Adele in 2015: Hello….
Adele in 2020: Watagwan!
I have a few words for Adele, but I want to throw some examples of previous discussions to remind y’all that this conversation ain’t new.
Miley Cyrus – Appreciation or Appropriation?
Miley Cyrus is the whitest of white child stars with absolutely no connection to Black culture whatsoever. That’s not an automatic barrier, but it’s a big hurdle to climb, and to do it, you need to prove your worth. She didn’t. She wore her grills and hobnobbed with rappers and “twerked” at awards shows, taking the most visible parts of Black entertainment culture and putting them on like a costume for headlines. And she got them…for awhile. When the shtick wore out, she took it off and gave interviews about “outgrowing” all of the trappings she had adopted when she wanted attention via shock and notoriety.
Appropriation, on the grounds of “oooh Black people are ‘dangerous’ so I’ll dabble in the culture to show how grown up and shocking I am now.”
Iggy Azalea – Appreciation or Appropriation?
Amethyst Amelia Kelly is a white woman from the backwoods of Australia who used Black culture to catapult herself to superstardom. She threw on a Southern hip-hop Blackcent that in no way resembled how she spoke or where she came from. Hip-hop is about authenticity. Give me an Australian twang and a kangaroo joke, not a Decatur drawl and a runaway slave master punchline. When she was called out on it, her answer was basically fuck y’all I do what I want you’re just jealous. She managed to set female rap milestones because the world loves Black culture in a white package and she used that to her advantage while she disrespected us the entire time.
Appropriation, on the grounds of “I’m just using y’all to make a buck.”
Kim Kardashian – Appreciation or Appropriation?
Kim Kardashian is a white woman who rode Black dick to fame and never got off. Everything about her is a manufactured bastardized approximation of Blackness made more palatable to the masses on a white woman. She DGAF about Black people, Black culture, Black lives, or her Black ass husband.
Appropriation, on the grounds of….duh.
Teena Marie – Appreciation or Appropriation?
Teena Marie loved us and we loved her back. Every Black household owned a record that had Teena Marie on it and we never doubted if she was coming from a good place. She is universally accepted as our White Soul Sister because she respected the culture and the art and it was evident in everything she did.
Appreciation, on the grounds of “You respect my shit, I’ll respect your shit.”
Eminem – Appreciation or Appropriation?
Eminem is one of the best rappers of all time, as he should be. If you are going to be white and venture into hip-hop, take it seriously. Study your craft. Be the best rapper you can possibly be. Don’t make it into a joke, don’t make it into a cash grab, and give it your all. Every Black kid learns that to make it into America you have to try twice as hard to get half as far. When a white kid decides to go into rap music, they need to try twice as hard (to get twice as far tbh, because white people love Black culture in white packages, but still…)
Appreciation, on the grounds of “I worked hard for this.”
Madonna – Appreciation or Appropriation?
“Vogue” is one of the biggest singles of all time and it brought ballroom out of the shadows and into the light in a way nothing had been able to do before, because the biggest white pop star on the planet was holding the lantern. Madonna cut her teeth in the East Village and Lower East Side with Black and Latino performers. Her first single didn’t have her face on it because it was sent to Black radio, and DJs didn’t necessarily know she was white. A few albums and mega singles later, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Madonna would put “Vogue” out there because she wasn’t a stranger to the community — it’s where she started. Still, this cis straight white woman was reaping the benefits of an artform created for and by the Black & Brown queer community. She used a culture she was only loosely familiar with and made millions while the people who lived the life were left behind.
Appropriation & Appreciation, on the grounds of “Sometimes you love it so you participate in it but you don’t do enough to support the people who made it.”
So, Adele wearing Bantu knots…
Adele ain’t stupid and I’m sure Adele was prepared to be dragged and she did it anyway because Adele loves Black art and entertainment, generally minds her business, and shows her stan card for every Black woman in the industry. If Adele decided to release a rap single and throw some Bantu knots in there for the video, I’m upset. That’s appropriation. She, in her whiteness, is stepping into a highly competitive arena that does not belong to her and she’s putting on Blackness for capital gain. Adele doing rap music would shove her to the forefront of the genre because white buyers love when white women do hip-hop, whether it’s good or not. That’s appropriation. Adele participating in a celebration of Blackness (because she literally celebrates Blackness publicly and regularly) is appreciation, regardless of how awkward it is.
It’s not “look at my new style.” It’s “look at this style I’m wearing in appreciation for this event taking place.”
