I woke up to the news that Fredo Santana, a rapper of the Chicago Drill scene, passed. News of his untimely death broke in the hours preceding the Woman’s March. Though trending in the early hours of Saturday morning by the time the clock struck twelve noon, news of the deceased black man had folded into oblivion replaced by the hashtags of the Women’s March taking place in various cities across the United States. The scenario, blacks becoming invisible to ensure the centrality of whiteness, remains a recurring fate blacks experience globally.
Despite the pervasive feminist agenda that haunts the contemporary climate, Santana, a black man, is far more important to me than any Women’s March can ever be—simply because his experience is directly linked to mine and our ancestors. As a being of black female form, on any given day or moment, I have far more in common with a black man than any white or non-black “woman of color.” Though yielding their differences, the black man and black woman endure daily testimonies of displacement and systemic abuse–both subject to a persistent undervaluing of black people in life and death.
The events of this morning prove an unintentional illustration as to why I, a black “woman,” refused to attend today’s Women’s March. To attend today’s march is to choose gender over race, and because my hue is sun-kissed— this choice is a fatal one. To march for women is similar to a march to the gallows where my collective self is fatally raised like a curtain to the headlining act of white supremacy.
Like most children during their youth, I enjoyed fairly tales. I especially enjoyed Cinderella. In the age-old tale, a poor girl becomes subject to the misfortune of an evil stepmother and wicked step-daughters after her father’s untimely death. She goes from rags to riches when she meets a wealthy prince and lives “happily ever after.” The film is overtly a “feel good” moment for the naive gaze, preparing the innocent for a lifetime of enchantment, ie material and upward mobility—attributes that do nothing to negate the affects of blackness in an anti-black climate. Therefore, Cinderella is foreshadow to those who would grow-up and be women—illustrating the various paths that affect you regardless of money, education, beauty, moral compass, or skill.
To the black female body, the white woman is the evil stepmother, the evil step-sisters easily embodied by other non-black persons of color, that seek to convince the black female form of her inferiority to engender a pseudo superiority. These dynamic, although illustrated in a later version of the fairy tale starring singer Brandy as Cinderella and superstar Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother, fail to resonant with viewers seeking to escape reality with fictive feel good moments that mirror the very detriment of daily life.
The version of Cinderella starring Brandy and the late Whitney Houston, mirrors the current wave of feminism which appears to retell a tale of white female privilege with black faces.
The result is predictably violent—displacing black bodies in the white female work to supremacy does virtually nothing to negate the moral of the tale. My conscious gaze views this Cinderella differently—as this attempt of assimilation—subliminally illustrates ambush. Particularly, Cinderella’s (Brandy) relationship with an Asian prince, symbolizes those “of color” as mirroring the motives of whites, namely their collaborative ambush of black communities throughout the United States, Africa and the West Indies.
The Woman’s March illustrates a similar ambush, in which the black female body— a force reduced to a bridge to which the white woman crosses to the other side of privilege—black female entry obliterated by a white-only sign perhaps even more present in its physical absence. Yes, I am asserting that in 2018 a white only sign hovers over womanhood and each and every “wave” of feminism.
Although ‘wave” preceded “feminism” to mark its reinvention, the only “wave” I have ever seen is the wave of a fair-weather friend.
The black woman is the fair-weather friend of feminism, called on when they a need a chair to rest on, or a cheerleader to stand in the rain and cheer while they dance in victory.
To March for woman is forget that the “women’s college” did not have the black female body in mind in their conception. To march for woman is to forget that all those that march today are not marching for Saartje Baartman, Henrietta Lacks, Ruby McCollum, Recy Taylor, Betty Jean Owens, Fanny Lou Hamer, Tawana Brawley, or any of the black female bodies across the diaspora—they are marching for the Hilary Clinton’s and Melania Trump’s, women that in their worst moment are called or perhaps even treated like b*tches, but will never endure the systemic suffocation of blackness.
To march for “woman” is to render Fredo Santana “another black rapper who died by the same thing he rapped about,” not a black man, someone’s father, son, brother, friend, nurtured for self-destruction not self-determination. To march for women is to render “Oh, you’re mighty smart for a woman,” in the same light as “Nigger-bitch,” to deem the Central Park jogger a victim of rape and Tawana Brawley a liar, to remember Elizabeth Smart but forget the abducted black girls in Nigeria, DC, and throughout the diaspora.
I refuse to attend the Woman’s March because I, a being of black female form, am not Cinderella. There is no glass slipper, and no prince coming to whisk me away from evil–only the contemporary white man who wishes to whisk me into a legal slavery and contractual concubine. Cinderella, like feminism, is for little white girls or even non-black women of color who recruit the black female body as a sort of fairy godmother who makes their wishes come true.
I want to specify that I have no desire to be recognized as “woman,” or be “Cinderella”—as both present a reduction to the prodigious existence of the black female form. The black female form precedes the concept of woman, and thus is only erased in her fictive inclusion.
Furthermore, feminism does not fit me because my skin is black. My troubles are not because I am a woman, but because in the world’s eyes, I am not one.
But to those who gloat in my so-called exclusion I ask:
Why fight to be a “woman” when I am a Queen?
Rest in peace to Fredo Santana, and the countless other black bodies who transitioned in the first weeks of this new year. May you find comfort and inspiration in the arms of our ancestors.
Black Power ❤