The “Sparkle” of Meghan Markle and The Upcoming “Royal” Wedding

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For the last year, Suits actress Meghan Markle has remained at the center of pop culture and media tabloids. Meghan Markle, the daughter of a black women and white man, illustrates the nuanced concept of bi-raciality. I use the word “nuanced” sarcastically as Markle’s contemporary function mirrors her past “mulatto” manifestation, mulatto referencing the diluted black female form sexually objectified by a white man who probably fathered her, yet subjected to the very cruelty of the black body that bore her.  Bi-rciality serves as a means for those who can “pass” as black, or having two black parents, to dismember themselves as split between both both words, using a partial blackness as a means to earn a place in the house of  white supremacy. Markle’s racial ambiguity functions as a means to underscore the beauty of blackness when diluted with whiteness, and emphasize the white savior figure in the “spare” to a British throne.

45d888824c22099c095061fc2556f451The black female form, her offspring, and their global function in a racist society have remained intact for centuries, as any evolution of their function would challenge the white supremacist power structure. Meghan Markle, in the symbolism imbued in her bi-raciality and place at the foot of the white man’s bed, or this case monarchy, is veiled a reinforcement of the black female bodily abjection– an abjection Markle’s body symbolizes in conception and lifestyle.  This  pattern of black female bodily abjection seemingly illustrates an evolution of coercion to consent to those unfamiliar with the pervasive subconscious coercion imbued by systemic racism.

The pending union between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry additionally function to promote the myth of racism being virtually non-existent in places that have induced the world to forget the black bodies gifted as currency, congratulations, and compliments to “powerful” British individuals and institutions.

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United Kingdom’s Prince Harry speaks during the opening ceremonies of the the2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada Sept. 23, 2017. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

Because this blog is a meditation of the black female perspective, I will not spend a great amount of time entertaining the white male perspective. I will state that whether to challenge the British monarchy who had a hand (in the very least) in Diana’s murder, or to acquire a legal concubine in a wife with direct black blood—Harry gains at all angles. His spousal selection functions to fictively displace the British as less racist than the United states.

Specifically, Harry and Meghan’s pending nuptials promote the myth of racism being virtually non-existent in places that have induced the world to forget the black bodies gifted as currency, congratulations, and compliments to “powerful” British individuals and institutions. British placement of a biracial black in a designated “place of prestige” is reflective of former President Obama’s eight-year reign, which yielded a pseudo but pervasive white victimhood mollified by Trump and his stealth supporters.

It is imperative to note that Harry will also have no true investment in blackness, despite an implication to the contrary in his white media coverage. His children will most likely bear little to remnants of their black grandparent, and his proximity to his black (ish) wife and her black family will prove a platform for the so-called philanthropy that will aid his emergence as the white savor figure.

Announcement-Of-Prince-Harrys-Engagement-To-Meghan-Markle.jpeg.CROP.promo-xlarge2Thus, to the white supremacist gaze, it is this white savior figure, personified in Prince Harry’s global function as a white savior and his pending nuptials that makes Meghan Markle “sparkle.”  For Marke’s “sparkle” is determined by the same forces that designated the “royal” family and Harry’s fictive prince status. Before this highly popularized courtship, Markle, an actress, worked on a little known series, and navigated the world with a fluid identity fit for a prince.  _L1A1133r

Markle’s relationship with Prince Harry functions similarly to the over-publicized union of Serena Williams and her white-tech husband, to illustrate the happily ever after for the woman maintaining any relation to blackness as solely consummated by a white man—or in Markle’s case, an actual prince. Ironically, Williams was quoted as saying that she “felt like a princess” at her wedding, illustrating the social conditioning that engender black women mutilated by white supremacy to perceive their white male lovers and husbands as “princes.” Serena and Markle collaboratively illustrate the black female body in any varying amount of blackness, veiling a journey to whiteness as a journey to the white dress worn to wed a white men. Furthermore, Williams and Markle’s appeal surfaces in their ability to simultaneously personify the fiction of black female invisibility or ugliness rescued by the personified fairy tale image of the white male prince.

nintchdbpict0002785248261-e1477822071176As the former legal concubine to a white male “spouse,” and the offspring of white male penetration of the black female form, Meghan Markle is a physical manifestation of everything Prince Harry represents as a part of European monarchy. So to contest the crux of Dwayne Wong’s Huffington post article entitled “The Upcoming Royal Wedding and Our Colonized Mentalities,” the core issue is not  black reception, but the force-feeding of these images for black consumption by a society who has used the body of Meghan Markle, a real personification of a fictive bi-raciality, to poison the black psyche.

