First of all.
Y’all this album is so fucking good.
This is my current soundtrack.
Please note: I only use the word woman/women very loosely and to include Genderqueer/Femme presenting living folks.
How are these things related? Here’s what I’m thinking.
On the hashtag you’ll see it relates to Ebony which is a traditional Black publication. A lot of Black women write/have written for it. If you look at some of the responses they fall in line with the other link.
Everybody loves to ask or demand Black women do work. Whether it is the exhortation to get ourselves out there and hustle. HUSTLE and get those bylines to show the WHOLE goddamn world what we can do.
I’m here for it.
There is a trap in it. When the places that are supposed to be here for Black people, women in this case fucking fail. This is exploitation and as a larger issue, I see this constantly with freelancing. This is another reason why I hate it so much.
For me personally, living with my particular set of marginalizations I cannot fuck around with people who don’t pay what is agreed upon.
While there is an absolute cachet to scoring those home run bylines, there is peril. As with any industry, when you’re loud about how those in power fuck up, shit gets real. I’ve watched it play out time and time again from writing groups to twitter etc.
We say, hey fuck you pay me. Or say, this editor at X magazine will not respond to my need to be paid. And things can get so bad. Part of the reason for this is that nobody trusts or believes women, especially Black women.
If we say, I’ve been mistreated-BOOM suddenly we’re just being big ole meany face bully gossips. Echoes of rape culture and sexism and Misogynoir.
Now, the person who started the dialogue about Ebony, has been subject to shitty ass trolling especially from other Black folks and from supposed professionals within Ebony. Ebony is not some little three person zine struggling for postage money. This is huge money, this is old money and like so many other things will celebrate Black women out of one side of their mouths and steal food off their table and talk shit about us from the other side.
This is from the big leagues. This is supposed to be the right way to be a writer or to be an activist. These are the people who’s nod we’re supposed to earn.
And they treat us like this.
So, some people like me decide, you know what?
Fuck your legitimate money.
Not that I won’t occasionally get me some but overall, nah.
For a variety of reasons.
So, as y’all know if you read me regularly, I have my donation area and my tipjar and my venmo. It is how a lot of people I know who put in a hell of a lot of work help ourselves survive.
For the type of work I do, for the type of activism I prefer and how I am able to create the shit I’m good at, patronage (YUP we’re going there again) is an ideal model. I have my dayjob and that mostly pays my rent and I have my art. When the mundane parts of my life are paid for, I’m a motherfucking artist juggernaut.
And a lot of the time, my tipjars and whatnot make up for the intense emotional labor I am prone to do in spaces where, a lot of folks don’t appreciate shit.
So then along comes this person who abused their platform to really shit on those of us who aren’t operating within spitting distance of legit money acceptability.
I’ll quote from the post I linked to above:
They discourage Black activists and organizers from Liberation, and inspire them to chase individual fame and fortune from white power. They reinforce respectability and funnel shared resources into their own crusty Black hands. They use us when needed, but abandon us when necessary.
This is why I will not and cannot fuck with people like this. And the person who started the bullshit about what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of the hustle and doing the work is the type person who helped drive me away from freelancing.
This culture of deciding that you ONLY count if you are acceptable. If you don’t tell, if you are a Good Negro, if you get by in an acceptable way is pure fucking garbage. There is nothing revolutionary or cute about replicating the macro world problems in a microcosm.
That said, there is money in aligning yourself with the “right” way.
I mean, that blogger is making some coin right?
Ebony is still making them coins.
I respect the hustle. Y’all know the old saying, don’t hate the player, hate the game. I hate the game.
Fuck that game.
That game and trying to play it really almost killed any desire I had to ever write another essay. These behaviors hurt me in what at times feels like an irrevocable way.
On the other hand, it does fire me up. Knowing that I am doing exactly what I need to do in order to be the best creator I can be is amazing.
Yes, these things are still exhausting and painful. It hurts me as a Black Femme/mostly womanish type person to see Black women shit on each other to get ahead.
It hurts my actual soul. It hurts my heart because these are the tools of White Supremacy and if we can’t stop using them against each other what chance do we have of expecting White people to not use them against us?
Now here’s the thing.
I have zero expectation of agreeing with or kumbayahing our way out of it.
What I hope is that at the very least we stop shitting on each other for cash.
I know, we ALL need to make money. Y’all know I am about that hustle and grind life. But not at the exposure of people who are also marginalized.
Let’s not. We can do better.