The difference by which men and women are treated in America can be discouraging sometimes. We have seen this notion play out far too often in society. The 2016 presidential election is the perfect example. Hilary Clinton lost because of an email server “scandal” and Trump won despite the many questionable and scandalous things he’s done and said.
Needless to say, men get away with things that women just cannot. It’s unfair, for sure, but it is also an interesting narrative about societal norms in a country that has a history of controversial actions.
Recently, singer Chrisette Michele took to social media to express her disappointment in the black community. She was invited to sing at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration back in January of this year and to say that her fans, and according to her family, were upset is an understatement. I, for one, couldn’t comprehend her move as well. It confused me and made me feel a certain way about the singer. Was she being an opportunist? Did she really support the man who has shown time and time again that he’s unfit to lead this country? Or did she genuinely believe that her presence at a very white, very elite and very debatable celebration of the next president of the United States was a way to “bridge the gap.” Regardless of her reasoning, it didn’t sit well with me.
However, was her involvement in Trump’s inauguration enough of a reason for me to stop listening to her music and cast her off as a sellout? Not necessarily. It was, however, enough for other black folks. Chrisette had a message for those who played a role in her demise once she finally returned to Instagram on Friday, October 27th, after a long break from the platform.
“If social media wanted to pull me down, I guess they succeeded as it pertains to Capitol & Caroline records… I went from someone being revered and loved to facing putting out an album in the worst climate of my musical career… How hard can you try to break someone? How hard can you try to ruin someone? How much hate do you need to spew to show me you want to see my demise?”
She also had an encouraging message for Trump Supporter and gospel singer Tina Campbell, who has also experienced an ousting by the black community.
“Adults do this thing I’d like to call “choice shaming.” It mimics what children do with bullying. It causes a silencing that mutes the people who have made great contributions.”
There is a lot of “woe is me” going on there. I am of the school of thought that you have to realize your actions will always garner consequences, and you have to take responsibility for those actions and deal with said consequences. Chrisette is putting all the blame for being dropped from her label, having suicidal thoughts, miscarrying and more, on other people and not acknowledging that it was ultimately her choice to sing for Trump that made her lose so much. Nonetheless, although she deserved to be chastised by her people for what she did, there are male members of this community that have done far worse but still reap the benefits of their celebrity.
When it comes down to it, the black community is definitely in need of a shift in priorities as far as what we accept from our male and female influencers. We will blackball a black woman because of a misuse of her gifts but refuse to call out and or stop supporting the black men who do harm to members of our community. This is a problem. Yes, I am talking about Chris Brown. Yes, I am referring to R. Kelly, and yes, I am talking about the host of other black male entertainers who have ever hit a black woman, raped a black woman or said things about black women that perpetuate the worst stereotypes about who we are.
I do not think that Chrisette singing at Trump’s inauguration is half as bad as Campbell not only voting for him and defending her choice, but also claiming mutual Christian values as the reason for doing so. But in the grand scheme of things, neither of these singers has done anything as bad as what too many men do every single day.
Black women have a powerful role in our community. We are the gatekeepers. Thus, we have the power to change the conversation about the way men treat us; about what they get away with. But for some reason, we would rather put our energy into destroying women who can recover from the ill decisions they’ve made instead of bringing an end to the men who continue to flourish despite the hurtful actions and behaviors they display toward us.
We need to take a long hard look at the way we view men and women within our community. How we view men period. We will call out a white man for the things he’s done and demand that he be disciplined, but when it comes to our own, the whole stigma of not “coming for your own” outweighs the atrocities they commit.
Chrisette Michele, Tina Campbell, and other black Trump supporters have a lot of soul searching to do. For them to defend any choice they make that’s in favor of Trump and or his administration is disconcerting, to say the least. But the black community also has some soul searching to do.
In my book, peeing on and exploiting a minor, beating a woman’s ass in the front seat of a rented luxury car, sexually assaulting them and bragging about it in lyrics does the same things as Trump’s policies and agenda – degrade black women and puts us in danger.