Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen THE CLOSER or if you’re not an ALLY: DONT READ THIS.
So “THE CLOSER” a la Dave Chappelle via Netflix has people up in arms! Whew he dropped a bomb, several in fact, and he trampled not only on the LGBTQIA movement but also THE ME TOO MOVEMENT and probably punched white fragility in its face. How dare he call out co-optation? How dare he hi-light the disingenuousness of the WHITE FEMINIST movement? Off with his head…Ummm, but no! WE’RE not doing THAT!
Dave at this stage of his career shows that he gives less than 2 fucks about the masses. He shows us that NO ONE is safe when it comes to comedy and infusing social commentary within his message is genius. I am an ALLY of the LGBTQIA movement and I am a FEMINIST. A black feminist. However, can White folks who check these boxes say the same? That they go as “hard” for us as we have for everyone? The Black Queer community are at the forefront of just about every movement that has kicked off because THEY check a lot of “boxes”. But whites haven’t done the same for them, us. You’ve used us. And UNCLE DAVE called your asses out! Now you’re mad and want to #canceldave!
So first, we have to be clear as to why there is a distinction between black feminist and white feminist. Gloria Steinem used black women as a vessel for the Women’s Liberation movement. And she admits this. Even to this day white women have co-opted the #metoo movement and relegated it to “pussy hats” without actually DOING something. The micro and macro aggressions black women face aren’t just in HOLLYWOOD, we are facing them in our every day lives. White women via the external misogynistic actions of white male supremacy and patriarchy, have internalized this and now project their frustrations and containment onto black women. Black women, who according to Malcolm X are the most hated person in America. Dave, in his higher level way of thinking, and through a little bit of crass humor, calls it out. And the perpetrators are mad because the jig is up! Well actually it’s been up. I’ve never been apart of the “white feminist” movement and neither have my more informed friends. I’ve faced too many “Caustic Karens” in the workplace to ever feel truly comfortable calling you all “friend”. We’re friendly but not “friends”. Friends have your back, not stab you in it to save their own assess or because they feel inferior, lash out.
I love people, which is why I’m an ALLY. However isn’t it ironic that I have to be an ALLY for another marginalized group of people vs. our fight being intertwined and it being understood that we are all fighting for EQUALITY? When Dave gets called out for “punching down” on LGBTQIA because they’ve been fighting for “decades” and he looks to the gay brothers for “a little help”, was the irony lost on people? Another form of co-optation. Another form of white supremacy.
Yes, there are racist LGBTQIA people. I’ve encountered quite a few. I’ve been dismissed by a few too when I worked for an organization that is specific for marginalized people. However I recall working to entice women of color, the highest group of new HIV cases, to consider PrEP. PrEP is the medication that is 99.2% effective in preventing HIV. The campaign they were spearheading, appeared to be geared towards men. I inquired about this and suddenly I was called into a meeting and was “educated” on the goals and purpose of that campaign. Which to me still didn’t explain why there were no women of color on the posters. I knew that I was an “intersectionality” higher. Black and female. Quite honestly they probably assumed I was sexually fluid too. Perceptions and all; short blond cropped hair, tattoos, nose ring viola! Black lesbian. But alas, nope! Cis-gender hetero female, I’m all about that “vitamin D”! Yet, after that “meeting”, I started to realize that an organization that was erected for LGBTQ agendas, was still ensuring that it was a White LGBTQIA agenda. Very few black LGBTQIA in “Administration”. Oh there’s a few tokens but no black butch, bears, twinks et al. The one that was there a PHD left out of frustration and even while there he was segued in the “urban” division and given some token hush title. So, no Dave was not wrong! He was so damn right, that he punched white fragility in its face. And guess what? I’m HERE for it! Though I can’t speak for EVERYONE, I can speak to my experiences. And you guys have made it quite clear that we, Blacks, Black Queers, are not your priority. But as always, which is why it’s baffling to you and why so many of you fear us, we make a way.
The only thing I wish Dave had spoken about is how WOMEN OF COLOR, trans, cis, are vulnerable to misognoir. VIOLENCE still affects US all, but I guess there’s no way you can joke about that. However he did make a point, that you want to cancel Da Baby for his comments about LGBTQIA vs his involvement in a shooting? Isn’t it ironic.
Long Live Chappelle. He went “hard in the paint”!