I have a general rule regarding hot takes: Don’t write them, and don’t respond to them. True, I’ve been guilty of the occasional hot take, but I try to let a news story breathe before I write about it so that my ideas are actually good, instead of half-baked attacks and innuendo.
“Half-baked” is exactly how I would refer to this hit piece from Melony Hill, where she attacks Serena Williams for getting engaged to Alexis Ohanian, a white man. Some gems from her essay include references to Emmit Till’s murder, implicit references to Bilderberg Group conspiracy theories, the failure of integration, name-dropping Sarah Baartman, and finally calling Williams “Hottentot Williams.” All of these disparate and otherwise unrelated narrative threads are supposed to come together to prove why Williams is a race traitor. But perhaps the most ridiculous part of the essay is the following section:
The fact that white men have lusted after, and when not offered, taken the body of Black women for centuries is sickening. The idea that a Black woman would voluntarily lie down with one is mind-blowing. I look at paler Black people and literally SEE the oppressor in them. There have been times I’ve looked at a lighter skinned Black person and envisioned massa’ raping their ancestors.
I would hope that such ideas would be seen as absurd on their face, but apparently not, as the editors of The Urban Twist saw fit to publish this piece. The idea that a woman looking at a light-skinned African American sees a rape from almost two hundred years ago instead of potential consensual choices made in the meantime (such as the one Serena Williams is making) is what’s mind-blowing to me. That this author has equated the brutal murder of a boy to a woman’s self-determined choices in love is sickening. Hill has turned William’s happiness into a soap box to rant about racial injustices that have nothing to do with her engagement.
Normally, a piece of writing this egregious wouldn’t be worth the time to even read from beginning to end, much less take the time to respond to. Yet this article does not exist in isolation; it’s part of a cottage industry of content from “intellectuals” who seek to control the romantic choices of black women, from Boyce Watkins’ insidious use of “the black family” to the (frankly insane) ramblings of Umar Johnson. What these rants all have in common is that they couch power and control in terms of loyalty, respect and love. Watkins claims that he doesn’t care who his daughter dates, and then spends the next twelve minutes of his video attacking the idea of his daughter dating whoever she wants as some plan to destroy black men. Johnson is not concerned about the integrity of black love so much as his belief that black women will allow non-black men to control Nigeria through their biracial children (yes, that is what he actually said). He’s not telling black men to value and love black women, hes telling them to stop some sort of imagined racial invasion by locking down black women. Melony Hill’s essay fits right into this nexus of misogynoir, politics and control. To which I respond:
Y’all niggas need to chill.
Serena Williams found love with a white man. I hope to see some amazing wedding pictures between her next Grand Slam victories. Beyond that, why do I give a damn? Why do you give a damn, Melony? Boyce? Umar? Why does it matter so much to you where Serena, or any black woman, or anyone period, finds love? Take a drink, smoke some weed, play some videogames, go for a walk, cook yourself a nice dinner, jerk off, something. The next time you feel like offering an opinion other than happiness on someone else’s consensual relationship choices, ask yourself, “How can I better spend my time?” There are other pressing issues which require your immediate attention, such as why we have to wait so long for the next season of Insecure. Please, just relax, and spare me from both breaking my own rule regarding hot takes and spending an afternoon reading and listening to your “ideas” about dating.
Congratulations Serena Williams, and here’s to love in the New Year!