It’s Time For President Obama To Talk Racism

Whenever a story centered on race, or better yet, racism reaches the national media, those looking for President Barack Obama to address the situation are met with a singular question: “What do you expect Obama to do?” It is a question that is as ardent as it is asinine and is an inquiry prefaced on the notion that the most-powerful man in the world is impotent when it comes to instances of hatred and horror taking place on the very land that is the source of his power. It’s as if those posing this question don’t know much about precedence let alone the executive orders and tone-setting speeches associated with it.

After watching a paramilitary police force tear gas peaceful protesters, threaten journalists with mace on-air, and even attempt to block the camera broadcasting these gross violations of civil liberties, the question, “What do you expect Obama to do?” ought to yield very easy answers: to lead, to set the tone, to help restore order, to be a statesman, to be the President he was elected twice to be.

Last Thursday, President Obama exercised his trademark “measured tone” while addressing the clashes between protestors and police, after the shooting death of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Not surprisingly, Obama wagged his finger at all parties involved. President Obama said, “There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting, nor is there an excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protestors.”

No, there’s no excuse for vandalism and looting, though once again, the anger is palpable and understandable. Even so, the problem with Obama’s remarks is that he’s giving an even-handed shaming on a matter where the imbalance should be obvious: As much as this country currently loves to pretend that corporations and the businesses they profit from are our equals, damaged property is in no way on equal footing with the loss of human life. A broken window or stolen packs of silky Brazilian weave is not on par with an officer shooting a teenage boy in cold blood and leaving him to lie in his own blood for several hours.

As the newly released preliminary private autopsy confirms, Michael Brown was shot at least six times — including twice in the head. We have to wait for more intel, but as of now, it looks as if Michael Brown was shot execution-style. But no matter how he was killed, his death remains the grievance. Moreover, it is Darren Wilson’s character that should be currently under a microscope, not Michael Brown’s.

After all, this is the monster who shot and killed Brown and could not even be burdened with the task of calling for an ambulance. Meanwhile, an officer who shot a dog in Illinois was quickly fired. One can only imagine the kind of swift justice Michael Brown’s parents would have received if they had raised their child to bark on command.

This is why I was frustrated when I heard Obama say last week, “Now’s the time for healing, now’s the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson.”

And on Monday, Obama reiterated much of these same remarks, only with even less emotion coupled with a plug for his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. These remarks are just as useless on Monday as they were last Thursday.

They are passive words and I’m sick of hearing racism discussed in weaker tones. I admire and respect President Obama, but if he can go to a Morehouse College commencement andlecture graduates about the importance of education, he can speak to a nation about the evils of racism — directly in Ferguson. Obama has no issue being stern when it comes to addressing Blacks about our faults, but holds “beer summits” with racist cops.

Black people are suffering.

Our disproportional economic struggles have still yet to be properly addressed, but at the very least, can we finally see our very lives acknowledged in a meaningful way? My Brother’s Keeper is a good initiative, but your brother cannot keep you safe from the increasing terror of a militarized police force that unjustly targets Black men and women.

One of Obama’s most-infamous quotes is, “I’m not the president of Black America. I’m the president of the United States of America.”

Indeed, but at one point does President Obama recognize that Black people are a part of America too, and that our concerns are as worthy as everyone else’s?

Read the rest at NewsOne.

Black People Have A Right To Be Raging Mad

Whatever perverse view the Ferguson police officer had of Michael Brown — and all Black men like him — before taking his life and leaving him to lay in his blood for hours afterward, his mother has made sure to counter such characterizations. Lesley McSpadden described her now-fallen son as a boy with the sort of disposition that made him more like “a big teddy bear” as opposed to someone who deserved to be slaughtered like a dog in the street. McSpadden went on to explain, “He was a good boy. He deserved none of this. We need justice for our son.”

No stranger to this kind of disregard toward Black people’s humanity, attorney Benjamin Crump, who has since been retained by Brown’s parents, made his thoughts clear at a recent press conference. “I don’t want to sugarcoat it, their baby was executed in broad daylight,” Crump noted. “We want to know and see exactly what happened because this family rejects what the police authorities said at their press conference.”