Admittedly, some of the black collective have readily sipped the Koolaid of the upcoming nuptials in a delusional attempt to live vicariously through Markle’s partial African ancestry as she 39FEDA1500000578-3898232-image-a-14_1478117629314weds a “prince.”Many will perceive themselves as collectively victorious in this “union.” Some will even see themselves as a jewel in Meghan’s illusive crown, whereas in actuality this union functions as the shoes the imperial subject uses to step over a barefoot corpse crucified in abjection veiled as advancement

The desire for inclusion displaces celebration where there should be indifference. But whether living vicariously through Miss Markle or not, the black collective is not what deems Markle revelant. Rather it is the white collective who gains from Markle’s societal displacement as central to a world were she is inevitably and irreversibly marginal—even with a white father, white husband, or white children. Wong’s article is an example of an exteriorized psyche that blames the victim but allows the oppressor to run free and continue to capitalize on their continued colonization.

 

I do however agree that the pending union has unveiled the unhealed scars of a colonialism that never ended but merely changed form. A wound continually opened  by the pervasive strategy of white supremacy, whose social reproduction continues to derive from the loins of the black female body. Social reproduction is a violent action implemented as escapism for whites who desire to treat every act of racism as an isolated incident, and for the mutilated black mind seeking to assemble what Dr. Wade Noble called a “fractured identity” in a pseudo acceptance or inclusion.

In conclusion, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s “union” is a grotesque image that romanticizes a ubiquitous attack on the black family and black identity as vested in the black female form. Yet, the pervasiveness of this attack denounces the “news” as a means to acquire information, instead exposing white sources as espoused to inoculating inferiority into the black psyche. But more so, the pending “princess” status of Miss Markle proves a catalysts for racists to appear as colorblind humanitarians and the raced and gendered to appear loved in a media lynching of their collective.

To Miss Markle:

your black mother,

not your white father

or fiancee

makes you princess.  

 

Black Power ❤

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The Incredible Jessica James: Extracting the “black” from Black Femininity

The Incredible Jessica James debuted to an audience eagerly awaiting its next piece of seemingly antiracist media where an bothered body occupies central placement. To most The Incredible Jessica James is a coming of age narrative where a black female twenty-something finds her way past a breakup an through her struggles as a striving artist. What is most incredible about this film is that it resumes the contemporary colorblind initiative. This contemporary initiative is not to tackle the totality of the black experience, but to move past blackness by ignoring it completely. Moreover, what is most incredible about Jessica James is despite her skin color and natural hair—there is nothing black about her. The word "black" is gracefully omitted from the film—a pattern consistent with contemporary portrayals of black people.  Instead, viewers hear James reference her statuesque height quite a few times throughout the film–suggesting that it is her height not color, is her most defining attribute. jessicawilliamsap

In early portrayals of black femininity, the black female body operated in extremes—she was either unmistakably black, a "mammy-like figure" like Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the Wind, or a racially ambiguous "tragic mulatto or  jezebel" as seem in Dorothy Dandridge's 1954 performance in Carmen. The racially ambiguous woman stirred two pots in her ability to strategically provide blacks a fictive representation, without challenging European aesthetics. bell hooks notes this point in Black Looks:

When black women actresses like Lena Horne appeared in mainstream cinema most white viewers were not aware that they were looking at black females unless the film was specifically coded as being about blacks (119).

Contemporary black leading ladies perform a similar role, except not through aesthetics. Instead, the black female body functions to visibly suggest a diversity her portrayal functions to downplay.

maxresdefaultThis is important for black women to acknowledge prior to celebrating representation seemingly granted in portrayals like The Incredible Jessica James, portrayals strategically implemented to work against the black woman. By this I mean that while actress Jessica Williams is beautiful, witty, and talented, as Jessica James, Williams encourages black women to exist beyond blackness—an act of mentacide that will eventually foment black female oblivion.

