Are Black Women Fun?

Does this look like fun to you?
                                              Does this look like fun to you?

“Did you sleep on the wrong side?
I’m catching a bad vibe
And it’s contagious, What’s the latest?
Speak your heart, Don’t bite your tongue
Don’t get it twisted, Don’t misuse it
What’s your problem?
Lets resolve it
We can solve it, What’s the causes?
It’s official, You got issues
I got issues, but I know I miss you
Am I supposed to change? Are you supposed to change?
Who should be hurt? Who should be blamed?”
-Aaliyah, “We Need a Resolution”

On a recent trip to Dallas, TX, controversial “femininity influencer” and social media personality Ms. Nicole Michelle had some choice words for the Big D; she said that, unlike non-Black women there, Black women on the other hand and on balance, were unfriendly, refused to smile and just overall not fun to be around. She then offered a full-throated apology to the Black men of that fair city and gave the Black ladies a grade of D-.

Ironically enough, only a few weeks earlier, style and image consultant “Saint” Kevin Samuels had hosted one of his popular “MIT” (which stands for “Men In Training”) events – a kind of mashup between gentlemen’s academy bootcamp, motivational speaking event and pal get together. In line with his maxim that has gone viral – “Show your work” – he was sure to post pics of the event. There they are – at least half a dozen Black men, suited and booted, accomplished, poised, confident, ready to take on the world and meet the ladies.

Immediately on the heels of the success of his event for guys in Dallas, Saint Kevin followed it up with one – his first – for Black women in his newly adopted hometown of Atlanta, GA. The event, which came about at the behest of Black women themselves, turned out to be a dud; the very Black women who had badgered and hectored him for months to put something together just for them, not only failed to show up, they didn’t bother to reply to his emails(!).

Needless to say, that Samuels won’t be hosting any other events for Black women.

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ARE BLACK WOMEN FUN? TO ASK THE QUESTION, IS TO ANSWER IT
I write this column at an interesting time; it’s the final days of 2019 and, as many of you now know, I am also in the final days of writing my first book. In that it is aimed at “Non-Select Guy” Generation X Black men who want to date and mate with Black women, one would think I would have posed this simple question to myself much earlier on in the writing and book-planning process; but, as so often is the case, the truth’s best hiding spot is right in plain sight.

Over the weekend, I had an epiphany – one of those “bolt from the blue” moments that I’ve experienced quite a few times in my life, in fact – and in this particular instance, while doing yet more behind the scenes work on the book, a simple question popped into my head:

“When you hear the words ‘Black women’, does the word ‘FUN’ immediately come to mind?”.

Thinking long and hard about this question for at least 15 minutes, I had to say, that overall, that the answer was no.

Now, are there certain individual Black women I’ve had a ball with? Certainly. But, in the main, no. And I think you, dear reader, were being as honest with yourself as I was with myself, you will agree.

For whatever reasons – and they are legion(!) – Black women have a well-earned and hard-fought reputation for being anything and everything BUT fun. Many seem to revel in “mean mugging” and having a “resting bitch face”; the tagline, “You can’t handle a strong Black woman!” has become the stuff of bumper sticker slogans; and the “sass” that Black women are renown (or notorious?) for reaches back well beyond when I was born. As Ms. K. Michelle said in a popularized radio interview earlier this summer, she not only had high walls to protect herself from getting emotionally (and otherwise?) hurt again in a relationship with a Black man, she saw it as a true test of a “real Black man’s” mettle to see if he could “climb over those walls” – and if he couldn’t, he’s a “bitch-ass/bitch-made” punk whom she don’t need anyway. Defiant and belligerent, even “self-love” social media sensation Derrick Jaxn couldn’t talk some sense into her. Imagine that.