As does Michael Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, who along with other eyewitnesses, disputed Brown’s killer’s claims that he shoved the officer and tried to wrestle the officer’s gun from him.

Any Black man living in this country and who values his life knows better than to tempt fate that way.

The truth may be less imaginative but no less chilling: Even when we don’t fight back, our presence is still intimidating to the point where select members of law enforcement feel no choice but to shoot us dead.

Such a revelation brings justified anger, and while Brown’s parents have encouraged protesters to remain peaceful, their rage is understandable.

Protesters arrived with signs and peaceful discourse and were greeted with dogs, rubber bullets, and tear gas.

And as New York Times correspondent Julie Bosman reported via Twitter, these rubber bullets were even shot in the direction of journalists and photographers. Meanwhile, area police officers describe the scene as a “war zone” and even when protesters sought an exit, the police reportedly blocked them from locating one. There’s since been word of one police officer referring to protesters as “fucking animals” during coverage on CNN.

Yet, some wonder why some of the protesters supposedly sang, “F*ck the police.”

And while I don’t necessarily excuse the acts of looters and those described as “rioters,” I do have empathy. This is why I take issue with Jonathan Capeheart’s “A Shameful Way To Protest the Michael Brown Shooting,” where he writes, “This is not how you make authorities understand your anger and concern. This is not how you get others to join your cause.”

You mean the authorities who shot a Black child in cold blood, left him in the street for hours as some sort of “example” to other people in his area, and greet peaceful protest with nothing but contempt and the intent to further antagonize? The same authorities who employ individuals who refer to the rightfully angry public as “f*cking animals.” The authorities who enter their neighborhood and limit their access?

I am not in the business of policing people’s emotions particularly with respect to dire situations such as these. Anger has its consequences, including irrational behavior. It doesn’t make it right, but learn to have compassion for people in a situation you have yet to experience. There’s a time for discussions on personal responsibility and there’s a time to look at tragedy and respect the rightful rage it creates.

Many people are angry and they are running on empty.

Read the rest at NewsOne.

“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” Recap: Mimi and Stevie J Admit the Obvious

Mimi is the slowest bus in the HOV lane. I know, I know. She’s still reeling from the loss of her father, so I could stand to be a bit more sensitive. I’d rather not, and in my defense, Mimi been on that bullshit, which is why I say Mimi Faust is that friend you debate giving your new cell phone number to. She’s the kind of person who when met with a love tap by reality, would rather file a battery report versus just accepting the gift of truth. It takes a very special kind of friend to put up with that kind of persona. That said, I hereby declare her friend Ariane the Patron Saint of Putting Up With Worrisome People—and I have never been happier to be a big ass heathen.

This week’s episode kicked off with Mimi confronting Nikko about reports that he is married. Nikko nonchalantly acknowledged that he is indeed married and had no intention of ever disclosing that tidbit of information to his girlfriend. When prompted more about why he didn’t feel the need to do so, all he said was, “The question was never asked until now”—totally missing the point that one shouldn’t have to ask their boyfriend if they have a wife somewhere. Keeping up with the theme of feigned aloofness, all Nikko could say to Mimi about her anger is “I don’t get it.”

Of all the times Mimi has huffed and puffed and cussed someone smooth out, she opted out of doing so during this conversation. Way to not seize the moment, Mimi.

Knowing that people were going to find out about Nikko the same way she did, Mimi sat Ariane and Erica down to explain the situation while ultimately revealing the truth about that porno she shot with someone’s husband. Y’all, even after explaining that Nikko is a lying ass liar, she still sat there in front of her friends denying the possibility that Nikko leaked the tape himself. But after being called out on the production value of her porn, Mimi noted, “The initial tape was homemade.”<

Let Mimi tell it, the production company told them that they didn’t provide enough footage for a full release, so they went and shot some more. Honestly, this is about as big a reveal as Mimi saying she was born with a vagina. However, I am glad she did finally acknowledge that she is a porn actress because based on the preview of the tape, it looked like they fucked in an Extended Stay America room out in Marietta, Georgia, with catering service provided by Gladys Knight’s Chicken in Waffles in the next room.

