Thought for the Week:
“Selling out is usually more a matter of buying in.
Sell out, and you’re really buying into someone else’s system of values, rules, and rewards.”
Question for the Week:
- What wouldn’t you do for money?
Okay, so I already know some folks are about to come for me. They will take one look at the featured image and the title of this blog post and assume I must be just another bitter old hater who’s salty about no longer being able to wear a leather bustier. Truthfully, I’ve never worn a bustier and probably couldn’t have pulled it off even at Meg the Stallion’s age. Yes, I look like I’m having a seizure when I twerk, and my knees snap, crackle, and pop with any attempt at “thot shit,” but believe it or not, it would never be my aim to tear down another Black woman. To the contrary, it is always my aim to educate, mentor, encourage, and uplift Black women, which sometimes means saying the unpopular thing.
When it comes to certain female artists like Meg, Cardi B, W.A.P. (What about Pride?) Nicki Minaj, or Beyonce, Idolatry Much? Beyonce’ and the Lemonade Stand our community seems to have placed metaphoric police tape around anything that they do. Sometimes, we can plainly see that something unfavorable has happened, but because they are roped off by this Black wall of silence, anyone who dares come close to inspection or critique, seems to instantly commit a crime against the culture. You can lose your Black card quick real these days even when you have the best of intentions, just ask Monique.
Now, I haven’t always been Team Monique Hall Pass Revoked, but folks came for her stance on the public use of bonnets like they had personal stock in satin! Don’t get me wrong, I live in my bonnet almost exclusively when I’m at home, but fighting for the right to wear it while boarding a Jet Blue flight, would never be a hill I’d die on.
The point is, though we’ve always been resistant to the correction of our elders, there was a time when we would at least listen quietly, nod in silence, and respond “yes ma’am” before we walked off to talk trash under our breath. These days, an elder can’t offer the slightest critique without having her and her housecoat dragged all over Twitter. Perhaps I’m next, but Auntie CC still has an obligation to help our young sister Queens go higher. To that end, I would tell Meg the Stallion and any other young woman of color and influence to take a closer look at the choices they make when securing the bag. If what you choose to do deposits into your account, but withdraws from your community, it might not be worth it.
For the record, I take no issue with Meg the Stallion, also known as Megan Pete. Ms. Pete is a proud graduate of one of our illustrious HBCUs, Texas Southern University. She is a beautiful, strong, and talented young woman who plans to use her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health Administration to open an assisted living facility. As a social worker, I can only appreciate a Black woman desiring to assist the most vulnerable members of our community, and I respect her ultimate desire to make her mother proud. Yes, I do think her lyrics are incredibly hypersexual and it would be nice if we could hear more about her desire to serve than her body-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody…. but I still don’t take anything away from her as a woman. But Meg….we gotta talk about this Popeyes situation.
Yes, I like fried chicken. You might even catch me one day parked in the Popeyes parking lot, trying not to burn my tongue on a piping hot thigh. But I am also aware that Black people are not the only people who enjoy fried chicken. You don’t have to look far, especially in Mississippi where I live, to find some cornbread fed, hammock eating, crawfish head sucking, biscuit baking, White people standing in line for a Popeye’s chicken sandwich too! But apparently, Popeye’s hasn’t gotten that memo because they refuse to stop pandering to Black people as if there’s nothing they need to do other than drop a rap beat and display a shaking ass to get us through the door.
We all know that Black people eating chicken is a racist stereotype that has persisted since slavery. Chicken is a practical source of protein that has always been accessible, easy to raise, less expensive than beef or seafood, and able to be eaten even without the luxury of plates and silverware, which were generally unavailable to a working slave community. Though most “masters” were quick to request and eager to consume the fried chicken prepared by their house slaves, the food was still negatively and almost exclusively associated with Black people, and was deemed “dirty” because of its ability to be eaten with the hands. In the infamous and toxically racist 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which tells the story of the “noble” and “brave” founders of the Klu Klux Klan who saved all White people from us primal and evil Black “animals,” the stereotype of the unintelligent, fried chicken eating coon was solidified and instantly gained worldwide traction.
And since then, if you want to belittle or demean a Black person, throwing in a fried chicken reference will usually do the trick.
Now, there could be an argument for openly rebuking this stereotype and taking back our right to eat chicken in peace. The fact is, it’s simply tasty AF! A lot of us are tired of enjoying our wings in secret shame. We’re sick of feeling like we got caught stealing from petty cash whenever Karen catches us sucking the marrow out of a demolished chicken bone at work.
I might have even given Meg credit for protecting our right to get greasy if she was selling her own fried chicken and had trademarked “Hottie Sauce” exclusively for her own benefit. But, Popeyes paying Meg to exploit her body, play into the hypersexualization of Black women, and use her music, which they likely don’t respect or appreciate, to sell more chicken is a straight pimp move. And personally, I don’t like seeing our Texas Southern educated Queen strutted around like a two dollar harlot. Of course, I realize that Meg the Stallion is an adult who is free to make her own choices, but when what you choose to do reinforces a racist and stereotypical narrative about the community that made you famous… what choice are you making exactly?
Here’s a news flash Popeye’s, as much as I personally enjoy a good piece of chicken, all Black people do not like it! There are vegetarian and vegan Black people that would gag at the thought of eating fried chicken. Many of us are plant-based and health conscious. A lot of us like fruit, and hummus, and kale, and protein shakes, and granola bars yet something tells me Nature Valley wouldn’t pay Meg the Stallion to stick her tongue out in any of their commercials.
When are we going to wake up and start recognizing when people are not only being racist, but using that racism for their benefit? Meg singing “Thot sh**” in a Popeyes ad is selling out our diversity and the totality of who we are as a people. It buys into the idea that we are predictable and monolithic and are easily moved by all things ratchet. Participating in an intentionally produced coon show that reduces your entire community down to tits, ass, rap, and fried chicken is not a good look for an HBCU graduate and is an even worse look for our community.
I know it’s tempting to just take the money and dip, but never forget the words of our ancestors who warned that “all money ain’t good money.” Use your power and influence to do things that our ancestors couldn’t do like be openly proud, walk with grace and dignity, display intelligence, live healthfully, and take ownership of their bodies. Choose to tell this world the WHOLE story about who we are and represent more for the Black women society doesn’t believe exists. You can gain the whole world, but your integrity as a Black woman should never be for sale. We are worthy of having money AND respect simultaneously because even without the chicken, Black women have always had the sauce.
- Scripture for the Week:
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
1 Timothy 6:10