When confronted with these and other clear and present manifestations of the sheer difficulty of being with them, Black women have a litany of reasons, excuses and arguments as to how and why they aren’t, simply, fun to be around:

1. It’s because they’ve been mis-treated in some way by a Black man or men in their past, which would include infidelity, domestic and sexual abuse and so on;

2. It’s because of racism, a legacy of slavery and Donald Trump (Brittney Cooper cites these reasons, for example, as to how and why she’s obese and simply can do nothing about it);

3. It’s because that’s just the way that she is and that a “real man” will be able to “handle it”;

And on it goes.

Often, there is a Black cultural expectation that Black men are simply supposed to “grin and bear it” – the overbearing posture, the antisocial ways and the downright bitchyness of so many Black women, often unwarranted at that – and if you’re a Black man who breaks ranks with such a cultural expectation, there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, deserving of withering and unrelenting scorn in the public square.

You know something? They’re right; I can’t “handle” all of the drudgery that comes with having to deal with far too many Black women today – especially those of my generation. What I’ve learned from many years of dealing with the kinds of Black women that I am discussing today, is that I do in fact have a very low tolerance for “issues”, “attitude”, “digging in their heels” (like the heiffers so many of them are), and just all-around them not being fun and a joy to be around. I’m not built for wrangling with Black women like the ones we’re talking about today, who make it a point of personal pride to be difficult, bellicose and a “force to be reckoned with” – and that you, Black man, have some perverted cultural obligation to put up with it. I like easy women – and a growing number of Black men like em like that, too.

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ENTER THE SYSBM MOVEMENT
Although they appear to be the topic of much raucous and handwringing debate on Black social media at present, in truth what would become known as the SYSBM movement – an acronym that stands for “Save Yourself, Black Men” – has been around for quite some time. I’ve known about them going back to at least the late 1990s. Simply, it is a small but growing and highly influential cadre of American Black men deciding to seek mates beyond the confines of Black America and the country itself – traveling as far away as Colombia and Brazil, for example, to seek women who are, in a word, more fun to be around. As I write these words, what appears to be the first ever “SYSBM manifesto” is being hotly debated by the loyal opposition on Black social media and I would urge the reader to check it out for themselves (“SYSBM – The Basic Fundamentals Of The Lifestyle”, SlayingEvil.com, Oct 21, 2019).

Perhaps better known is the excellent documentary, “Frustrated: Black American Men in Brazil”, by self-taught film maker Al Greeze. You can view it on YouTube for free and has a very interesting backstory. It was made in direct response to a series of articles originally appearing in Essence magazine, bemoaning Black men for seeking fun women abroad (An interesting discussion can be read about all this on the Lipstick Alley website, “Essence Article, Blame It On Rio”, Aug 28, 2006). Eventually becoming a book in its own right, “Don’t Blame it on Rio”, written by Jewel Woods, attempts to paint the Black men who travel to Brazil to chat up the ladies as little more than depraved philanderers on the make to take advantage of poor little third world women. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the simple – and admittedly depressing – fact that many Black women, especially those of my generation, simply aren’t…fun.

Indeed, a full decade later, many of these same bromides are being brought against the current day SYSBM movement, this time with a “woke” twist, in a recent muck-raking piece appearing on the Black Youth Project website dated Nov, 15, 2019: “How one online community has channeled their misogynoir into the “Save Yourself Black Men” movement”. The article alleges that, unlike the apparent forces that motivated Black men a decade ago, which was rooted in supposed sexual depravity, that today, Black men simply hate Black women:

“SYSBM could best be summarized as competitive victimhood. Self-described “thinking Black men” view themselves as victims of Black women’s autonomy. It supports a worldview that Black men are more “safe” being away from them and their alleged dysfunctional behavior, and can find a peace of mind by dating interracially.

For them, this esoteric cabal rationalizes their views about Black pathology, their intentional decision to have children with non-Black women, and to live abroad or in middle- and upper-middle class white neighborhoods they call “Pleasantville.” Proponents believe SYSBM is a growing international movement, but in reality, it’s just a regurgitation of unresolved problems of internalized racism and misogynoir among Black men that has found a home on the Internet.”