When asked why she didn’t divulge the whole part of reshooting the sex scenes, Mimi said she didn’t feel the need to. Surprise, surprise: She only wants to tell the truth after feeling burned by her Forever 21 version of Stevie J. Either way, it explains her attraction to both men. She has a love-hate relationship with the truth, too. The scene ended in anger—Mimi’s—after she got super defensive over accusations that Nikko and his wife may be tag teaming that ass for a come up.

Later, Mimi would calm herself down to meet with Nikko’s old roommate. Yes, that same roommate K. Michelle claimed was actually Nikko’s homie, lover, friend. I don’t know how true that is, but I will say watching the scene of the two had me humming, “Woman to woman, have you ever been in love?” In any event, it only lent more credence to the “Nikko is using you, girl” theme by revealing that Nikko had long admitted to wanting to get Mimi on tape.

I bet Mimi still keeps Nikko around, though. Ariane, God bless you.

In related you ain’t shit news, Stevie J took a break from sociopathy to tell Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta superfan Snoop Dogg that he smashed Althea in Benzino’s house.

Read the rest at Complex.

You Don’t Have the Answers, Rand Paul

As a presidential contender, I take Rand Paul about as seriously as I do the idea of Iggy Azalea, professor of African American Studies at Howard University. Fortunately for Rand Paul, one doesn’t have to be especially serious to have a legitimate shot at securing the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 – not that Kentucky junior senator isn’t shooting for such a perception all the same. Still, for all his push to get folks to “Stand With Rand,” the more the man talks, the more he trips all over himself. And when it comes to his way of handling issues that affect minorities, the more he switches positions, the frustrated I become with this narrative about Rand Paul, the new outreach king.

Case in point: Him essentially offbeat moonwalking away from the lunch table after he and immigrant-bashing Rep. Steve King were approached by two beneficiaries of the DREAM program.

While Paul and King dined during a fundraiser for King in Iowa (aka “the Mecca for the aspiring presidential candidate”), Erika Andiola said, “My name is Erika. I’m actually a Dreamer myself.” Paul’s aide Sergio Gor reportedly then nodded his head to Paul and Paul proceeded to shimmy on by Andiola and her friend and fellow dreamer. Paul was visibly chewing and left behind his half-eaten hamburger – suggesting that his exit was an abrupt decision. Now he did bring his to go cup with him. I suppose I would want to sip on something, too, after being put on blast in such fashion.

And yet, Gor got defensive about the idea of Paul ducking anyone, claiming that Paul simply had to go talk to the media. Uh huh. As Joan Walsh points out at Salon, if you’re going to parade yourself as someone that is for immigration reform, you needn’t shy away from relatively harmless debate over a hamburger. Others, like TIME’s Michael Scherer, have argued that it was a smart choice, explaining: “His aide wisely advises him to leave his sandwich behind and clear out of the screen — and it’s a good thing he does. King, whose role in the political debate over immigration is basically the opposite of a firefighter’s role at a fire, does not disappoint.”

Therein lies another problem with Rand Paul: him reaching out to groups in the name of widening the Republican electorate and then aligning himself with people and positions that have alienated them to begin with. You know, like Steve King who claim Latino immigrants have developed “calves the size of cantaloupes” as a consequent of functioning as a drug mule.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times published “Rand Paul Stands Out in Courting Black Voters,” which celebrated Congressman Ron Paul’s son for doing what any politician should do: try to reach as many people as possible. To be fair, Paul does deserve some credit for partnering with Eric Holder to work on an overhaul of the federal drug sentencing policy. The same can be said of partnering with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to reform criminal background checks and certain aspects of the juvenile justice system.

