Talk about a fly in the ointment. Home Team History has always been one of my favorite YouTube channels, because its videos are solidly informative and its message is uplifting. It’s run by a Black man and is refreshingly free of the misogynistic vitriol that often comes pouring out of other channels run by Black men. Instead of leaving wondering if the brother would benefit from some therapeutic psychotherapy, we are sent away with a beautiful benediction to know ourselves, remember our ancestors and be in peace.
But I just couldn’t catch his message on his latest. Take a look.
Just … How does the longstanding history of Black men being maligned and slandered by outside oppressors connect with Snoop being allowed to attack and threaten Gayle King’s life in an Instagram video?
Black men are the only men who publicly and viciously denigrate and insult their own women. And relish it! The advent and use of the Internet to connect strangers has only amplified some deeply rooted patriarchal attitudes and juvenile, hostile behavior that just comes flooding our way. Other groups of men mistreat their women and brutalize them, for sure, but they somehow manage to keep it further away from the public gaze and they almost never praise other women’s beauty, grace and desirability over their own.
Almost from the beginning of our use of the Internet, Black men have made it a pattern to mock, jeer and publicly disrespect Black women. Whether we realize it or not, this longstanding public behavior, and Kobe Bryant’s worshipful global following made it OK for Snoop to make that Instagram video, call Gayle King out of her name, and order her to respect ‘the family’ or ‘we’ were gonna come get her. I respect why Snoop felt emotional and protective of Kobe Bryant’s legacy, and why he thought bringing up a rape allegation in an interview before the man was even buried was the wrong move. I feel that way, too. But I part ways with him when it comes to how he expressed his feelings and for whom he claimed to speak.
This here member of the family will never take up arms against Gayle King. Do Black men jump to defend our posthumous legacies, or protect us from bullies, even when they see something going down that’s wrong?
Exhibit A: Terry Crews’ shameful abandonment of Gabriel Union, essentially saying her experience of micro-aggressions and mistreatment on AGT were her problem and not his. What a way to pay it forward after Black women rushed to support him when he bravely stepped forward with his story of sexual harassment and misconduct at the hands of an industry predator. Literally. The simple fact is that Black men do not love or value us publicly like we love them. Maybe they do feel protective of and loyal to us, but I don’t see them express it whenever someone posts a video or photo of Lizzo and the trolls go in on her about her body.
Exhibit B: I could write an entire book chapter on my theories about why Vanity Fair film critic K. Austin Collins attacked a 7-year-old girl for looking like her Black father. Oh, to be a psychologist to unpack how his New Year’s Day Tweets were rife with misogyny, colorism, and self-loathing. Let’s start by just looking at his profile pic. Posing it up. Smug and unbothered. Concealing his African features against a pastel-colored sky and vilifying a little girl for carrying her Black father’s features as her legacy.
Black women need to stop breaking our necks to run to Black men’s rescue all the time, if this is the thanks we’ll get. If Black men cannot dredge up any common decency to refrain from attacking a little girl, however wealthy her parents are, said individuals are trash.
Black men suffer from an obvious case of half-love for us, but we make it easy. We compartmentalize the insults and the indifference, contextualize it in history and systemic racism, as if we are not penalized by the same things, and we remember to be loyal and turn right back around and defend them whenever we see something going wrong. Ari Lennox is a great example. A *Black male* Twitter troll called her a Rottweiler, and when she tearfully expressed her feelings about it, music industry media host Joe Budden rubbed salt in the wound and said she was being too sensitive. Yet Ari shook this off and jumped right to Snoop’s defense because she felt that what Gayle King did was wrong. Our loyalty never ceases to amaze me, and sometimes it baffles me, quite honestly.
The one good thing about this situation was that it was resolved within our own community. Yes, CBS chimed in with a comment supporting Ms. King, but it was Snoop’s mother who sat him down and had that conversation with him, leading him to apologize, and Ms. King accepted it. I don’t think anyone needs to see the apology as some kind of humiliation or bringing a Black man to heel. No white-owned corporate entity threatened to take anything away from Snoop.
The time for Black men to disagree with us publicly without tearing us down has been a long time coming. And who knows? Maybe this could lead to a further meeting of two minds I respect, or at the very least a turning point toward greater public civility between Black men and Black women. Why is that so hard to expect?