It’s 2020, quite a lot of time has passed since I was a little girl watching R’n’B videos dreaming, of something I was way too young to understand. Beauty standards have changed and lips & hips are in. The girls that mocked us in school have moulded their looks in all ways possible, to look like us – and yet can’t quite get it right; (they’re still not called “boxer braids” Kim).
If we throw it back once again to those old school videos, they had another affect on me and other little Black girls. They taught us that we weren’t what was desired; the standards that were strutting across our screens, the subject of the lyrics rapped so sweetly by your childhood faves didn’t include our beautiful Black skin, our kinks or our curls. It’s the type of rejection that cuts deep because it is rooted in the very core of who we are, as Black women.
Rejection from men who didn’t look like us was one thing, something that I could probably get over quite easily. But being made to feel undesirable by men who have mothers and sisters that look just like us, just like me? Well THAT was unfairly humbling.
The reality of the treatment we faced hit home harder as the years passed. Whilst the blonde-haired girls would get one thing – the Black girls, who spent Sundays having their hair manipulated into ‘manageable’ styles, would get another. The sweet sting of irony in reading tweets about braids being undesirable when you’ve just spent 8hrs in aunties chair isn’t lost on me.
Yet, here we are in 2020, where the years of berating and rejection are expected to be swept under the rug. It is demanded that we stand as crutches to men – accepting whatever they decide to spare us.
All women deserve to be treated as they so wish – wined and dined, adored and Dior-ed but Black women especially deserve love with luxury. The countless amounts of us that can testify to similar experiences when it comes to romantic endeavours make us all the more deserving of everything we dream of. Whilst our features may now be less demonised – the damage can never be reversed.
Social media has made prominent the accusatory, diminishing insults that follow when a Black woman especially, shares either fantasies or realities where they exist as the object of overindulgence. There’s something rather insidious about the way men shun women that aspire to live a life full of luxury. The public shaming and screams of “GOLD DIGGER” in your mentions if you dare to demand what you want.
From men on Twitter shouting insults at women who like their first dates at the shard – or entire discourses surrounding Lori Harvey apparently being “passed around”, because she’s collecting Birkin’s like Yu-Gi-Oh cards from your favourite rappers. It doesn’t end.
White women whose occupation is simply having a rich husband are left to live a peaceful existence but God forbid a Black woman passes on Nando’s as the first date.
Black men have this obsession with Black women existing as saviours, or what I like to call “apparatus for the revolution”; they expect us to exist as their assistants and nothing more – the ‘strong Black woman’ box is ours to stay in and we dare not venture out. Not even to sign for the flowers you should’ve sent us because we were simply on your mind.
I propose this: Black women need not feel grateful, we do not need to be quiet and accepting of whatever we are offered. We have all rights to have standards as high as mountains – and wish lists that are metres long.
Black women are allowed to live a life of lavishness and that includes a love with luxury. And that is on that.