But two months before that story ran, another one quoted the obviously running for president for Rand Paul criticizing his party’s stance on voter ID laws: “Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing. I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

Not long after came the backpeddle in the form of: “At no point did Senator Paul come out against voter ID laws. In terms of the specifics of voter ID laws, Senator Paul believes it’s up to each state to decide that type of issue.”

So just like he’s willing to talk immigration reform, but likes to dine with unabashed bigots, Rand Paul would seemingly like for Black people to consider voting Republican, and in particular him, but he thinks it’s up to the state to decide whether or not those Blacks can even vote? Got it. Now, how grateful should I be right now for someone like Rand Paul and is methodology on minority outreach?

Read the rest at EBONY.

Why Isn’t Janelle Monáe A Bigger Star?

Given her level of talent, range, and yes, beauty, why isn’t Janelle Monáe a bigger deal by now? Her gifts as a singer, songwriter, dancer and overall performer are certainly worthy of larger notoriety. The fact that she opts not to present herself in a way that is ultra sexualized is the antithesis to the current musical landscape that so many say we need (and rightfully so) – making her by default a much more interesting figure than many of her peers.

Janelle Monáe doesn’t have to be as big a star as Beyoncé, Rihanna or Nicki Minaj, but why has she yet to reach the stature of even more apt peers like Frank Ocean and Miguel?

In a then hotly contested review of The Electric Lady, former New York music critic Jody Rosen offered an explanation as to why Monáe’s press doesn’t match the performance of her music: her image may be a wee bit too conceptual, and her music, too referential. In a rebuttal over at Flavorwire, a seemingly very offended Tom Hawking claimed that Rosen pigeonholed her and proceeded to offer a bunch of other musings performed in the key of Kumbaya. It’s a testament to how defensive some fans get when something “different” is criticized, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

While I’ve been a Janelle Monáe fan since the days of The Audition and Metropolis-Suite I: The Chase, thus far it’s her skill as a performer and eye for visuals that stand out most. That’s not unlike her contemporaries, but the difference is that they have the songs to propel them to stardom.

I enjoy her mesh of influences, but when packaged as near 20-song albums, it comes across as both too much two-fold: derivative and inconsistent. Neither of which match the grandiose concepts they’re packaged with.

I wonder what difference a little more cohesion and simplicity would make.

Read the rest at VIBE.

How I Realized That I Have to Dress Like a Grown-Up, Even if I Don’t Want to

“Put ya arms up….Whew! Ya small.” 

Shadiness about my size aside, the Caribbean woman working at Macy’s was a life saver when I approached her with a specific, time-sensitive goal in mind: to find a tuxedo on a Tuesday and have it ready for a Saturday wedding. I had been given a three-month window to prepare, but naturally, I waited until the last minute to get everything done.

That would include getting it altered in time and finding whatever else in the hell one needs for a black tie affair. As recently as two months ago, I knew about as much about black tie affairs as Katy Perry seems to know about actual Black people. Even sadder was the fact that when everyone asked me my measurements, I didn’t have the slightest idea. The only measurements I can remember are “36-24-36” and that’s only important to a room full of old people at a cookout or a hole in the wall club.

One of my new favorite people ever, Nicole Richie, put it so eloquently on her VH1 show, saying, “I’m grown up, but I’m not like, a GROWN-up.” This philosophy is pretty true when it comes to how I tackle time management and general responsibility, but most certainly correct in assessing my preparedness and ability to dress for truly adult affairs. When you’re blessed with an invite to a wedding and various fancy people events, even if you’ve never been anywhere nicer than Olive Garden before, you know you better show up and put on some Meryl Streep type performance—looking and acting right immediately upon arrival.

Then again, even when it comes to invitations to speak at events less formal in dress code but still requiring a level that’s more than denim and a tee, I’m usually still ill-prepared and in a rush to find something to wear. This happened to me last year, and basically all I did was duplicate a look I wore to an internship interview several years prior. Luckily, no one in attendance was the wiser.