Black female oblivion is the ultimate result of anti-blackness, a shared theme of past and present black female representation. The Incredible Jessica James enforces anti blackness with a common pairing to the contemporary black female body—a white man.

The white man rides in like a white night following James’ breakup from Damon, her black ex-boyfriend. 4533The film introduces viewers to protagonist Jessica James after a recent breakup from a man of whom she was with for two years— a decision that haunts her in a series of comical dreams throughout the film. Her ex-boyfriend, a young and handsome black man, appears kind and supportive in the flashbacks of the couple. His portrayal prompts viewers to question why the two parted ways— a query that James seems to serially ask herself throughout the film but answer in the giant steps towards whiteness she takes afterwards.
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Namely, these failed black romances birth two interracial romances as viewers see Damon out on a date with a non-black woman as James also meets up with a non-black date. I am intentionally focusing on the color of characters to illustrate that blackness, while never acknowledged, also does not visibly frequent the film. James, a black woman from Ohio, flees her hometown for a better life. When James does fly back for her sister's baby shower it is blatantly obvious that she does not fit in with the small town environment that nurtured her early years. Her transition from small town to big city  also symbolizes a step away from blackness as James' “better” life in Bushwick is overwhelmingly white. This running away from home, much like her breakup, illustrates black conflict as preceding or offsetting the black body’s journey to whiteness.

Deadline Hollywood Portraits at Sundance Presented by Applegate, Day 2, Park City, Utah, USA - 21 Jan 2017This journey to whiteness is heavily veiled in what the film tries to pass of as chemistry.  James' artistic chemistry with theatre leads her to the big city, and her chemistry with the concept "woman" leads her into the platonic embrace of a white female friends. The film vehemently tries to present James' relationship with Boone as oozing with rebound chemistry. James and Boone though have zero chemistry. They have a good conversation, mainly because James’ honesty will not allow for much else. They become sexually involved shortly after meeting, and their sex scene is cringeworthy and seems to exist solely to provide visible proof of their consummation. Their sexual encounter is hard to watch, hard to hear, and disappointing to the black female gaze who would probably have taken better to a love scene between two gorgeous black people rather than a middle-aged white man and a young black woman. Jessica is the bridge Boone uses to get over his personal trauma—a recent divorce from a thin, blonde woman. By the end of the film, Jessica replaces Boone’s ex-wife as the object of his affection, transforming from an escapist route to a national treasure—-objectified yet symbolic.

The romance between the two, also serves as a platform for Boone to become the film’s white savior figure. After James receives an overseas offer to teach theatre and lead a production of one of her plays, Boone funds the trip through his frequent flyer miles. This ruins what should have been the most touching moment of the play–the black girl magic between James and her black female student.

Netflix-Releases-Teaser-For-Jessica-Williams-The-Incredible-Jessica-JamesThe scenes with James and her students are touching, and function to add dimension to Jessica James the character. Nurturing the young versions of ourselves as they work to find themselves in a world designed for their destruction is something all black women should prioritize. James and her black female student connect in talent and a displaced hurt—their writing a means to iron out the wrinkles in their lives. However, with blackness lying in the film’s background, this connection between two young black females is only on the surface. The portrayal, in omitting blackness, depicts a teacher taking a “troubled” student under their wing—oversimplifying the shared experience between black women to a shared experience between women. Thus, Boone, the white savior, illustrates the white man as a prize who literally and figuratively funds those culminating their journey to an illusive whiteness.

Furthermore, the “incredible” in The Incredible Jessica James, unintentionally functions similarly to the “great” in the The Great Gatsby—providing a satirical feel to a seemingly complimentary term. What is in fact incredible about the film is its mastered technique diminished by underdeveloped critical thought. In an unpublished essay, esteemed scholar W.E.B. Dubois said the following:

Technique without character is chaos and war. Character without technique is labor and want. But when you have human being who know the world and can grasp it; who have their feelings guised by ideals, then using technique as their hands they can get rid of the four great evils of human life. The four evils are ignorance, poverty, diseases and crime. (Dubios 252).

