A few days ago satire news site The Onion tweeted a horrific statement calling Quvenzhané Wallis (the youngest actor ever nominated for Academy Award for Best Actress) a cunt. That’s right…a “cunt”. This unbelievable move of degradation was supposedly stated under the guise of humor. Of course, there was a major backlash and The Onion quickly released an apology.
Then, within a few days comedian Kevin Hart was on Saturday night live in a costume supposedly dressed as Quvenzhané. Maybe I missed it somewhere but I don’t find it funny. As some have pointed out these, depictions of Quvenzhané Wallis are in response to what some believe to be her “cockiness”.
And maybe so. This only makes me wonder more why Black women young or old face ridicule for simply believing in themselves? Though its laced with comedic thunder, I believe its another example of an attempt to tear down what so many are afraid of…A confident Black woman. For too long Black women have been taught to be ashamed of themselves. We’re often overly afraid of making the wrong move or saying the wrong thing for fear of backlash. And yet there is still backlash.
With the emergence of the online hit, “Awkward Black Girl”, many felt a deep connection to the main character. Yes, she is awkward and Black. Like me, like many of us. It is one of my all time favorite shows. But at times I wonder if much of this awkwardness we feel is associated with the constant criticisms that come with a Black woman being comfortable in her own skin. If we’re downtrodden and sullen its okay. It is acceptable. However, if we are happy and sure of ourselves there appears to be a problem.
Maybe all of this is really funny…but why I am not laughing?
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