“Banji” Is Set To Become The New “Shade”

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So I like Sharaya J’s track “Banji.” The video works, too. It’s cheapness done right: creative, energetic, and engaging. And if this song and video are any indication, it looks like we may have ourselves a worthy successor to Missy Elliott. Wait, let me fix that. There is potential there though I realize that even with a Missy co-sign and backing, one has a ways to go before truly being worthy of such a title. Cool your crotches, just throwing it out there with hopeful intentions.

With all of that said, I can’t help but think, “And here goes another instance of a Black gay term hitting the mainstream by way of a non-gay Black male.”

Minutes after I watched Sharaya J’s video, a friend hit me up via text asking, “Hey. Am I wrong for being irked by straight women using the term ‘hunty?’ It is beyond annoying to me.”

She followed with an example of a co-worker instantly abusing “yaaaaas hunty” with the new Black gay guy in the office. She assumed that because the dude likes dudes he must’ve been not only knowledgable of the lingo, but uses it all the time. The homie noted how it’s the equivalent of a white person “Being all “yes, girlfriend!’ to Black women. Just stop.”

And much like that white person trying to get you to answer questions about Waka Flocka or Barack Obama, not every colored knows everything there is to know about the ways of the Negro culture. Same goes for the gay boys.  Hell, I mentioned this song to a Black gay dude and hit Urban Dictionary before I could explain. Plus as the homie Fresh reminds me constantly, “You didn’t even speak the Queen’s English.” For those curious, I’ve improved by leaps and bounds — making other friends proud in the process. Insert your “yasss” here. It’s fine.

I knew about “banji” because my kin’s friends would call me that in the club years ago. Apparently they thought I was “classy” because of the way I was dressed. To which the kin would bark back, “Who?! That nigga?! Pssh. Wait another hour and a couple of drinks.” I was later told that they would indeed see me later on – singing along to certain tracks, throwing up Hiram Clarke, jigging – and conclude, “OH, he banji like you.” That’s a read.

So yeah, I do find it annoying when straight women go out of their way to throw out a “hunty” in that I’m about to make you my gay pet sort of way, or as my friend noted: “The overuse of any slang is annoying.” Still, I don’t find it that troublesome generally speaking since it’s not done with malicious intent. It’s merely excitement about the something new around them. You can turn it down a few notches before you make a motherfucker deaf, but your purpose is understood.

Now what does bug me about this and instances like it is how it shows you aspects of gay Black culture all over pop culture at large yet we continue to be way in the back. Well, unless we have on a dress. No, that’s not shade, just an assessment of the situation at hand.

I don’t begrudge Sharaya J, but I do boo, hiss at the people who partake in this trend who are in the positions to change such realities but don’t. I’m sure if you turn on Bravo and figure out one perfect example there. Then you can flip to other channels for those with darker interests. The examples are everywhere. It’s too bad I can’t say the same about members of the culture.

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