|Tiffany Haddish & Maya Rudolph (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)|
By Veronica Wells
There are plenty of Black women America loves that I care for just a little bit less. And while a few close friends and family might know how I feel, I try not to express those sentiments publicly because there are no shortage of people who talk sh*t about Black women. The practice itself is quite profitable, actually.
And while Tiffany Haddish has been America’s new darling for a solid year, there is a sect of Black people who now believe she is “doing too much.” And a few of these people are not afraid to speak up about it.
I mean…there are already holes in her argument so we can take it with a grain of salt. Girls Trip was pretty great. Haddish didn’t flop on SNL. Her special on Showtime was funny. And she’s far from D list. Just because she hasn’t had name recognition for long doesn’t mean she’s insignificant in the industry. The term breakout star exists for a reason, because of people like Tiffany. But I’ve already spent too much time on a hater.
There are other people with more “weighty” criticisms of her.
All of a sudden she’s embarrassing the race. They don’t like the volume in her speech, they shutter at the fact she doesn’t know how to pronounce every name in Hollywood, that she, like many of us, wears an outfit more than once, that she didn’t let a velvet rope keep her from speaking to Meryl Streep. I can stop there. When you examine Tiffany’s ascent, you’ll find that one, it’s not different from anything she’s been doing since she first hit the scene. But now that her star has risen enough so that it hovers in the vicinity of White folks, all of a sudden she’s an embarrassment.
And really, it’s internalized racism. Forget what White people think! They’re not the leaders of refinement and class. And there have been more than a few White celebrities, men and women alike, who have been known to break societal norms, to be a little or a lot extra. The only difference is, while their communities celebrate them for daring to be different, for making it despite their authenticity. We look at our stars and wonder what White folks might think of them, and as an extension, all the rest of us.
And if we want to talk about true embarrassment, there are other places and other [male] celebrities with much higher profiles that we can start with. I wasn’t going to call names but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, Floyd Mayweather and a few other Black men have been “doing the most” for decades and I’ve never heard them referred to as embarrassments to the race. In fact, more often than not people go out of their way to defend them.
TIffany Haddish sticks her tongue out, does the nae-nae and all of a sudden folks can’t handle it. So it’s not just considering what White folks think, it’s also our ideals about womanhood and Black womanhood particularly.
Someone on Twitter encapsulated my feelings about the matter perfectly when they shared this:
Thankfully, Tiffany was smart enough to stop listening after the first part.
Do we unfairly criticize each other based on what white people will think?