The Incredible Jessica James  succeeds in method displayed in its writing and comedic genius, but lacks character in its anti-blackness. The characters lack the racial depth that paint them in the image of black viewers of a shared experience. Therefore, the film promotes ignorance, moral poverty, and disease in performing the greatest crime cast onto the black diaspora—racism.

Black female portrayal must begin, contain, and evolve pedagogy. We must learn the entirety of our oppression to avoid furthering our systemized state by creating images that tackle the acumen of African identity.

In closing, The Incredible Jessica James is not a bad movie—it’s just not a black movie. It is a sense of escapism for those who fantasize about a apparent utopia where where color is not discussed. This utopia eventually proves a dystopia as it operates with the same racial subtext of slavery and the Jim Crow South. The film proves that racial neutrality is inherently anti-blackness, something the contemporary world presents as evolution.

To evolve is to move past the seduction of colorlessness in a word established on color differences. To evolve is to uncaricature blackness and stand in a truth defined by a collective understanding. To evolve is to see blackness as a glory to be shouted from the mountaintops, not be subjugated to an elephant in the room, series or film. maxresdefault

As the late but great author James Baldwin once said “Nothing can be changed unless it is faced.” The Incredible Jessica James, is another example of art functioning to deflect black focus away from blackness. Any step a black person takes away from blackness is a step towards anti-blackness into the flaming pit of white supremacy.

Let us face the entirety of our blackness without fear, or shame, and create art that is not vouyeristic for whites but a means for blacks to hold a looking glass to the complexities of our existence.

Black Power ❤

Interracial Dating, A Contemporary “Fairytale”

Just before ringing in 2017, news broke that tennis great Serena Williams was engaged. Prior to seeing the pictures, I knew her husband would be white. Namely, the years preceding William’s engagement encompassed white men, or black men of a lighter hue. Williams’ selection of men who oppose the aesthetics of the man who raised her, symbolizes the complicated battle blacks endure to love themselves, let alone one another.jamie-nikki-pregnancy-photos-10-640x629

Williams joins the number of black female/white male couples that populate twenty-first-century popular culture. From YouTubers Jaime and Nikki and Gabe and Babe, to actresses Condola Rashad and Zoe Saldana, the contemporary world places black female swirling at the forefront of popular culture. To this, I want to state that I get it.

The heckling Williams received for being a black woman in what the western world silently deemed a space for thin, blonde white women, mirrors the very dynamic faced by countless black female bodies cast throughout the black diaspora. We as black women consistently face criticism for not having white skin, small features, or for having too many curves. The weave empire proved black female insecurity a goldmine—capitalizing on the demons hovering over the black woman who does not have long, thick locks. As a black woman, it is easy to fall into the nurture of western society and question your own beauty.

gabebabeMoreover, romantic endeavors with white men prove a reactionary measure to deeply embedded wounds cast and festered by a white supremacist society. No, this interracial union does not erase the wounds, but now those hypnotized
by western society won’t see what they’re conditioned to see as shortcomings—they’ll solely see two things: cute babies and status. Women who engage with white men incur a degree of insurance that their children would assume privileges denied to them as black women without the ability to “pass” as white or a fetishized race or ethnicity. This dynamic creates a pseudo- privilege to the black woman who can not physically escape blackness, but desires an escape, no matter how small for their children. Those granted a sense of freedom, however, see these unions for what they are—cowardice.

Yes, to put it bluntly, blacks who opts to engage with those outside their race or African ethnicity operate from a position of cowardice. Black love is hard. To love black is to choose to endure not only your plight with racism but your partner’s plight as well. To love black is to opt to run through the flames of white supremacy, not for a thrill but to maintain a collective integrity.  Yet contemporary society works hard to present interracial couples as bearing the burdensome backlash from the black community. However, it is the black couple who endures systemic backlash. It is the black couple that proves a threat to white supremacy, as it blatantly states that the white man’s ice is not colder. After all, there is nothing more haughty that a black who dares to love themselves.

