“You know who I am! You know I work in fashion! I don’t need you! You need ME! YOU NEED ME! YOU need something from ME! That’s not the way to approach someone. You need to be way more humble. I don’t need you! That’s the problem with you young folk, you don’t know how to talk to people.”
A combination of words I will never forget. I stood in disbelief, as my perception of the lady I once admired quickly altered with each word she used to rip me apart. This lady is an African-American Television Personality, whose name I will not mention, because it distracts from this message. Since having a few pleasant interactions prior to this incident, one which includes her overt support of me on one of her social media platforms, I felt comfortable approaching her when I saw her.
On the day I experienced her wrath, I was spending my free time as a volunteer server for an event. While serving food to the guests at the event, I and ran into her again. I figured it would be the perfect time to try to reconnect and I was compelled to ask her for guidance. It’s not every day that I meet women with the same skin as me in the industry I aspire to be in, that I have personally met and find inspiring. The stars are in alignment in my mind. I didn’t want her money, her contacts or even “the hookup”. I just wanted her to provide me with some guidance. To mentor me and show me the way.
In my sweetest tone, I greeted her with a beaming smile and said, ” Hello again! You know we seem to keep running into one another. Maybe we run amongst the same circles or something. I would love to see when you have a moment to spare so I can pick your brain……” Instantly she terminated my flow of words and arrogantly said with a look of disgust like there was something rancid in the air, “I don’t allow my brain to be picked.” Shocked, I kept my composure and retorted, trying to turn the mood around. My efforts failed and it continued to go downhill. She haughtily tore me down as if I was a dog that just ruined the house. I was beyond confused as to what I did wrong. I attempted to remedy the situation by apologetically defending myself. ” I’m sorry for offending you. That was not my intention and I didn’t mean…. ” Again she cut off my statement and continued the verbal beat down. All I kept saying to myself was “Thank God a lot of people aren’t around! Can she just take this damn plate and go?!” She made an empty promise to speak to me later, but she left early and didn’t even attempt to revisit the discussion.
I kept replaying the moment in my mind, trying to pinpoint errors in my ways. My tone was beyond great. I was so respectful and friendly, confusing me as to why I received the response I was given. My friends said there was nothing wrong, she just might have felt like I placed us in the same category or she might have been having a bad day. I was also told that the words “Pick your brain” might have set her off.
Whatever the reason, that encounter was disheartening for several reasons. As an influential individual, I would think someone of her caliber would be extremely cautious of how they interact with the public. If my statement was truly offensive, the polite and mature thing to do would to simply say, ” Now is not a good time to talk. When you get a chance, visit my table.” If and when I come to follow up, then you can tell me about myself in a non-combative manner. Secondly, the way she attempted to annihilate my character and treated me as an “inferior” instead of building up a young woman simply looking for guidance and mentorship, is the very reason why Black women will only continue to crawl instead of run. We have very little sense of unity. Why is there a “girl code” for the way we interact with men and not a set of standards for how we treat and behave towards one another ? I’m not saying that she was obligated to help me in any type of way. However, I do believe she was obligated to treat me with the same level of respect.
The most ironic thing was her claim that I “lacked humility,”especially since I was the one doing one of the most humble things one can do, serving. The one who said she didn’t need me, was telling me that I was not humble. I find that to be beyond hilarious considering the fact that it’s people like me that she relies on for an audience and to stay relevant in pop culture. Unwavering confidence and tough skin saved me in this situation. If I was lacking in self-assurance, she would have had me consumed in pity, insecurity, and feeling unbefitting. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I stand firmly behind that statement.
This encounter lead me to examine the current state of the sorority called Black sisterhood. My verdict: We are in a state of emergency! A major shituation! Sistahs drop the pics and drop that bundle of Remy from your Korean hookup! We have some serious work to do.
By no means am I suggesting that this one instance is the only reason why I have come to these conclusions. There isn’t a day where I go on social media without seeing Black women throwing shade on one another. Or turn on my TV to see the snatching of weave, hear the spewing of vitriol and watch bows being thrown between Black women. Even worse than “Ratchet TV” is your own inner circle. Those who you consider your “girlfriends”secretly try to keep you from advancing in life by withholding moral support. Despite Beyonce’s call to get in #formation and all of the indoctrinations promoting the power of the pussy, this unspoken belief that we are in competition with one another is still lingering. Hence why it’s the fourth quarter of the game with five minutes left and we need a “hail mary” to stay relevant in this game and have a chance to win.
We need to make a collective effort to step outside of ourselves and take the time to build one another up, no matter your status in life. We are not enemies. I repeat, WE ARE NOT ENEMIES! All we do is look down on each other for various reasons, (usually because we have our own deep seated insecurities that we haven’t dealt with )and as a result we lash out on our fellow sister. The heavy chip on our shoulders need to be removed. How can we talk about #Black Girl Magic if we haven’t truly discovered how magical we are when we are united? We cannot advance in life if we continue on this destructive path. We have to do the work and hold each other accountable. Ladies can we clean up all the spilled tea and stop sipping the haterade? We are smart,magical and amazing individually, but together we are a force to be reckoned with.
After much deep reflection I say to the lady that attempted to degrade me, I do not hate or resent you. I actually still support you because I want and need to see Black women win. The point I was getting to before the conversation went ugly was to see if there was any way I could be of assistance to you and to simply show my admiration. I probably should have gotten to that point quicker huh? All I can say is she who laughs last, laughs best. No I’m not being competitive or spiteful because that would make me a hypocrite. Fact is, we live in such a small world, and New York City is even smaller. New York is crazy and one day you may be coming to me for help. One day you may need me. Time has a funny way of turning the tables. Speaking of tables, would you have spoken to me in that manner had I not been behind the table humbly serving you? Did it make you feel good to bring someone else down? Were you satisfied with yourself after that encounter? I hope not. Remember that you too had others help you on your quest to the top.