Some time ago, I posted an article titled, Equality or (She)quality? In the article I discussed what equality means. I define it as equal expectations and equal consequences. If those are in fact the basis for equality, then men and women are in fact, not equals. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they women don’t want equality. What they really are after is what I term shequality, or equality on their terms, which simply means that they want all of the perks, but no of the responsibility of true equality.
So, with that established, I’d like to submit the latest in a long, never ending line of events that speak to that very point. Let’s look at 3 celebrity divorces. Exhibit A, if you will, is Mary J Blige. She and husband Kendu Isaacs have married 13 years. According to court documents, in that time he served as her manager and negotiated the overwhelming majority of her deals.
Here’s a quick rundown of what he’s asking for:
$110,000 in monthly spousal support
A housekeeper and a $1,000 allowance for new clothes
$5,000 a month to support his parents
$4,971 a month in support for two children from a past relationship
Now, there are other things but those are the highlights. As you can imagine he is being taken to task by women, especially black women. He’s being called a bum and a sorry excuse for a man. He’s being told that he should get a job and stop trying to live off of her success. Yet those same women have no issue when women do nothing besides marry men that are already successful and get to live off of their hard work. However, unlike those women, Kendu actually contributed to her success by acting as her manager. But please, don’t let a little thing like the truth get in the way. Shequality is being displayed in purest form.
Exhibit B, if you will, is the divorce of actress and TV personality Aisha Tyler and her husband Jeff Tietjens. Here’s a quick rundown of the settlement:
Jeff Tietans receives $31,250 a month in spousal support over the next 4 years and additional $500,000 pay for a total of 4 million
All other property split with both getting half the proceeds from selling their house
He gets to keep one car and she keeps the other
This invoked the same ire from women, especially black women that my previous example did. How could it not? Here’s a man, a white man at that, who is attempting to live off the success of a black woman. Once again, let’s look at the facts. Mr. Tietjens and Aisha Tyler have been married since 1992, long before she was famous and was married to her for the duration of her fame.
Exhibit C is the much talked about divorce of Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana. Again, here’s a quick rundown of their divorce settlement:
Janet Jackson receives $100 Million for staying married for 5 years
Janet Jackson receives and additional $100 million for having a child for a total of $200 million.
Now with all the facts on the table, let’s analyze the 3 different divorce cases, public perception of each, and the inequality of them. In the first example, Kendu Isaacs is essentially asking for Mary J Blige to continue to maintain the lifestyle that he became accustomed to while being married to her. That is the same logic that is used in virtually every divorce. Usually it’s the logic used on behalf of women filling for divorce. Furthermore, it’s usually used by women who haven’t contributed anything to the marriage financially and now they want to live large off their soon to be ex.
This isn’t the case with Kendu Isaacs. He actually contributed to Mary J Blige’s success by negotiating her deals and by acting as her manager. So, he can legitimately claim to have been integral to her success and as such be compensated.
Now take Aisha Tyler’s divorce. She and her husband were married for 23 years. He didn’t work for the duration of their marriage, but was married to her before and for the duration of her fame. How is any different from the all the women who don’t contribute anything financially to their marriage, but still expect to maintain their standard of living after divorcing the man that provided them with that lifestyle? It’s not. The only difference is that he’s a man and she’s a woman, so therefore there’s a different set of standards.
Finally, look at Janet Jackson’s divorce. She married a man that was a billionaire on his own. He made his fortune without her. Yet she is getting $100 million because she divorced him, and she made sure to get a baby to ensure that she got an additional $100 million. Yet there is very little public backlash. In fact, the overwhelming sentiment is that she deserves it because she sacrificed for him. To which I reply, what did she sacrifice exactly? Changing one’s religion is a personal choice. No one held a gun to her head. Hell, if he was so overbearing an impossible to deal with, was he not that way when he met? Also, if that’s the case, why stay as long as she did? We already know the answer, 200 million dollars.
In summary, what you have is 3 divorce cases, all with varying degrees of settlement and with spouses playing different roles in all 3. What they all have in common is that had they involved the women asking for and receiving outrageous settlements, irrespective of what they contributed to the marriage, no one would complain. No one would be saying that they should get a job or make their own money. For the record, I don’t believe that anyone, at any time, for any reason should get alimony and certainly not into perpetuity. However, because in 2 of the above cases men are receiving and or asking for support it is an issue. But fair is fair, right?