremacy.
I write this as a black woman whose every activity is policed and politicized. From my hair style, to the music I listen to, car I drive and who I chose to be in a relationship with, there will be a meme made about my personal choices attacking ALL black women and posted on social media. It’s exhausting. I want someone to get to know ME before forming an opinion about my character based on the fact I don’t cook or that I have natural hair or that I’m waiting until marriage. I want to be able to twerk to Webbie and not be called a ‘thot’. I want to enjoy the benefits of this corporate job and not be called a sell-out.
I want all yall niggas to have several seats.
A few weeks ago, I walked by the casket of a guy I grew up with, a victim to gun violence. This summer I kneeled by a young black boy who had just got shot a couple of doors down from my house before I knew the bullets were done flying. Someone I looked up to was murdered on my birthday a couple of years ago and they still don’t know who killed her.
So yes, I’m going to laugh at Steve Harvey and James Wright. I’m going to watch Empire, Scandal, HTGAWM and The Wiz over and over and over. I’m going to laugh as my friends send me memes of Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin beef. I’m gon smoke a little something and drink too on Friday night, because I’m not going to cry more than I laugh.
Have the nerve to enjoy the good times because the bad times are easier to find and happen more often. Be too busy enjoying YOUR OWN life to form an opinion about anybody else’s. Be authentically and unapologetically you. Enjoy whatever the hell you want to enjoy. Value balance. Play as much as you work. Cry if you need to but be sure and find a laugh as well. Keep saying their names. Keep saying Sandra. Keep saying Trayvon. Mike. Oscar. John. Tamir. Rekia. Alicia. Gyasi. Jamaal. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than for finding some relief!
AND Tell ‘em I said kiss the south side of my black…