Beyoncé creates space for Blackness regardless of her audience, and it's empowering to witness.By Jazmine Joyner Beyoncé officially changed the game, again, this past Saturday. Her performance at Coachella not only broke streaming records for the festival, but when she took the stage, she also became the first Black woman to ever headline the massively popular music festival, to which she responded, “Ain’t that a bitch?” "Beychella"— a phrase coined by DJ Khaled to describe the impact Beyoncé's performance had on the festival — was a celebration of Black culture, specifically Black collegiate culture, with shout-outs to HBCU Fraternities and Sororities, marching bands, and step teams. Beyoncé created one of the Blackest performances I have ever seen performed at Coachella. Her mother, Tina Lawson, shared on Instagram her concerns for her daughter's performance; “I told Beyoncé that I was afraid that the predominately white audience at Coachella would be confused by all of the Black culture and Black college culture, because it was something that they might not get.” Her daughter’s response to these concerns were thoughtful, “I have worked very hard to get to the point where I have a true voice, and at this point in my life and my career I have a responsibility to do what's best for the world and not what is most popular.” Beychella was by far the most impressive performance I have ever seen put on by any performer. She took the Coachella stage, and gave one hell of a show. Coachella is the ultimate white space—an overpriced festival for privileged white kids to go out into the desert and wear problematic outfits and dance to their favorite bands. It wasn’t until 2014 that the festival started hosting more of a variety of mainstream hip-hop and R&B acts on its lineup. Past headliners were mostly white, featuring Arcade Fire, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phoenix, and Kings of Leon.
The Harts were hideous monstrosities of unbounded proportions.
[Content Warning: child abuse, anti-Blackness, state violence, murder of Black children, suicide.]
Years of reported child abuse claims, including physical harm and starvation, recently culminated in the death of an entire family. Sarah and Jennifer Hart drove their SUV off a California roadside cliff with their adopted children inside. Three of the children were found among the car wreckage along with the two women — Markis (19), Abigail (14), and Jeremiah (14). The other three remain unfound and are presumed dead, possibly washed out to sea. They are Hannah (16), Sierra (12), and Devonte (15).
Investigators now believe that the crash was intentional, citing the fact that the speed was set at 90 mph and the lack of skid marks, but Black people knew it in our spirit all along. From the moment the story broke, we fucking knew it. We sat and watched as others speculated about it, giving these two abusive, murderous white women the benefit of the doubt after they had driven their adopted Black children off a 100-foot cliff.
We knew it in 2014 when Devonte Hart, with tears welling up in his eyes, was photographed in a tentative embrace with a white cop at a Black Lives Matter rally and the image instantly went viral. Other photos from that day show that Devonte was already in tears even before he was approached by the cop. In Sgt. Bret Barnum’s own account of the event, he states that the boy was “hesitant” to speak to him, but he persisted with the conversation and ultimately asked for the hug.
Devonte’s body language in the photos spoke volumes to us. It felt like coercion. It felt like a 12 year-old Black boy, who was at a rally to protest the Grand Jury's failure to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown, was afraid to speak to a white police officer, but was pressured into doing so anyway as others surrounded him and took the opportunity to snap the perfect “feel good” photo. And we were not at all surprised when Sgt. Barnum was later caught up in a controversy for publicly showing his support of Darren Wilson on Facebook.
We know what it looks like when Black people are being used as a tool of performative allyship and white liberalism. Devonte was made a spectacle and used as propaganda, by his guardian who accompanied him and by every person who shared the image of his obvious pain with musings about how racial togetherness and free hugs would magically solve all of the world's issues and end racialized state violence.
One of his guardians seized the opportunity to write about the viral photo on Facebook, saying that they attended the rally in hopes of “spreading love and kindness, and to remind (ALL) people that they matter in this world.” The Harts failed Devonte and his siblings in more ways than one.
This is why performative white allyship is so dangerous, and not just for the Black and non-Black kids who get adopted by them. It is insidious, to say the least, when “good white folks” impersonate someone who truly cares about anti-racism work, even as they continue to uphold white supremacy in their words and actions, and continually harm people of color.
We witness this ally theater daily, both in our communities and on the larger world's stage. We see the way that people like the Hart couple insulate themselves with people of color as tokens and trophies to provide themselves an alibi for their racism.
