“I’m dreaming dreams, I’m scheming schemes, I’m building castles high…”
The past few decades has seen an increasing amount of women attempting to prolong their time in the proverbial sun – only to inexorably fade away. Jennifer Aniston, once known as part of the ensemble cast of the hughly popular 90s-era sitcom “Friends”, fast became a weekly fixture on supermarket checkout tabloids – never able to recover after her divorce from leading man Brad Pitt. Demi Moore, perhaps best known as the other half to action hero star Bruce Willis, had a respectable if somewhat lightweight career as a Hollywood actress in the 90s and early 2000s, the latter aided by her participation in the “Charlie’s Angels” film franchise. Her very nude and very pregnant magazine cover shot and later, her ill-fated marriage to the much younger Ashton Kutcher, was and still is seen by many, as a fading star’s final attempts at relevancy.
Not to be outdone, Nia Long, who is best remembered for her roles in the Black cult-classic films “Love Jones” and “The Best Man” series, also “did a Demi” by posing very pregnant and upped the ante by doing so with no hubbie in tow, this time for the Black female led-Ebony – a fitting and deeply ironic turn of events, given the former’s slow slide to its own oblivion. In more recent times, former fashion model, singer and baby mama Ciara, also posed in a nude and pregnant state for the “always on” social media website Instagram, her hubbie Russell Wilson’s hands on her belly from behind. While no doubt beautiful, Ciara never approached the kind of acclaim that the late Whitney Houston or Beyonce in our time has enjoyed. Many saw her marriage to the Super Bowl-winning quarterback as an unqualified come-up.
These are all the “better” examples of an increasing degree of American women, still desperately trying to “hang on”; social media, like the aforementioned Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, have certainly aided in the effort – to say nothing of “fake news” outfits like Buzzfeed, Vox, Yahoo! News and the like.
That brings us to the fading social media star of one Feminista Jones. Jones, who’s claim to fame is seeking the media spotlight by any means necessary under the guise of fighting for “social justice”, has once again found her name in the headlines – and like the aforementioned faded stars, this time may prove to be her swan song.
Yahoo! News has recently reported that Jones, now 38, has not only become a grandmother through her step-daughter (even though she is no longer married to her husband with whom she shares an 11 year old son) and said step-daughter has recently given birth to her own baby, but Jones herself is now pregnant.
Never one to miss an opportunity to seek attention, Jones is attempting to spin what can only be rightly called a bizarre state of affairs into some kind of broader commentary on the changing nature of familial ties and formation – and to that end, has elicited her Twitter followers to cosign said bizarre state of affairs. The latter – Jones’ penchant for taking to Twitter to get support for her often ill-planned and executed “campaigns” – is her preferred method of “activism” (as if hashtags somehow change things).
In the article, Jones discusses her failed first marriage, the fact that her son seems to be thriving under the care of his father and how she weathered criticism for said failures as a wife and mother. Perhaps the critiques were well deserved, given that she appears to have learned nothing from the first time around and may have even done worse; the article has absolutely no mention whatsoever, of the father of Jones’ baby-to-be. No talk of engagements. No talk of weddings. No talk of him at all.
And all the focus is on Jones. How predictable.
Jones’ star in the social media world began to rise around 2012 or so – that’s when yours truly got wind of her – right around the time when she jumped on the “street harassment” bandwagon. At the time, I was the editor of a men’s blogging collective known as Just Four Guys and wanted to see if I could arrange for an interview with the self-styled activist. Things quickly went south though, and Jones attempted to use our private email exchange as evidence of the naked Sexism in Blackface that outspoken Black women like her must endure on the daily. Never one to take crap lying down, I quickly responded in my new role as urban affairs editor at A Voice for Men, giving my own take on the affair – noting the blatant hypocrisy of one who talks a mean game about “consent”, but is all too quick not to seek it herself when it suits her.
That incident, and the many that would follow, not just between Jones and myself, but between Jones and anyone she doesn’t want to interact with, led me to the conclusion that Jones is anything BUT a “change agent” – she’s a naked opportunist and, to be frank, attention whore; a woman who will, in the name of “social justice”, do anything to get a few more minutes of “fame”.
For example, Jones attempted to glam onto the then-hugely popular “50 Shades of Grey” phenomenon, by penning her own book, “Push The Button”. The book never sold very well, largely for reasons I noted in my review of the work – perhaps the only honest one in existence (all the others are, in a word, sycophantic).
Then, there was the “Are You OK, Sis?” “campaign” – designed to essentially shame otherwise law-abiding men into being the de facto bodyguards for women they didn’t even know, to ward off supposedly unwanted attention from other men on the street. TV One’s advocacy-journalism hit-piece in support of Jones’ position, didn’t even pretend to be objective and seek voices from the other side. The comments section to said piece though, tells one all they need to know about TV One’s journalistic standards, ethics and performance.