It’s not “Kim Culture Vulture Kardashian inventing cornrows on a Tuesday for Instagram likes.” It’s “Adele Mildy Awkward Akinds celebrating Carnival to the fullest.”
I’m not mad. She’s that awkward white girl sitting at the Black girl table getting her hair braided at lunch.
Appreciation, on the grounds of “It’s just a white lady celebrating us who does so regularly.”
Gen Z slang is all AAVE.
Are there any Black people working at Vanity Fair???
Watch this video please. Some white child I have never heard of has been tasked by Vanity Fair to explain “Gen Z slang” and almost every word is just African American Vernacular English aka Ebonics aka How Most Black People In America Talk With Their Friends And Family. None of these words are new…because I’ve been saying them for twenty years with other Black people.
Bop – AAVE
This is the newest AAVE word on the list because we weren’t really saying bop when I was in elementary school. I think that came about in the early 00s.
Clown – AAVE
Clown/Clowning, at least 30 years in the game on that one.
Shook – Unclear
Shook is not a word I heard in real life until after I started seeing it on the internet. It quickly made its way from social media out into the real world, but I didn’t know that was a Gen Z thing. I thought it was Millennial Gays.
Stan – Millennials
To the best of my knowledge, Eminem did not take stan (a stalker fan) from us, because I didn’t hear it until his song came out. Still, this little boy has mentioned neither Eminem nor the song, because these children apparently think they made everything up?
Doin the Most – AAVE
You play too much, you do too much, she do so much, they always do the most, etc. We’ve had this since the 80s.
Facts – AAVE
Facts is so old it might even belong to Gen X. Definitely spread from the New York area throughout the country with hip-hop.
Hit Different – AAVE
Rule of thumb: if your slang phrase drops an S on the verb, you can probably assume it was taken from us, because that’s a grammar rule in AAVE. Also, his example where he likes Taco Bell more than the Mexican restaurants on Sunset? Throw this child AWAY.
Deadass – AAVE
Another word from the NYC area that spread with hip-hop. Headass didn’t catch on because white kids weren’t smart enough or creative enough to actually understand how to use that one.
Highkey – AAVE
This one belongs to the Millennial Blacks born in the 90s. They drove the popularity of this one.
Snack – AAVE
Older than dirt. Gen X was definitely using this one. Baby Boomers might’ve even had it. Snack is SO OLD.
Slaps – AAVE
I don’t remember saying slaps until the mid 2000s, so I don’t know how old it is, but I know a white toddler didn’t teach it to me, which is what this child would have been at that time.
Put Someone On – AAVE
I honestly didn’t even know white people said this. I didn’t know this one had reached critical mass in popularity for the white kids to not only say it with regularity but say it so much they claimed it for themselves.
Rona – Internet Slang
It could be a product of who I follow on social media, but I thought the Millennial Gays were the ones that made Rona popular because they were calling it Miss Rona all the way last spring.
Say Less – AAVE
I want this child to say less. I know a 19-year-old white kid who actually says this a lot. I need to ask him where he thinks it comes from…
Extra – AAVE
Maya Wilkes on Girlfriends loved to say extra and that was 20 years ago. Please stop playing in my face.
Fire – AAVE
Old. My daddy damn is well over 70 and says fire.
Bet – AAVE
It’s just getting silly at this point. Bet is so versatile and so popular it’s not even slang anymore.
Lowkey – AAVE
Lowkey doesn’t mean you just want to do it a little bit. It means you want to do it but you shouldn’t, or you want to do it but don’t judge me, or you want to do it but you’re conflicted. I hate when nuance is taken out of our culture.
Receipts – AAVE/Gay AAVE
Every Black woman on reality television says receipts and they got it from their gay glam squads. I don’t know if that’s a fact. I’m just throwing it out there because it is so widely popular for that segment of the population and has been for at least 15 years.
Whole Meal – AAVE adjacent?
It’s obviously related to snack, which is ours, but I’ve never actually heard it.
Yikes – They can have that one. Nobody says yikes anymore.
Vanity Fair. Please hire some Black people. The way y’all just committed this unforced error on a pleasant Wednesday is just ridiculous and confusing. Nobody asked for this and nobody was having this conversation, but y’all bust through Youtube like the Kool Aid Man for absolutely no reason, and now y’all will be dragged for the rest of the week.
Also, Black people over 30 — if you have anything to add, let me know and I’ll add your clarifications in an edit. I mean, obviously I’m brilliant, but I don’t know every word in the world, so correct me where I’m wrong while we discuss this as a family.