You see, I work primarily from home, a place where pants can be oppressive, and things like jackets, ties, and dress shoes don’t even enter the conversation. Even worse was that up until a year ago, I lived in Los Angeles – not exactly the place for dressing sharp and formal if you’re not attending an awards show. Yeah, damn me for not learning Final Draft well enough.

Regardless, it is a different time now.

Read the rest at Complex.

Pull It Together, Keyshia Cole

Keyshia Cole’s marriage has crumbled, and judging from her Instagram postings—increasingly centered on the codependent themes of “fuck love” and “men ain’t shit”—she doesn’t seem to be at the place Oprah would deem “her best self.” For the fans dismayed by Keyshia’s last few albums—the so-so Woman to Woman and the oh so disappointing Calling All Hearts, respectively—her personal pitfall has inspired hope about her professional future. This is largely fueled by the belief that, like her musical mother Mary J. Blige, her happiness watered down her music.

Yet, very few people sang along with me about slapping a bitch like Rick James, and even I joined the chorus in ignoring other recent Keyshia releases, “Next Time (Wont Give My Heart Away)” and “She,” which is one of those bandwagon bisexual-themed songs that typically wears on the last nerve of anyone sitting alongside the LGBT rainbow.

During a recent interview with The Breakfast Club, Keyshia Cole was asked why some of her new singles weren’t connecting. She said she didn’t know, but I have an idea: They’re not especially great. It has nothing to do with the sentiment in her songs, be it anger or unabashed joy; it’s an issue of how these songs are structured.

The same goes for the post-happy Mary J. Blige albums (2005’s The Breakthroughexcelled) that hardcore fans supported out of loyalty, but tossed aside in their heads in favor of the first three or four albums. Mary has since found her way. The decent Think Like A Man Too soundtrack, the very interesting collaboration with Disclosure, and word of a new project in which she will record a whole album in London consisting of works solely crafted by U.K.-based producers.

Mary is no longer singing from the very bottom of her soul, but her music is not immediately bottom barrel because of it. That suggests focus and effort, which is Keyshia’s new songs thus far have appeared to lack.

Read the rest at VIBE.

Beyoncé and Jay Z’s Response to Rumors: Flawless

The way Beyoncé and Jay Z have managed to straddle the line between not letting the public completely starve from lack of details about their private lives, while keeping us as far away from their bedroom as possible, is impressive. It’s a level of control even the biggest celebrities of the day don’t typically get to exercise anymore.

However, more recently, the media vultures and those that soil so many conversations on Twitter have collectively swarmed around the Carters—pressed to find out if the pretty picture they’ve portrayed all these years is real. And while the rumor mill continues to grind out imaginary Jay and Bey topics to feed itself, the Carters are perfecting their poses and laughing at us all.

Leading the charge is the New York Post’s Page Six column, which swears, on a thousand copies of Dangerously in Love, that the end is nigh for Beyoncé and Jay Z’s marriage. That prediction has since spilled over to daytime on programs like The Wendy Williams Show and other media outlets looking to cash in on the click bait.

Yet as rumors and speculation began to swirl, the Beyoncé information balloon began to contract.

Having learned the lessons from previous unwanted depictions, Beyoncé has learned to control the narrative and react to unwanted attention on her own terms. This was especially evident in Beyoncé’s HBO documentary (not really) Life Is but a Dream, in which she told the story of her life through a glorified Instagram filter.

Or in other words, she and her husband have learned that if you’re going to be trolled, you might as well troll back.

Case in point, Beyoncé quipped in the newly released remix to “Flawless”: “We escalate, up in this bitch like elevators. Of course sometimes s–t go down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”

This recalls other reactions to rumors circling all things Beyoncé and Jay Z. For example, whether or not their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was truly carried by Beyoncé, or if her conception and subsequent delivery mirror the storyline on Halle Berry’s new show, Extant.

Even if we saw video of the birth, I imagine some people would still argue that because those two are so rich, they probably tapped someone from the Avatar production team to put a clip together. Oh, wait, the public has since moved on to Blue Ivy’s hair and whether or not Child Protective Services ought to be called in to bring a comb.

