Fuck a hashtag, it's levels to this BLACK shit [By Shae McCoy]


Baltimore, black culture, community, current events, education / Sunday, December 10th, 2017

As I sat in class and listened to Kondwani Fidel speak, I became a sponge. Sure he told us about his upbringing and read poems, but it was this particular work that he recited that reeled me in a second time.  WTF is Black Girl Magic is the name of the piece. I had already took a liking to it because I could closely relate. It was when we discussed the Black Girl Magic hashtag that a light bulb lit up in my head. Kondwani went to explain why hashtags as such could be problematic.

Photo taken by Shae McCoy

What is Black Girl Magic? Most of the time when we go to that hashtag is mostly black girls or women whom to society are the epitome of greatness. They may have opened a new business. They may have  degrees. They may have done a big photo shoot with other smoothed out looking black women to portray sisterhood. They may be oiled down with some fresh ass braids and a background that screams peace and harmony. But. What about those black girls and women who don’t have the luxury. Whose magic depends on whether they eat that day or not. Whose magic is based on just waking up the next day? What about them?  This is not to take away from black women who do great things, but reassure ALL black women that they are loved and that they are capable of doing great things.

That girl who just hit splits on three dicks that week, she’s still magical. That girl you think isn’t cute because she smokes, is still magical. I believe it becomes problematic when you exclude people out of something that is supposed to apply to a wide range of people. I honestly feel like these hash tags imply perfection, when no one is perfect. Black Girl Magic doesn’t always glisten to be seen.

Photo taken by Shae McCoy

The same with the Black Boy Joy hashtag. Who are we to tell a black boy/man what his joy and happiness should look like?  Joy isn’t all about thick beard, six packs, or lab jackets and degrees. Sometimes a black man’s joy is determined by that next sale he makes on the block or that freedom he feels when his feet hit the grounds outside them prison bars. I present you with these contrasting examples to inform you that these perspectives vary from person to person.

That brings me to my next question, what level of black are you? I know you’re probably wondering what I mean. I’ll explain why I asked.

As much as we preach about sticking together, we don’t all the time.  I was in my creative writing class one day and listened to a few of my classmates discuss how they were deemed “white” because of their choices in music, clothing, and even the way they speak. It saddened me. I’m sitting in my seat pondering like “I’ve been here before.” Why do we associate being smart, diverse, and cultured solely with being white? Why do we think we are not capable of having different tastes?

Growing up I was always the outcast, still am. Me being smart got me picked on and in fights. It was when I got to middle school and started showing out that I started being deemed as someone to be cool with. See the problem there?

Let me ask the question again. What level of black are you? Are you on the high-end, someone who has everything going good for you so you look down on others? Are you the highly educated activist who believes anyone who doesn’t possess the same information as you is less intelligent?  Do you use “hotep” to describe overly conscious people? Are you living on a poverty level and struggle to make ends meet every day? Are you someone that’s good at your craft, but doesn’t get recognition because you’re not society’s idea of “cool?” Are you out on the corner selling packs because you have to feed your family? See it’s levels to this black shit, but why?

No matter what position we are in, in our lives we should not be looking  down on one another. It’s bad enough we have the whole world against us.  There shouldn’t be levels to this black shit. Where one is lacking, one should educate and lift the other person up. I see so much atrocity aimed at us every single day on social media. Whether it’s a meme or an article, it is unacceptable. When did we become so segregated within our own race? The men don’t trust the women and vice versa. We need some internal healing. No matter what level you think that you are on, we are all subject to the same trials, police brutality, discrimination, the list goes on.

Live beyond the hashtags and eliminate the levels. We are all the same. We are all capable of greatness no matter where we come from or what we do.

Watch Kondwani Fidel’s WTF is Black Girl Magic .

0 Replies to “Fuck a hashtag, it's levels to this BLACK shit [By Shae McCoy]”

  1. The first half of this article lost me…but then I thought of our age gap. I guess you are coming into adulthood and your vision changes.

    The second half was very cathartic to me. A black boy that grew up in the hood, baltimore & Hilton and Washington & Gay that listens to rock and a conscious rapper. There were no outlets for that kid in the 90s, seems things haven’t changed much.
    But, the second half bought back to mind a paper I wrote in a history class about the most traumatic experience black Americans have faced. Of course slavery, besides that, it was becoming free.

    Sounds crazy, but imagine you having a family living in squalor already with nothing, not a single possession or money, and you are told to leave. A large portion of blacks didn’t even know the cities they lived in bc they were confined and sometimes blindfolded on trips to thwart quick escapes. They had nothing. Thousands died attempting to walk north, many stayed and “sharecropped” and those that did go off and try to have a family, faced great competition in the job market. When there is 1 menial job for 100 black men, of course it creates a “crab in a barrel” mentality. Blacks then had to ‘appear’ better than each other only to get table scraps.

    There is so much more to this, but I believe wholeheartedly this is the cause for our current conditioning. Why we chase designer brands and set goals to be better than others. I just told my dad yesterday that IG is all about people trying to keep up with one another, an endless cycle of being broke and fabulous.

    And why? Because for a freed man in the 1800 s to be successful, he had to “fit in” and that was passed to his kids and generation after generation.

    Thanks for the article.

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