I’ll be honest, as a black woman, my dealings with love have been a battle— a battle that becomes more complicated with each “accomplishment.” As conventionally successful women, Williams, Rashad, and Saldana undoubtedly faced romantic troubles due to their acquired success.These accomplishments symbolize white supremacy as they are often afforded to the black woman as a blow to the black male ego. These women like countless other black women may have faced opposition from black men holding them to European standards, standards that vehemently opposed their aesthetics.  Accessing the battles that black love often incurs seduces many into a selective amnesia that somehow cast black love as a larger burden than white supremacy, not a facet of its wrath.sebastian-vallentin-stenhoj-and-condola-rashad

Interracial dating is yet another means to seduce the black collective to forget all that is necessary to elevate us as a group. In this same spirit, many Williams, Saldana,
Rashad, Nikki and Gabe supporters will argue that their white spouses gave them love where black men gave them drama. However, the truth is these women gave up. Simply put, they symbolize a beacon of black women who acquiesced to white supremacy by saying yes to the descendants of white men who once owned their ancestors–or benefitted from their oppression. This perspective is not uncommon, yet strategically surfaces as a product of black female/white male relations. See, these relations easily cast the white man in a position similar to what movies and books teach young children. Stories like Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel all feature a white man as “prince charming” —saving the day and rescuing the female protagonists from obscurity or even worse, a quotidian lifestyle. In selecting white males, black women not only resume this narrative but cast themselves in the role of the “beautiful” white women who dominate these stories. However, there is a reason why none of those princesses where black women saved by white men–white men can not save black women because it is her disenfranchisement that fuels his privilege.

zoemarcoFurthermore, the black female and white male dynamic functions to forget that these unions are nothing new to the western world. Black women  have been concubines to white men  for centuries. These contemporary manifestations manifest many of the original attributes namely the unions function to castrate black men and fuel white supremacy.

Black female and white male unions function to designate the demographic that once raped and owned black female bodies, now love them. They function to differentiate the white slave master from from the contemporary white men, begging the masses to forget the slave masters were also “just white men” allotted the very privilege that hovers over his contemporary manifestation. The unions function to suggest that had consent been legal, many black females would have consented to being with their masters. While this may be true, it does not illustrate love it illustrates the depth of a white supremacist ideology. Thus, in its work to alleviate the burden of slavery on the American, black female and white male relations actually work to illustrate that this consciousness is virtually as
non-existent as our collective progress.

In essay  “The Psychopathic Racial Personality”  Black psychologist Dr. Bobby Wright brilliantly states the following:

“ Blacks kills Blacks because they have never been trained to kill Whites, therefore it is outside their experience. Historically, the Europeans system has encouraged the killing of Blacks. Because Blacks have been lead to believe that they are part of the psychopath’s system, they simply follow the practice” ( Wright 3).

In a similar sentiment, blacks have also not been trained to love blacks—-they have been extensively trained in direct and indirect methods to love whites. Black women have also been trained to covet western beauty and thereby lust after the traditional concept of womanhood that solely applied to non-male whites. Moreover, the black woman and white male dynamic compartmentalizes a myriad of issues, issues that demonstrate that the change implied by this union is not forthcoming but prevented by the many veils of contemporary culture. The black female and white male dynamic is merely another detractive measure placed in the contemporary psyche to render a series of behaviors that afford the masses the necessary tools to remain unconscious

 

 

 

 

A Word on the Black Woman-White Man Dynamic in Society and Popular Culture

 

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Contemporary society features an influx of relations between black women and white men. From politician’s wives, notably Chirlane McCray (wife of New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio) to romances featured on prime time sitcoms, like Kerry Washington on Scandal and now Halle Berry on Extant, feature educated and powerful black women in the arms of white men.

There are many potential reasons why this white man/black woman dynamic has experienced an abundance of exposure in contemporary society. My mind journeys back to an article I read about the 2004 movie Hitch,starring Will Smith and Eva Mendes. The article disclosed why casting directors declined to cast a black female lead. The reasoning was, that a black female lead would alienate those outside the black diaspora. Interestingly, black romance is perceived as anti-white but in majority relations those of color are encouraged to see beyond the absence of color. Thus, its very likely that the influx of black female presence is issued at the expense of black love, as black love is viewed as a catalyst for the exclusion of non-blacks.