Jones even attempted to get some attention off the pain and loss of the daughter of slain New Yorker Eric Garner when a mix-up occurred with her scheduled appearance and meeting with then-POTUS Barack Obama, once again launching a Twitter hashtag “campaign”. The famous quote from the 1950s, “have you no decency?” immediately comes to mind. There are many other examples – all of the sound and fury of tweets from Jones about Ferguson; Flint, MI; and Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation”.
Coincidentally, Jones’ latest attempt at “activism” tries to resurrect the dead corpse of the “street harassment” canard – one that has been so thoroughly discredited that not even more mainstream White feminist organizations will touch it with a ten foot pole – this time framing it as “educating” Black women on what to do when they receive compliments(!). Yes, that’s right, folks – Jones is actually advising her followers, to act like utter jerks if they receive a compliment from a man. It’s come to this and is no shock or closely guarded state secret to see the inevitable logical conclusions; instead of Jones considering that maybe SHE is the one constant as to how and why she keeps getting “bad men” approaching her – she’s left her native NYC and moved to my hometown of Philly (God help us all) – Jones instead wants to put the blame and onus on everyone else for her own problems in life. And she encourages other women to do the same.
Lest anyone out there think that mine is a personal problem along gendered lines with Jones, think again. Since my first tete-a-tete with her a few years back, I’ve been personally contacted by at least a few dozen women – some of whom, if I were to divulge their names, you would recognize – and they have told me in no uncertain terms that they do not think highly of Jones’ high-handed, ham-fisted attempts at attention whoring. However, they are not willing to go on the record for fear of what I have referred to as the Black Borg Female Hivemind coming after them on social media – not merely to disagree or harass them, but to utterly destroy them. That too, is a product of the “mean girls” culture on social media that no one wants to openly admit.
The fact that so many women, mostly but not solely Black, have personally reached out to me to register their displeasure with Jones, is proof that she does not speak for, nor represent, ALL women, Black or otherwise. This is important to keep in mind because of the “funny house effect” of social media – the tendency of it to give a distorted view of what’s really going on in the world. The truth is, that Jones is part of a very vocal and media-attention obsessed minority of people – in this case, Black women – that in truth, does not reflect real life, anymore than the last Avengers movie did. At best, it’s entertaining. At worst, it’s delusional.
Back to Jones-as-Baby Mama Granny.
Perhaps the single biggest takeaway from her pregnancy announcement, is the fact that in so many ways, she is part and parcel of the norm of Black American womanhood today. All of the known evidence, research and stats back this up: most Black women who bear children today are not married. And an increasing number are having the kind of bizarre birthing patterns Jones holds up as something to be celebrated: it is not at all uncommon in Black American life to find Black women who are themselves grannies, having new kids of their own. And before anyone out there tries the “she didn’t get pregnant on her own!” canard, you would be right: it does indeed “take two” to make a pregnancy.
However, it only takes ONE to give birth. Again, note that the baby daddy is utterly absent from the article on Jones. (In fact, her EX-HUSBAND is the one mentioned the most!) This is clearly a decision SHE has made. Such is the case with every woman alive in the United States today. “My body, my choice”, remember? In the Black feminist logic of those like Jones, Black men are little more than sperm donors and silent bystanders in such conversations; Black women’s voices are not only the only ones heard, theirs is the only ones who count. Again, see the article for yourself. Actions speak a hella more than words.
Of course, the big, burning question, is who gets to pay for this new rise of family formation taking root not just in Black American life, but in American life on a whole? For Jones, the answer is easy: being an over-educated social worker out of the University of Pennsylvania who never worked one day in the private sector, it is for the State – read: the taxpayer – to foot the bill for the “my body, my choice” personal decisions of women like Jones. That is the inexorable conclusion when single women have kids – the “village” all has to pitch in to help raise kids it didn’t have a hand in creating, and won’t have a hand in raising. Once again, we see one of the glaring hypocrisies and contradictions that is Black feminism – public support for private decisions. Jones wants (Black) male support, attention and accolade, when it suits her; wants the State/taxpayer to support her and others of her ilk, when it suits her; and wants the public square to serve as her personal sounding board, therapist’s couch and bully pulpit, again, when it suits her. The idea that she has to engage those she may disagree with, or consider the role she herself has played in the arc and trajectory of her own life, are alien concepts. There’s a word for that kind of mindset:
This, at the end, is the legacy of Jones – a gaggle of tweets, a few headlines and a baby out of wedlock more than a dozen years after having her first one in the context of a failed marriage. And she is supposed to be one to emulate? Really?
Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, Judy Dench and Helen Mirren, have to be looking on with chagrin.
Mumia Obsidian Ali is the Sunday columnist for the Negro Manosphere. He also hosts a daily podcast “talk radio show” called “Obsidian Radio” on YouTube. Follow him on Twitter @ObsidianFiles.