Last year I wrote a piece called, “Y’all Really Hate Black Women, Don’t You?” At the time it related to Chloe Bailey being cast in the live-action Little Mermaid movie and then spread out into other times where Black women had a chance to shine and (mostly) racists got mad about it. This time around, I got pulled into this position due to the infamous death of Kobe Bryant and the journalistic integrity of Gayle King. I honestly wasn’t going to jump too far into the conversation at first as I’m not a sports fan so I know the bare minimum about Kobe and I knew only snippets about his rape case. On top of that, I don’t want to only write about the trending topics as I’m sure my take will get lost in the fold. In doing research for this, I got too many recent hits for stories with his name attached. It’s hard to find things not written in the last few weeks clogging up the queue. Hard, not impossible.
Gayle King has been a journalist longer than I have been alive. That’s not a hyperbolic statement as she’s literally been doing journalism in some capacity since at least the late ’70s and I was born in ‘82. She’s been interviewing people and asking tough questions before a good chunk of you were able to speak or know the importance of her job. She has made her living with this career longer than most have been doing literally anything. Now, just because she’s been doing it a long time doesn’t automatically make her the best, but as we saw last year during the infamous R. Kelly meltdown interview, she was calm, poised and collected when Robert started making waves all around her. She asked professional questions and was lauded for her integrity. And yet recently when it comes to asking Lisa Leslie about her recently deceased friend, she’s out of line? People can make mistakes but I don’t feel like this was one of them.
Kobe Bryant lied about the incident in Colorado when initially questioned and his initial response when asked was indignation. “Um, she showed me around the pool, showing me around, um, we went to my room, she showed me the back view where the bears come up to the window, and that’s about fucking it, we shot the shit and that was it,” Bryant told police. Only after being pressed about the situation, offering to “settle” the matter and being told that he was accused of the crime did he fess up to what occurred that night. This is not a matter of opinion, this is not a smear, these are facts that you can research yourself but I’ve linked to where I got these specific quotes. Kobe Bryant, regardless of what you believe happened that night, lied about it to save himself initially but then admitted to cheating on his wife.
In her interview with his close friend and one of the greatest basketball players, Gayle King made mention of the complicated legacy of Kobe. She brought up the charges from 2003 and mentioned that he was not convicted in a court of law. When Lisa mentioned that he wasn’t the type to come to her to get other women for him, Gayle rightly said that she wouldn’t see those things because he didn’t bring it to her as we all know that Kobe did, in fact, cheat on his wife. Recently deceased or not, Gayle pulled facts, did not give accusatory statements and asked questions based on public knowledge of things that have happened. Lisa may or may not have been uncomfortable with Gayle telling her that he obviously hid things from her but that’s what journalists do. They ask the hard questions. But apparently that’s a bridge too far.
Here’s where it starts to bother me. The goalpost always seems to get moved around when it comes to what men have standards for when it comes to women in general and Black women specifically. Gayle was a hero for asking Kelly questions last year but is a pariah for asking legitimate questions this year because of the proximity to a person's death. Which is funny because, within hours of the death of John McCain, I saw commentary from all kinds of people talking shit about his death due to issues he had with people from all walks of life. Within probably minutes David Koch dying, I saw memes and jokes flying around like confetti. Hell, even that kid XXXtentacion died and people started going in and showing a video with his dead body in a car. Yes, there were RIP tributes but people immediately brought up the fact that he admitted to beating up his girlfriend and it wasn’t too soon then. No, it only became an issue when a Black woman spoke.
And please understand, all she did was speak. I see and hear all this vituperative language around asking questions but I never get this same energy around getting men to not rape. Snoop Dogg decided to go after Gayle for what he feels is disrespect but calling her all kinds of names over asking questions. Asking. Questions. People are asking for the job of a woman who’s been doing her job longer than most of you have known what jobs are. And they’re doing this over her doing her fucking job. They are not bringing this same energy when it comes to telling men not to assault women. Then when Snoop jumped to the defense of Bill Cosby, everyone thought it was too much and I’m over here thinking that it falls right in line with that thinking. Again, how many times has Snoop said out loud for men not to rape women? But how many times has he defended accused rapists?
There are no rap songs about stopping rape. Even my most favorite emcees don't talk about a subject like that in that light. Whenever a male is accused of it at all the first thing that happens is wondering why the woman/women would lie on the man. At no point do I hear from the wider world to get men to stop doing it, instead we hear about how much women need to change their behaviors to stay from around men who do it...how is this possible? Think about it; men constantly talk about how they’re going to keep their daughters on lockdown from boys. They talk about how they were as kids and making sure their girls don’t end up with men like them. They talk about threatening boys with guns or intimidating them when they go to prom or go out on a first date. They tell women not to drink from open containers because men slip things in, they tell women to not wear certain things because a man will get aroused and take advantage of you, they then tell women how to defend themselves and carry a weapon or learn self-defense….and yet somehow think that no men they know are rapists??? What are you so scared of then?? And if you ARE scared, why aren’t you telling men and boys not to rape?? Make it make sense.
What makes me especially upset are the Black people (men and women) who are choosing the argument of ‘too soon’ when it’s ALWAYS too soon and what it really sounds like is don’t speak ill of us at all and I can’t abide by that. White America has this same reaction when it comes to guns because it's 'too soon' after it happens and when it gets brought up again it's too late. Black people need to hold our own feet to the fire when it comes to matters like this and others. We can’t just have these things going on and then turn a blind eye to it because white people tear us down for other reasons. Yes, racism is a thing, it is pervasive and ongoing. White supremacy is rampant but some of you help it out by trying to shout down people who are trying to make a difference. I would much rather have a Black woman hold us accountable before the others come in and burn everything we have to the ground again. We should be taking care of our own. Instead, we’re trying to act like it didn’t happen and deflect with, “well why aren’t they talking about…?” and bringing up some white person who’s been accused, too. WE CAN DO BOTH. It does not matter that there’s not the same amount of this or that on each side or the same coverage, let's fight our battles and be better! Why are we acting as if we’re always being set up when we can do bad things to ourselves? It’s not always a setup or a smear; in order for our communities to improve, we have to ask questions and be accountable first! Otherwise, they can come in and pick us off one by one because we’re letting our allegiances show for reasons they shouldn’t.
"I won't react to something just because I'm supposed to, because I'm an African-American. That argument doesn't make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American, we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we've progressed as a society? Well, then don't jump to somebody's defense just because they're African-American." - Kobe Bryant on the death of Trayvon Martin. (Because he would always come to our defense as we would for him, right?)
Bill Cosby did amazing things for Black people. He made people more socially aware, helped promote HBCU’s, made his family out to be positive role models for the Black community and also was a rapist who slipped drugs into women's drinks by his own admission. He was a flawed figure who did both. But don’t act like he didn’t do the bad thing just because he did the good one. He also talked down regarding hip-hop culture whenever he got the chance but when Snoop came to his defense he was ready to take the endorsement. After all, Bill hurt Black women and Snoop decided to disrespect one as well and if we'll unite over anything it's to bring down a Black woman.
“Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks.” - Snoop Dogg
Dr. Dre beat up respected journalist Dee Barnes and from there, he became a billionaire and she never truly recovered. Justin Timberlake pulled off Janet’s top at the Super Bowl and he became a megastar while her legacy was tarnished. Now Gayle King asks questions and we’re ready to cancel her entire career because men are too sensitive to admit that a man they admired had flaws. Can we finally admit that men are the most emotional of the sexes now? I'm over it.