By La’KEISHA GRAY-SEWELL
When the fabric of your everyday work is woven with the heartbreaking, tragic outcomes of the all too common beef between girls, well then you tend to find it challenging to dismiss verbal assaults between two very public and influential Black women as merely an industry byproduct.
If they didn’t know before, just about anyone with an internet connection and an ear to the social media streets has learned who Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj are… or at least that they don’t like one another. In fact, if one was not familiar with their chosen career paths, the pop culture chatter might have one believe that someone had literally been physically assaulted, murdered, and decapitated. Especially when most of the related conversation is violent, inspiring, even, a reference to the homicide investigative-style television series, The First 48.
Still, it’s all been chalked up to fun and games… just a little lyrical wordplay between two rap artists. Nothing to see here. Just classic battle rap.
Yet perhaps if the names and lives of Myzhane Flourney, ShaMichael Manuel, Amy Joyner, Endia Martin, or De’Kayla Dansberry were a fabric of more people’s everyday consciousness, there would be less applauding the spectacle of Black women verbally assaulting one another for all the world to hear, and more concern about the impact on real life child’s play.
Some of us are all too familiar with the very real funeral processions, real flowers, real mourning for the too early dead lives of Black girls on the other side of loud arguments, instigating peers, and bruised egos. A few of the girls named above can tell you about the ugly truth of girl fights… but some of them cannot. They are no longer here. Beaten. Stabbed. Shot… to death. Following an exchange of words.
I personally find it a bit perplexing that there is a measurable contingency of people (Black women specifically) who are irritated by those of us who live with this devastating truth at our center and therefore have raised flags on the gleeful adulation over glorified interpersonal girl conflict. There seems to be a compulsive addiction to Black girl drama… sadly even Black women/girls are here for it. It is normalized as acceptable, even expected. All this with complete disregard to what we know has been bared out by research and empirical evidence: that celebrities and media influence teens as strongly as peers and parents.
I’ll save the judging for others who find their validity in that lane. I’m neither angry nor berating anyone who disagrees with my stance. My only goal is that if we clap for bad girl behavior, we take some time to find a young impressionable vessel and ask her perspective of the all too accessible “rap beefs.” See how far she can separate fantasy from real life. Be sure to follow up and ask her how she responds to interpersonal conflict? What she would do if she were in the shoes of your latest rap heroine?
And in hopes that it is not too much to ask, can we consider that just maybe the energy we give to this low frequency behavior does indeed lend to the vibration of society.
Then too, I remember when for me there was a limit to the number of words exchanged before contact was made… especially those fighting words. Beyond that, though, hatred and violent speech sends the same message whether from a politician or a rapper. Someone is listening. Someone is emboldened to enact the sentiments.
And it’s never a game.
No, #BlackGirlMagic is not about being perfect and righteous at all times. But what it is about is setting the intention to be better. That’s the game I want us all to win. Get better. Be better.
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La’Keisha Gray-Sewell is a nationally-recognized urban girls advocate, media literacy expert and speaker. As the founder of Girls Like Me Project, Inc., she delivers transformative programs and trainings that empower girls to navigate beyond stereotypes and become global legacy builders. La’Keisha’s most fulfilling life assignment is wife and mommy of four (two humans and two furry babies). This piece appeared first on the Girls Like Me blog.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.