Which led to Jay rhyming, “They even talk about your baby crazy,” on “Picasso Baby.”

Meanwhile, when it came to the rumors about the state of her marriage, Beyoncé didn’t give an interview or pen some blog post; she took to Instagram to upload pictures with captions like, “My favorite hue is Jay Z Blue.” There are clips as recent as this past weekend of them dancing together onstage and gleefully smiling at each other.

Even this didn’t stop the speculative articles from discussing Beyoncé the divorcee. In one story, a crisis coach was quoted: “She is going to be the most powerful woman in the world, hanging out with Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey and Blue Ivy and talking about being a single mom. The goddess suddenly becomes even more relatable to women everywhere.”

To be fair, when you see Beyoncé’s sister re-enacting “Street Fighter” in an elevator with an unwilling participant in Jay Z, there is reason to pause and wonder if there’s a problem in the relationship. Even so, they collectively released a statement back in May that spoke of accountability and reconciliation.

Naturally, this was not enough to appease folks because it didn’t include details about where Solange learned to roundhouse kick, whether or not she made Jay Z bleed, and if so, what might his blood type be?

Read the rest at The Root.


“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” Recap: Momma Dee and Thi Thi Wanna Sing

Thanks to what presumably was an attempt to create a strong lead-in for its newer shows—the awkward Dating Naked and the hilarious Candidly Nicole, respectively—we were treated to a second episode of Love & Hip Hop Atlantalast Thursday. It continued from immediately where we left off on Monday—Karlie Redd discovering that Yung Joc was not out of town on business and was instead with his chauffeur-realtor-semi-annual sidepiece. You know, the one who looks like Nivea in her second trimester. Anyhow, Karlie Redd confronts them and asks Joc a very pertinent question: “How the hell do you go from here to a fat bitch?”

See, Karlie, it’s fine to be upset about being cheated on, but don’t shame the chubby chasers. Some people enjoy love handles and that’s perfectly fine. As the two went back and forth, it was clear Joc was enjoying the confrontation and the screen time way too much. For all the Karlie Redd-bashing he did—calling her a “dumb broad” for still fucking with him after he came home smelling like he hosted someone else’s vagina monologue—she’s the only reason he has a storyline. So, point goes to Karlie Redd, though I have to giveJoc some acknowledgement for the line, “You know you’ve been diagnosed with THOTism.”

Well played, sir.

After that exchange came a serious conversation between Mimi and DebAntney, which kicked off with Deb declaring, “Me and Mimi have some things in common: pain.” Deb says she wants to serve as a mother figure for Mimi. Mimi sure could use one (along with a therapist), especially if you recall what we learned about Mimi’s Scientologist mama in the first season. The story is even worse than we thought as Mimi revealed that she was conceived during her mother’s affair with her biological father, whom she didn’t meet until she was 16. Her mother handed her a piece of paper with his name and that was that. Good grief this is woman damaged.

Speaking of bad things, Mimi did agree to meet with Stevie J only to leave before finishing her drink, ‘cause after he vaguely acknowledged he was wrong for disrespecting her on the day her father died, he proceeded to bash “Freakko.” Of course, everyone on Planet Earth who watches this show agrees that Nikko ain’t it, but I guess when you embarrass the absolute shit out of your baby mama on national television you can’t be all “He can’t lead you and then take you. Make you and then break you. Darlin’, you hold the power.”

Now, on to my favorite portion of the episode: Althea’s musical debut (on the show).

Althea used to be signed to Def Jam and Foxy Brown’s label or something back in the day. Plus she apparently studied ballet, jazz, and tap, which suggests she could’ve been a Mýa if she hadn’t been such a hater bitch. None of that was evident in her performance last night, though. No shade, but when your name is Althea you’ve got to move better than Ashanti.

Perhaps boo-loving with Benzino kept her away from practice, but Thi Thisounded out of breath and in need of a flashlight to find the pitch. As for those dance moves, she was dancing like a stripper on the last half hour of her shift who become even more exhausted upon realizing that she still has to go home and make that double cheeseburger macaroni Hamburger Helper for her kids.

