Center Black women’s voices.

logo for the Amplify Black voices movement

Center Black women’s voices.

That’s the headline, hot take, and hope.

Having said this, here are some thoughts.

Honestly, there’s too much to unpack here.

The barbarization, caricature, and dehumanization of Black bodies, especially Black women’s bodies.

The exploitation of these bodies as both object and subject, performer and performance, clown and punchline, in the expression of a contemporary grotesque minstrelsy lauded and lionized by peanut galleries as free speech.

The condemnation, destruction, and evisceration of the Black family unit — through the public dissection of its marriage, intimate relations, and dynamics between the involved, consenting individuals — into the single-word alt-righter’s wet dream labels of “alpha”, “beta”, and “cuck”.

The denial of civility, decency, and empathy towards these bodies in the context of autoimmune disease, and living with visible illness, with particular respect to the well-documented historic lenses of eugenics, medical apartheid, and healthcare inequity.

Let’s dig in. There’s this famous study nobody likes to talk about.

It began during the Depression and ended after the Civil Rights movement.

The CDC secretly ran it for 40 years on nearly 400 Black subjects.

25+ died directly. 100 died from complications. Scores of spouses infected. Dozens of kids born with congenital defects. None treated with the cure.

Penicillin. It was known and established before the experiment’s halfway mark as the standard treatment. All deceived instead, given placebos for “bad blood”.

“Impossible! How could this happen in the 70s? Which study was this?!”

The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.

The erasure, marginalization, and immediate critique/selective qualification of historic achievement and consistent Black Excellence.

The predictable chaos blending the surreal into spectacle and making the night and story about everything besides Oracene and her daughters.

The curious media exclusion of spotlights on the Black community’s tradition of internal conflict resolution, as enacted by luminaries including Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry, Sean Combs and Samuel L. Jackson, following the onscreen altercation.

More than anything, the perennial failure to #protectblackwomen.

The irony of Rock having produced the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize-winning documentary Good Hair (2009, HBO Films), is not lost on me.

There’s no thesis or theme. I leave with more questions and no answers.

Center Black women’s voices. I want to read your responses and stories.

I am reminded in closing, of the indelible words of Jesse Williams, on 26 June 2016 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, upon receiving the 2016 BET Awards Humanitarian Award:

“For the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.”

I remain in awe of you. You are magic. Love and light. Peace, Queens.

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SF Ali (Farooq)

SF Ali (Farooq)

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Author, BROWN GRASS | CEO/EIC, PERENNIAL MILLENNIAL. Earned 3 STEM degrees in 5 years. Advised Fortune 500 C-suites. Medium’s resident cheerleader since 2015.