This is just another example of how Black people drive culture in this country. What we do is hot and everybody else falls in line behind us. White kids on social media have picked up “slang” from Black Millennials on social media. Then they do their little tiktoks and talk to their friends who aren’t following us on social media, and suddenly a whole bunch of white kids are passing around slang to each other that originally came from us….because they haven’t created anything themselves. It’s the same reason white white kids in Montecito will randomly have a light Southern accent on some of their words.
Southern whites come with a bag of stereotypes nobody is trying to emulate. Reality TV, hip-hop, queer Black culture, and an online environment where Black people drive the discourse of what's hot is where most of the country is picking up Southernisms. https://t.co/tkJxCjjIwk— Rafi D'Angelo (@RafiDAngelo) February 19, 2021
If it’s hot and you can’t pinpoint where it came from? It’s probably Black people.
EDIT: Looks like the video is now private. I guess they did get dragged, just like I thought they would.
I love Black people.
Why does that offend so many white people?
I’ve randomly said “I love Black people!” on many social media platforms over the years and never really thought twice about it. Something will happen, I’ll post it, other Black people will comment in agreement, and that’s that. Some white people will even like the post because whatever I’m referring to is something they appreciated reading or seeing or experiencing with us.
There’s this white guy in my comments today asking why certain things are okay for Black people to say, but not for white people. For example, if we say “I love Black people!” it’s fine, but if white people say “I love white people!” there’s automatic blowback. He seemed genuine enough, though young and a little misguided, so I engaged. I used to engage all the time when I did that kind of thing to pay my rent, but now I rarely expend mental energy online trying to teach white people I don’t know (for free!). This got me thinking because it just hasn’t come up in conversation before.
First of all, Black people and white people move through society completely differently. Different rules apply in how we are allowed to communicate because different rules were created for how we are treated. If you are a white person who purports to be on the side of progress, be less concerned about why Black people can say things white people can’t, and be more concerned with creating an equitable society where we wouldn’t even want or need to.
Alongside that, I’m just so curious where that impulse comes from to even question it.
When I say “I love Black people!” it’s because I felt something that I knew a lot of other Black people were feeling at the exact same time. Some shared cultural experience across a wide swath of the community made me laugh, or I felt bonded by a hardship we can all relate to because we’re Black in America.
When I say “I love Black people!” I feel proud of us for overcoming and achieving something, or I’m in awe of us for finding joy in the face of everything this country has thrown at us.
When I say “I love Black people!” I’m not saying I don’t love other people. I’m having a moment within myself and with my community where I feel a kinship in struggle or excitement or some combination of emotions that I know a lot of other Black people are also feeling.
So when white people ask why they can’t say “I love white people!” it’s not that I mind that they love white people, I’m just curious about what particular instance made you want to say it? What happened that made you feel so connected in a shared experience with White America? I’m not white, so I don’t know for sure, (and if any white people have any comments that are especially insightful, I’ll edit them into the end of this post), but I don’t see a “white community” bonded together by anything in this country other than a shared history of oppressing everybody else. That’s not a read, that’s just me looking from the outside and observing how white people relate to the “white community” at large. When you are the dominant force in a society, everything is just yours in a way, so you don’t need to fight to hold on to anything. Black people have had to fight together against….well, the “white community” for the past four centuries. We are bonded by everything that fight has entailed and the legacy it has left us. What do white people have?
If you are a white person reading this and you have had the urge to say “I love white people!” I would like to know what happened and what the feeling was like. I’ll give you some examples.
When I saw Nia Dennis’s very Black floor routine for the UCLA gymnastics team, I said “I love Black people!”
When I saw this old video of a group of Black men watching Whitney Houston sing the National Anthem and how they were going so hard for her, I said “I love Black people!”
When I see Black Twitter laughing at Shay Moore’s videos of life in the South, I say “I love Black people!”
White people, if any of you have these moments where you feel so proud to be white that you want to exclaim “I love white people!” for other white people to read/hear and join in, let me know. That’s not a set-up. I’m just genuinely curious how people whose history isn’t defined by oppression relate to the rest of their skinfolk with a sense of pride, and how a need to affirm each other in a country that continually questions their worth would manifest itself in statements of love and appreciation.
(Okay…my question does sound like a set-up to get dragged now, but I just kept typing and the words kept coming.)
Hank Aaron’s Guinness World Record
His record isn’t for what you think it is.
Baseball great Hank Aaron passed away today and I went into a quick dive into his life after reading this excellent write up by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
A Hall of Famer, Atlanta’s first professional sports star, and, in a soft-spoken way, an agent of change in the post-Jim Crow South, Aaron came to embody the city as he embodied the Braves.