However, everybody can’t be Beyoncé, or even Ciara, so it’s all good, Thi Thi. I have since listened to the studio version of “Ghetto Love” and that shit knocks. It’s a thot bop, but if you’re into Thot ‘N B like me that won’t deter you. Some people will hate, but I’m Team Motherfucking Thi Thi.

Read the rest at Complex.

Were You ‘Acting White?’ Or Just…Corny?

I am not in the business of invalidating anyone’s experiences – particularly if those experiences cause a person a sense of pain. Still, I often worry about those who refuse to let go of certain grievances. I am even more concerned about anyone who can’t grasp that when assessing the collective, his or her anecdotes are the Pam from Total to data’s Beyoncé. So although I can understand how taunts of “acting White” may make select Black folks feel a way, can everyone stop pretending that Negroes hate intelligence to the point that if a Black boy takes AP geography, to many it’s grounds to enter him in the racial draft in exchange for the buff Jonas Brother?

At a recent My Brother’s Keeper town hall, President Obama dug into his bag of lingering adolescent issues to trot out this sad lil’ trope once more. Obama acknowledged that the notion of “acting White” as sometimes “overstated,” but went on to argue “there’s an element of truth to it.” And then he recited lyrics from this sad love song that keeps wrecking my brain like crazy – about Black boys reading too much or dressing a certain way, blah blah.

Both President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama love to discuss this in rooms filled with mostly Black people, only to have others tag themselves in to help spread the lie. Enter Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, who in his post “Obama goes there on ‘acting White,’” recalls his own experiences and how he, too, felt moved to tell a room full of Black high school graduates to not be afraid of intelligence.  Or as he put it, “I felt a moral obligation to set their minds right on ‘acting White’ or ‘wanna-be White’ before they headed off to college.

But if they’re already heading to college, evidently education doesn’t bother the children that much.

Thankfully, his colleague, Nia-Malika Henderson, noted that the 1986 research paper that popularized the concept of “acting White” has been debunked – again and again and again and again over the course of 20 years. Henderson points to one study in particular that highlights that a “Black student might have Black friends who rib them about taking an AP class, but they also have black friends who encourage it.” That’s what makes Obama and Capehart’s complaints about “acting White” so ironically hilarious: They both argue about knowing where you come from but being a part of the larger culture, but they each seem to miss the idea that making fun of – especially “nerdy” ones – is universal.

So is mocking an individual from one cultural group who is socialized primarily with a different cultural group and takes on many of their mores. Yes, there is more than one way to be Black, but some of the folks complaining conveniently gloss over the reality that some Black kids simply get targeted for not growing up around other Black people. It’s not fair, but it’s not grounds to throw your own under the bus. It’s sort of akin to all of those pieces by Black men who date White women, where the Black men in question skip the part about how their upbringing may have led to a cultural mismatch with many Black women – opting instead to falsely accuse Black women of only wanting “thugs.”

if not all around dense, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to act as if that Black culture doesn’t exist. If you want to get more specific in how we identify it  – i.e. urban Black culture – so be it, but it does exist and I’m not going to deny its existence because some people don’t fit within it – especially not in the name of “fitting into the larger culture.”

The “larger culture” often rejects me for just being Black no matter how well spoken and multi-faceted I prove myself to be so I will gleefully be Blackity-Black-Black with the like-minded folks who share extra shots of melanin.

And since we’re all for anecdotes, I can’t recall ever being teased about being smart. As someone “from the hood” who had a dad that only finished high school and a grandfather who only made it to sixth grade, I was encouraged by them and mostly those around me. Now, people had their cracks – about the way I talked, walked, and anything else that screamed “gay.” Hell, when Ali’s “Boughetto” single came out, people had jokes for days.

Thing is, though, everyone keeps teased about something. Such is life only the amount of internal strife you take in based on the comments of insecure people ought to have an expiration date. Like, by the time you’re president of the United States of America.

Read more at EBONY.