Interracial relations inadvertently explores the dynamic of science fiction. A common motif of science fiction is the dynamic between normative and the other. This romantic dynamic between blacks and whites embodies a similar prototype of the normative and the other. The normative is of course embodied through members of the majority and the other embodied by blacks and those of color. Interracial relationships while not uncommon in contemporary society, are still typically rendered taboo. Perhaps this union is seen as most taboo between black men and white women. Black men often, whether overtly or subliminally, are believed to have achieved upward mobility through a white or non black mate; contrastly, their white or non black counterparts display a presumed sense of liberalism through a black mate.

White or non black women often feel a false sense of superiority over the black woman because of their relationships with black men. This superiority is often jaded in the contents that often cloud their selection. Their selection is often rooted and reduced to an elevated beauty,  often assumed of white or non-black women. White or non black women are more often than not, cast in a role of submission to the ego of their often insecure black male counterparts.  Interestingly, more often than not it is the black male who behaves submissively in these relations, as his spousal selection often signals his conceding to western ideals of achieving a trophy spouse of European or non black extraction.

As a source of desire by white men, the black woman experiences a shift in her perception. Historically excluded from the dynamics of womanhood, the black women is problematically perpetuated as a figure to be admired through her white lover. While the relations between black women and white men are no stranger to American society, the implied legitimacy through consent of these unions, attempt to alleviate this union from a troubled past. This feat of detachment is impossible, as the black female body can never be separated from centuries of mutilation at the hands of white men.

With that said, the redeeming aspects of this black and white union are present in possibility. While many will argue that any racialized woman’s union with a white man will always contain a sense of victimhood on behalf of the radicalized woman, these unions work to alleviate the black female body from her previously under discussed and largely unacknowledged role as the victim.  These recent unions maintain the strength of black woman, an unwavering attribute embodied in both her physique and mind. While the union between the white man and the black woman work to place the black woman in a deserved position of desirability, it features power as an accompaniment to her physical appeal-an attribute very absent from their non black counterparts.

Black women are eliminated from the ability to occupy the role of the trophy wife or girlfriend. While much of this elimination is due to the failure of western society to properly acknowledge the beauty of black women, this inability is also tied to the standards of womanhood being vastly different for women who are not black. Non black women have been traditionally praised for their compliance, and beauty, whereas these traits are not traditionally welcomed or acknowledged on a black body.

The black females who are paired with these white men in both entertainment and society are black women who exude presence rather than passivity. McCray is an educated artist, Olivia Pope of Scandal and Molly Woods of Extant are extensively educated professionals; all have achieved monetary and societal recognition prior to their engagement in an interracial union. This union marks the surely unintentional pairing of individuals who mirror many of the same minor struggles despite their vastly different dispositions.

White men are largely perceived to be sexually inferior to black men but socially and intellectually superior to any and all racialized men. Black women are generally perceived to be significantly less attractive than white or non black women, but are valued for their ability to entertain, their tenacity and strength. Both black women and white men fail to be as stereotypically sexually desirable as their gendered counterparts. For that reason, the union between both black women and white men indirectly work to cast both into reconstructed positions of desirability. Problematically, the black female body has become yet another platform to magnify the implied superiority of white men. Once again what is believed to revive the black race, somehow works to benefit those of the majority faction. This suggests that this absence of black love works to denounce the sexual superiority of black males, at the expense of what appears to be a revised black female presence. However, this revision of the racicalized woman is truly a reconstruction of white male sexuality, depicting him as not only desirable, but of a humble and compassionate spirit- seemingly less culpable to the crimes of the past.

Thus, despite the inability to erase a troubled past, this union presents an unlikely similarity in two of the most unsuspecting factions. Disturbingly, reinforcing the elevation of white males on the backs of black females, at the expense of unity amongst blacks. Suggesting this lack of unity between blacks, or dissolving of the black love dynamic, as fostering the continued exploitation of the black female as the platform for reforming white male sexuality.