Baseball’s all-time home run king died Friday at the age of 86, according to Channel 2 Action News and several reports. The Braves have not confirmed Aaron’s death.
“I don’t think too many people got a chance to know me through the years, and that was something that was my own doing, because I’m actually kind of a loner, a guy that has stayed to himself,” Aaron said in a 2006 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “A lot of people thought they knew me, but they really didn’t.
“They pretend that they know me, but I travel alone. I do just about everything alone. I have associates, but I don’t have many friends. I would just want to be remembered as somebody who just tried to be fair with people.”
I grew up in a basketball and football household, but my dad kept up with baseball and I went to a handful of Braves games growing up. Hank Aaron was just kind of a vague figure in the back of my mind, someone I knew had a lot of home runs, but that’s about all I knew about the man. The AJC paints a vivid picture of a soft-spoken Black man in the Deep South navigating his way through baseball during the Civil Rights Era, and it’s an engaging read from top to bottom. This particular section jumped out at me:
Aaron had eight seasons with 40 or more home runs, the last coming in 1973, when he finished the year with 713 homers and an estimated 930,000 pieces of mail. Much of it was racist. There also were enough death threats for the FBI to get involved. Aaron received personal protection through the off-season.
That’s like 3,000 pieces of mail a day! I did a quick dive into it so let’s set the scene.
Babe Ruth played baseball from 1914 to 1935, and interestingly enough, while I most associate him with the NY Yankees, he started and ended his career in Boston. He set numerous baseball records (two of which still stand today) and in 1936, he was one of the inaugural five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s one of the greatest sports heroes of all time, Trump gave him a Medal of Freedom in 2018, and the official candy bar of Major League Baseball bears his name (even though it wasn’t created for him, it became inextricably associated with him during the height of his fame). He also hit 714 home runs in his career, a record which stood for almost four decades until Hank Aaron came along.
By the early 70s, Hank Aaron had been quietly chipping away at Babe Ruth’s home run record for twenty years, first with the Milwaukee Braves and then in Atlanta when the team moved to Georgia in 1965. At the end of the 1972 season, Hank had 673 home runs, and for a player who already had eight seasons where he hit 40 or more home runs, it was assumed he would indeed break Babe Ruth’s record of 714 in the very near future. Baseball fans follow the game, so baseball fans were aware of Hank’s hitting stats. Racist America follows notable Black people, and this Black man putting himself within striking distance of a white man’s achievement made the country take note. The amount of hate mail spiked once non fans became aware of Hank’s threat to a record they didn’t even really care about until it was in danger of being broken by a Black player.
On July 21st of 1973, Hank Aaron hit #700 and he was receiving about 3,000 pieces of mail a day. The Braves hired a secretary just to handle Hank’s mail, and team management forbid him from opening his own letters to shield him from the vitriol.
The volume was so great that the Braves assigned secretary Carla Koplin to handle Aaron’s mail. That freed up his time but also shielded the legendary slugger from some of the vile remarks and death threats aimed at him. There were also some congratulatory letters and words of encouragement, but the negative comments heavily outweighed the positive and the Braves gave Aaron his own security detail.
“I was forbidden to open mail for two and a half years. I had a secretary that had to open all my mail and when the games were over with, I had to go out of the back of the baseball parks.”
When the season ended in October, Hank had 713 home runs, one shy of the record. The next six months gave racist America ample time to seethe and write. Hate mail turned to death threats and anyone remotely supportive of Hank was a target.
Lewis Grizzard, then sports editor of the Atlanta Journal, reported receiving numerous phone calls calling journalists “nigger lovers” for covering Aaron’s chase. While preparing the massive coverage of the home run record, he quietly had an obituary written, afraid that Aaron might be murdered.
(cont. Hank Aaron)
Hank Aaron made it to the 1974 season and broke Babe Ruth’s record in Atlanta on April 8th. Between July 1973 and June 1974, Hank Aaron received over 930,000 pieces of mail, the most ever for a private citizen, and a record that still stands today. When I saw that Hank Aaron had a Guinness World Record, I assumed it was for home runs, but his record was broken by Barry Bonds in 2007. Hank has a world record not for baseball, but for racism — America’s other great pastime.
Let’s retire the roast for RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Charge the NRA with murder in Colorado.
Hot Takes: Allen vs. Farrow
Let’s retire the roast for RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Hot Takes: Allen vs. Farrow
Charge the NRA with murder in Colorado.
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