Warning: This is a rant.
A popular website that will not be named on this blog decided earlier in the week that the way to get back at Maya Angelou for endorsing Hillary Clinton is to post Angelou’s photo there on the website with the caption underneath “Ho, Sit Down.”
It’s taken me several days to catch my breath.
Okay, young womyn of the hip-hop generation, whoever you are, whatever you call yourselves, however you define yourselves, where’s the line? When is enuf enuf? When is it not funny anymore?
Not only is Maya Angelou at 79 years old an icon in our community. Not only is Maya Angelou an elder in the village who has made invaluable contributions as a poet and writer and footsoldier in the Civil Rights Movement. Maya Angelou is old enough to be your great grandmother. Baby girl, Maya Angelou is your great grandmother.
Aren’t mothers and grandmothers, and old women, off-limits when we’re fighting?
I’ve been wondering lately, young womyn, where is your line in the sand?
Evidently I, and the women of my generation, can’t decide that for you. The late C. Delores Tucker learned that the hard way back in the early 1990s when she tried to launch a campaign against the filth in rap music and your beloved Eminem and Tupac deployed some pretty filthy language in their lyrics to shut her up.
As someone reminded me the other day, I’ll be collecting Social Security in few years, if it’s still around by then. (Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise.) And as such, you and I are generations apart. What I say is smut, you say is art. What I consider obscene, you consider free expression. What I decry as profane, you embrace as edgy. What I label risky, you label sex positive. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
So, here’s what I have to want to know from you young womyn.
Forget what you want in a presidential candidate. Forget what you think about the black church. Forget what you think about feminism and second wave feminists. Forget what you think about your mother.
What do you want for yourselves? What do you consider to be sacred? What are your values? What does it take to make you mad, baby girl? (Thanks Song in the Key of Life for showing that some of you get it.)
But why is there no outrage at calling Maya Angelou a “ho” to match the outrage that was launched against Don Imus? Or was it “nappy headed” that was the real insult back then?
You seem to be knowledgeable and articulate about racism, but can you recognize sexism when you see it? Does it make you mad?
Baby girl, do you know when you’ve been betrayed?
Baby girl, do you even know when you’ve been disrespected?
Baby girl, do you know when you’re hated?
Tears in the eyes. Face in the hands. Elbows in the lap. Chest heaving. And, yes, scarf around my head. I sit here asking myself, ”Lord. Lord. Lord. Somebody tell me, where did we go wrong?”