We see the way they fetishize Martin Luther King, Jr. and a non-violent stance, whitewashing and re-writing his legacy to present an ahistorical vision of the civil rights leader who ultimately saw the validity of violence as a form of resistance, because they plugged their ears after “I have a dream.”
Their white saviorism complex is painfully obvious, a perpetuation of the colonialist and imperialist self-aggrandizing belief that people of color always need white people to save us, even from the white supremacy that they actively participate in and continually benefit from.
And how dare we not bestow accolades upon them for “liberating” us? We, deadpan as they explode into tears and go on social media rants when people of color don't fall to our knees and thank them profusely for being gracious enough to do work on our behalf. We hear them scream, “I've always been good to you negroes” before exiting stage left in a huff.
We side-eye the ones who are so glaringly only “progressive and forward-thinking” because they see it as a trend, like their avocado toast and the aesthetics that they appropriated from hood Black girls. They list social justice work that they never actually did on their resume and OkCupid profiles for social capital, and pats on the back, and so they can more easily fuck the people color that they fetishize.
The “I’m not like other white people” declarations don't fool us. These special snowflakes take up so much fucking space as they fall over themselves trying to obscure their own privilege and disassociate themselves from the white supremacist violences of the past, present, and future.
We roll our eyes at the white allies who demand our intellectual and emotional labor and scream “It's your job to educate me!” only to take our words back to their white ally spaces to accept all of the credit, then block us on Facebook when we call them out for their intellectual thievery.
White supremacy is insidious and pervasive everywhere, including at The New York Times and other liberal media.By Jordan Valerie In recent months, liberal news publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post have come under increased scrutiny for their coverage of race. From refusing to describe the president as racist to an obsession with racist “white working class” voters to Nazi-sympathizing profile pieces, the liberal media outlets that proclaim to be the saviors of truth in the era of “fake news” have proven woefully unprepared to cover the normalization of open white nationalism under Donald Trump. This glaring problem goes beyond a few poor editorial decisions; it speaks to the fundamental worldview of these liberal publications – white supremacy. “White supremacist” isn’t a term you usually hear ascribed to the prestigious New York Times. No, white supremacy is a descriptor reserved for Breitbart, and if we’re really brave, Fox News. The liberal New York Times? The same New York Times that Donald Trump wants to sue out of existence? There’s no way they can be described as white supremacist, let alone racist, right? Wrong. White supremacy isn’t limited to websites that feature a “Black Crime” section, like Breitbart. It’s not even limited to conservative publications whose editorial pages are littered with racist op-eds, like The Wall Street Journal and National Review. White supremacy is insidious and pervasive everywhere, including liberal media. Because white supremacy is not just neo-Nazis marching down the streets of Charlottesville, it is the belief that whiteness is supreme; that it must be treasured, cherished, defended, and centered at all times. And that ideology is absolutely reflected in liberal news media such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.
In the wake of the deaths of Jordan Edwards and Richard Collins, two more black boys left to a hashtag, the highlighting of accolades and posturing is more prevalent than ever.By Erica Buddington “Silence and uniformity are not reflections of a job well done.” I said this to a former supervisor who’d walked into a class discussion earlier that day, students laughing and intrigued, flailing their arms to be the next person to speak. He shook his head, pointed to the text that the organization abided by, and repeated, “They should be quiet. They should have their hands folded, waiting their turn. They should all be looking directly at you. There were too many voices; there was too much laughter. It should be silent when I walk into your room. Children learn and understand, better this way. They become better citizens, this way.” I watched his pointer finger hit the desk, a brown hand that had only filled out a principal fellowship application, after teaching for six months out of grad school. I’d been immersed in a classroom or learning space for almost a decade and I couldn’t fathom how someone, who claimed to be an advocate for our children, could be so closed-minded. It is this same brown hand that would push a contract towards me, excited about my data from the past year, with $10,000 dollars added to my salary, a promise that I could have more autonomy over my classroom, and a plea to revitalize their performance arts. I smiled and pushed the contract back with my own brown hand, making it clear that there was no money or autonomy in the world that could make me treat our children like this.
RIP, Darren Seals. Ferguson protestor and social activist Darren Seals has been found dead inside a burning car. He was 29. According to StlAmerican.com, he was found dead early Tuesday morning in North St. Louis County. Investigators say he was also a