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The female rapper expressed that she feels Black men don’t support her and paint her as undesirable. When a fan tweeted her back saying “not all Black men,” she tweeted back: “They would, But they don't. Even when my suffering is public, no one steps out to protect me.”
Then out of nowhere, Wale inserted himself into the conversation, answering why folks may not have Banks’s back: “We are all terrified of you. Public embarrassment is a real fear. U prolly have thousands of ppl scared to say anything 2u.”
Clearly the fight escalated and got incredibly ugly, with Banks telling Wale that Black men should be in jail or even killed, Black men bring women like her down and that, until Black men can love Black women more, she’s checking for white men. Meanwhile, Wale dismissed her claims of sexism saying that he stands up for women, but only those who “deserve it.”
Now, I do not condone Banks’s verbal violence because it’s unnecessary and counterproductive. Same as trying to say that white men, the gatekeepers of power and the main oppressors, are better for Black women romantically. And while Banks has a history of being hostile on social media, Kanye West is just as bad and problematic, especially when he comes for women such as Amber Rose. And yet it's funny how folks like Wale don’t have much to say about that. Matter of fact, they have been pretty silent.
Which leads me to a larger point.
Even with Banks’s rage and, at times, illogical comments, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Really ask yourself: Why is it so hard for so many Black men to stand up and support Black women?
Case in point: When Banks came for Iggy Azalea, calling her out for cultural appropriation, racism and lack of talent, it was truly jarring to see rappers like T.I., will.i.am, Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco dismiss Banks to fall on her sword. But initially, why was it so hard to support what Banks was saying?
Maybe that answer partially lies in one of Wale’s responses.
Like he said, he believes that certain Black women don’t “deserve” to be protected and supported, which in itself is incredibly problematic. Now, I get that Banks is prone to snapping off and talks sideways at times, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be supported or loved. Ain’t she our sister?
If she’s not worthy, I would love to know which women Wale believes are.
But this can’t be all blamed on respectability politics, because no matter who the “good” Black women are, it still feels like that support isn’t strong. For all of us who march for the lives of slain Black men like Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, where are the Black men rallying for Sandra Bland and Rekyia Boyd?
A few years ago, when Psychology Today wrote that awful article about how unattractive Black women were, where were the fellas with their Twitter fingers reaffirming our beauty? When Black women are raped, where are the brothas believing them instead of asking questions such as “What was she wearing?” Or when men like Steve Harvey and Tyrese constantly spew that Black women are too materialistic, loud, aggressive and problematic, where are the other prominent Black male voices to counter that noise?
So, no, you don’t have to like Banks, her antics or her insults, but it cannot be denied that she’s making some really important points about misogyny and the lack of support for Black women in our community. Hopefully folks can get past Banks’s polarizing persona to get that.
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