become lovers of each other as a result
of not having enough men.”
I am not usually one for celebrity gossip, as I find the exploits of the rich and famous without any real concrete value. I think the mind numbing minutia of celebrity news is intended to get us caught up in a world of decadence, that has no bearing on the average persons life. When we read about Evander Holyfield losing his home we are supposed to think about how vulnerable we all are. Even though he earned his money as a punching bag, and clearly was exploited by promoters, our class connection is tenuous at best. I cannot have solidarity with a man who lost a home worth more than I will make in my lifetime. Especially, one that has never acknowledged his gender privileges.
Another reason to avoid celebrity news is that they are often pontificating about things that they have no business making public commentary about. This of course happens in every segment of the entertainment industry. It could be Don Cherry commenting on Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, or the above commentary credited to Usher in Vibe magazine. Cherry may have the credentials to claim expertise in hockey, but he is no political scientist, and Usher may be a great singer, but he is no sociologist.
In all fairness to Usher I have not read the entire article. Only a small section was available for perusal at vibe.com. In fact in the piece posted online, there was no connection between the quote, and the story. I am assuming that this is a bid to encourage the purchase of the magazine, for the sake of finding out whether or not this quote is completely out of context, or he really meant to imply that WOC are “turning” to lesbianism due to a shortage of black men. Newsflash, no one turns gay.
Currently there is a lot of discussion devoted to the desperate plight of the unlovable spinster black female. Racialicious posted on this topic yesterday referencing a recent Tyra Banks show (please someone turn off that woman’s mike). Blog, after blog bemoans the desperate search for the elusive black male, as though he were a species on the brink of extinction, and now we have this musician announcing that on pain of rejection we are resorting to lesbianism. This ongoing conversation keeps black men at the center of black women’s lives, and inflates their value. It suggests that black women have no value outside of our connection to black men.
Such is the arrogance of the black male patriarchy; that it could even be suggested that lesbianism is the only option because of the lack of available men, rather than a free and conscious choice. A female sexuality that is not predicated on phalocentric worship, is an anathema and even more so in the black community, where much thought is occupied with the progression, and stabilization of the “race”. From the pulpit we have been told that our job is to love, honor and worship regardless of where our true affection lies. In a bid to secure prominence for “our community,” WOC have been told to subvert our will, so that “we” all can rise.
While I will agree that WOC do have a vested interest in the success of black men, it does not outweigh the obligation that we have to ourselves. Though the black male patriarchy has attempted to make the problems of the black community about them, and to keep the entire focus of our energies on them, it is important that we as WOC remember that no man regardless of how pretty his penis is, is worth our self respect, or dignity. It is important that we freely own the choices that we make in life, in accordance with asserting our agency and individuality. Allies can only be called allies when both sides are respected.