I’ll make this a short and sweet post, because I have little interest in discussing Tory Lanez or Meg Thee Stallion any more than I already have. Nevertheless, their contentious union betrays an important lesson for young black people.
I was a sophomore in college when the Rihanna-Chris Brown scenario went viral and changed both young people’s career’s and lives forever. Being around the same age as Brown and Rihanna, their pre-grammy melee shaped how many of my peers began to discuss and conceptualize tumultuous relationships. Though Rihanna and Chris Brown are both stars of African descent, their now famous fight betrays the power of the white media to shape blackness with black “stars.” Particularly, these stars, illuminated by the white light on a dark sky become constellations for black social and systemic trajectory much to our collective detriment.
While the specifics of the case bear great significance, I want to point out that as those deemed consumers, the black collective will only receive the information necessary for the white media to delineate an anti-black image. Thus, what we learn are the functional components of what happened, and functional is not necessarily, and very rarely, synonymous with “truth.” What remains most prevalent is the aftermath.
The Chris Brown and Rihanna scenario proved a formidable platform for reinvention. The scenario gifted Brown a “bad boy” image that he still has not been able to shake, and gifted Rihanna a superstardom that undoubtedly would not have happened without her ornamental sacrifice of the black man. This coming-of-age scenario for the black millennial delineated the social benefits the black woman yields upon cosigning defiling the black male image.
The white media has attempted to socially reproduce this image with the Tory Lanez and Meg Thee Stallion scenario, and arguably Meg Thee Stallion’s inclusion of the late Malcolm X in her performance, but that’s a topic for another post.
The power of the white media to shape not only how blacks conceptualize our own people, but who and what we see as good and bad, beautiful and ugly, etc is far more crucial that any smokescreen issue they place in the forefront. Stallion and Rihanna’s narratives were never about black women and domestic violence, they are about relegating the black man to position as aggressor. The media only “cares” about black adversity when said adervsity can be used to divide, conquer, and manifest the desired destiny of the white imaginary. These narratives exist to depict the black male brute as truth and not a caricature or figment of the white imaginary. The payoff is a cross-over appeal only made possible when visibly detaching from the black man in a way that overtly impacts the black male’s career and image—making his image one in accordance with the white imaginary.
Addirionally, just as contemporary Youtubers, musicians, and actresses gain a new allure as “beauties” when paired with white or non-black men, the black woman who publicly aids in the character assassination of black men gains a similar beauty icon status. This is not due to a new hair style or altered aesthetics, but because to an anti-black world, there is nothing more beautiful than a black woman detached from her black male counterpart and completely at the mercy and will of her white oppressors.
I write this post not as an attempt to persuade anyone to take one side over the other, but as an incentive to de-prioritize and mentally defund celebrity culture. Celebrity culture may seem fun to engage and may even seem to encompass a formidable platform for escape, but this culture is a white supremacist cult that thrives on the passivity of black consumerism. These scenarios function as a means to engender contention between the black man and black woman, to pit us against one another so that we will see the good in white, or non-black persons of color, before we see the good in ourselves.
Furthermore, imagine how much power we wield as a collective when we define who we are and when we decide who and what is important to us as a people.