Here’s some more:

“Although supporters of SYSBM view themselves as living their best possible lives and expanding their romantic options, the motto is laced with virulent misogynoir and overt anti-Black racism. It associates Blackness with danger, discomfort, and stagnation, whereas whiteness is associated with tranquility, security, and upward mobility. Additionally, it endorses conservative talking points by blaming Black people’s behavior for persistent racial inequality.”

And finally, the piece’s writer, one Mr. Aaron Fountain, Jr., a Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University, sums things up in this way:

“The best way to combat this ideology is for Black men to join Black women in calling out its logical fallacies. How are Black men somehow better off with white women when those marriages have the highest rate of divorce out of all interracial couplings (to which, MadBusDriverX’s response is “so what”)? Black men as a collective group lack wealth, access to capital, and are less educated than Black women, so how can distancing oneself, if even possible, lead to salvation?”

I should like to note to the reader that Mr. Fountain uses the word, “misogynoir” – a term coined by Black feminists some years back and which is supposed to mean a particular kind of hatred directed at Black women (because they’re “special victims”, you see; checkout my previous column, “The Victim Queen”, Dec 9, 2019, Negromanosphere.com) – a total of FOUR times, including the title. As is often the case with Black people, Mr. Fountain seems to have found a word he liked the sound of and uses it until the wheels fall off.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve reached out to Mr. Fountain to discuss his article; he has thus far, declined to comment.

From just the few above paragraphs of Mr. Fountain’s piece we can glean enough information that informs something else about Black women’s un-fun ways that explains quite a few things: their (and our!) addiction to “the beautiful struggle”…

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“THE NOT-SO BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE”
In a powerful statement made during a larger interview on Nov 17, 2018, author and intellectual Shelby Steele discusses “the shock of freedom” (“The Burden Of Freedom/Shelby Steele”, YouTube.com). Steele goes on to explain that for many Black people, the prospect of now being free is a frightening idea, because for so long they could always fall back on “racism” to explain away their own personal failings and shortcomings. Indeed, Steele points to the recent Colin Kaepernick “taking a knee” kerfuffle that held the NFL hostage for a season as a case in point: it was never clearly articulated as to what Colin or other Black NFL players, were looking to do, other than be “offended and outraged”. Even NFL legend Jim Brown weighed in, telling Colin & Co. that they were going about the whole thing all wrong. As of this writing, there is the ADOS movement, pressing its claims for reparations for slavery – as if that’s going to solve the problems extant between Black men and women today. It won’t and I strongly suspect many of us know it; but in the face of a utter lack of meaningful alternatives to address these problems, the band plays on.

Despite their own oft-bellowed claims of “living their best life” and decrying “struggle love”, in truth, many Black women delight in their “struggles” – and because Black women culturally set the tone for much that happens in “Da Communitah” (there ya go, Aaron!), many Black men follow suit. The result is that “Black Love”, such as it is, is framed in a way that is quasi-political in form and function. For example, take Fountain’s quote above, about how Black male/Non-Black female marriages having a divorce rate higher than all other interracial pairings. Now, I won’t dispute that – and if he’s as honest a “race man” as he paints himself to be – especially one that is gunning for doctorate in history at that – then he would know better than anyone exactly how and why those breakups happen at such a high rate (TL;DR – it’s the RACISM, dummy – and it ain’t just from White folk, either. LOTS of Black women are RACIST, too). One doesn’t need to be a formally trained historian to know that the posthumously pardoned boxing legend Jack Johnson, was chased out of the country and his wife committed suicide, behind all of the sheer racial pressure he got from BOTH White AND Black communities (for more on this, checkout the excellent Ken Burns documentary, “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson” on YouTube). More such evidence of this can be seen in the excellent work, “Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance”, by Carla Kaplan, distinguished professor of American literature at Northeastern University – just in case Mr. Fountain might be reading along. But the problem is that ostensibly honest guys like Fountain won’t point out, as Paul Harvey once famously put it, “the rest of the story”.

