Yet again, negative press about African American women has taken center stage. Earlier this week, a less than positive post by rapper Slim Thug, created a global internet dialogue about the relationship between black men and women. The Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN, a coalition of women of all ages and races committed to supporting, promoting and defending the balanced, positive portrayal of women in entertainment and in society,) has responded with an open letter to all black men. You can read it in its entirety below.
“It has pained us to witness the negative portrayal that has taken place with respect to Black women over the last decade. However, the most recent national dialogue, disrespect and generalizations that have permeated our culture and mainstream media have especially stung because they were directed to us, in this instance, by our own brothers.
In our culture, and in all cultures, it is no secret that some of those characterizations do exist. The claim that Black women, at times, can be unsupportive, difficult and impossible to please may be the case for some. However, it is unfortunate that some of you have not yet encountered the overwhelming majority of us that are driven, brilliant, successful and completely capable of being our own provider.
These women are shrewd, and yes, do maintain high standards for how they would like to be treated. This is not out of conceit, however, but is instead a necessary act of self-love and self preservation. Forced to compete in a male dominated world, and in many cases, occupations, these same women reserve their tenderness for those most special to them and are more than willing to stand by the ones they love. For this reason, “being down for [their] man” as some suggest, is simply par for the course.
Almost daily, whether through the media, our colleagues at work or just in our neighborhoods, Black women are told they are not good enough. Yet, we are the backbone of the Black family, raise strong Black men and hold our men down when no one else would. You see, Black women are and will continue to be the most loyal, faithful and loving people on the planet. The only difference is that we will no longer tolerate disrespect, unreasonable double-standards and a relationship that is not based in reciprocity. The same unconditional love and show of care that you seek in us…we also seek in you.
These negative views of some Black women have fed into the stereotypes of Black women as a whole and have left us to consistently battle….alone. Black men, your comments play a deeper role in the perpetuation of systemic and internalized racism and sexism that already exists. Your statements extend power to these negative images. The problem with generalizations is that the moment we invest in them we stop being hopeful, we stop being open, and we stop growing.
While we certainly recognize with no doubt that not all Black men feel this way, we are asking that for those who do, that you think before you speak again about Black women. We represent your mothers, your sisters and your daughters. We are the product of a long lifeline of Black women that poured every ounce of their lives into making you the successful men you have become. We are your partner, not your adversary and our wish is for us to repair the communication, respect and trust that has been broken.
We love you unconditionally, behind closed doors and in public. Let’s begin the rebuilding process for our sons, our daughters and future generations to come. The first step, we ask you to join us on WEEN Radio’s “The Pink Suite” Tuesday, June 15 at 9pm EST to have an open discussion (www.weenonline.org).”
Make sure you join us on Tuesday to share your opinions live on WEEN Radio’s “The Pink Suite”.