Well, today, many “pro-Black” types will indeed argue that, even in the face of evidence that Black marriages not only have a higher rate of divorce but also domestic violence than interracial ones, that it is important for the race that Black men put up with Black women and vice versa. This “for the race” argument remains very strong among certain sectors of Black American life today, especially online. And when someone like me merely mentions the word, “fun”, it’s seen as damn near blasphemous – “we don’t have no time for fun when we fightin’ White supremacy!”, dontcha know.

But for a growing segment of Black men like me – accomplished, self-made, retired – we’re not looking for another “fight”. We just wanna have fun. And it has become crystal clear to this writer at least, that in the main and especially for much of the GenXer Black female cohort, “fun” just is not in their repetoire – it is better to take whatever remaining time you have left and head elsewhere.

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YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, IS TO GO OUT AND HAVE FUN!
Since this entire “dating coach” project is a very personal mission of mine, please allow me to wind all this up on a very personal note that, I hope, will be helpful to you, dear reader. At 51 – even now very young for a retiree and almost unheard of a decade ago when it became official after a career-ending workplace injury after 22 years on the job right out of highschool – I’m simply not interested in all of the “struggles” of Black women. I get that this is an offensive thing to say to the ears and minds of quite a few in Black American life; but, I gotta tell the truth and shame the devil. I’m tired of the idea that I have to be held responsible for the actions of, as NeoSoul singer Musiq Soulchild once so eloquently put it, “Previous Cats”; I’m tired of the rationalizations and justifications, not just from so many Black women themselves, but from the whole of “Black culture” itself, as to how and why so many of them are just so difficult to be around; I’m tired of having to, as one of my listeners Platinum Elite put it, “chop these hoes”, i.e., having to cut through all the layers of their defenses, just to have a conversation…to enjoy an evening out…to love. I didn’t spend nearly a quarter of a century of my life, barely a month right out of high school, to toil away from “can’t see in the mornin’ to can’t see at night”, simply to run into another…job. Because that’s what it feels like in having to deal with the rank and file, GenXer Black woman out on the mating market today. Like another job. More work.

And to be brutally honest, I simply do not want to work that hard.

It may be unpopular to say and there may indeed be “reasons” to explain how and why, but the bottomline is that, on average, Black men, especially of my cohort, have a better go of it when chatting up ladies that are “non-ADOS”. They’re easier to holla at, easier to talk to and – gasp! – they’re more cooperative. They say “yes” a lot more often than they say “no” – and if you don’t think that’s not a problem among A LOT of GenXer Black women, then go and read one of their most famous among their ranks, Ms. Shonda Rhimes and how SHE had to train herself to say “yes” more often (“Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person”, Nov 10, 2015, Amazon.com – as of this writing, 4.5 stars out of nearly 2,100 reviews!). I have nothing against Ms. Rhimes or the millions of Black women who vibe to her; but I wasn’t put on this earth to “struggle” with Black women like her. That’s their fight, their issues, their struggle and for what it’s worth I wish her and other Black women like her, all the best.

But it’s not mine.

Just like so many Black women don’t want to “build a boo” – they want an already successful Black man ready to roll, right out of the box, in true “plug and play” fashion; so too do I and millions of Black men like me have zero desire to want to “build a fun sista” – we want one that’s “plug and play”, too.

And if Black women – like Rhimes – aren’t ready to roll, we’re ready and willing, to rollout.

Now adjourn your asses…

MOA

Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host and newly minted dating coach. You can catch his daily live shows on Mixlr, and his podcasts on YouTube and Black Avenger TV, as well as his weekly dating coach column at the Negromanosphere website. He’s also a semi-professional pest.

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