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KENDRICK IS RIGHT BECAUSE KANYE IS RIGHT

Kanye is right.

This past spring I attended an intimate brunch with a hand picked group of Black women. Usually overlooked by the hosts, despite being a Black woman in media, I was surprised by the invitation.  Still, I went as myself and enjoyed myself, grateful for the morning of celebration.  Two days later I received a follow-up email from one of the hosts – she began with complimenting how ‘lovely, smart and articulate’ I was. She was surprised. 

I read over her email again. Nice to officially meet you. You’re very lovely, smart and articulate. I was surprised. Here’s my contact information.

Yup, ‘surprised’ was still there.

Everyday I’m shown examples of just how little social understanding we have of our words. While this well-meaning woman thought enough of our table conversation to make sure we kept in contact, she was unaware of the insult she’d used to do so.

“I was surprised,” is the politely masked way of saying, “I didn’t expect you,” which begs the inevitable question well, why not?

Classism is defined as ‘a biased or discriminatory attitude based on distinctions made between social or economic classes.’

Two days after its anticipated release, several major-publications headlined ‘surprise’ over The Best Man Holiday’s $30 million opening. But, whom did it surprise? Best Man Holiday was heavily promoted for weeks; with it’s cast making all the rounds from television, radio and even blogs. There were numerous screenings held in every major city. The tracking on this film was high. Yet Forbes claimed its success ‘stuns’.

Stuns whom? 

Steven Marsh’s ‘surprise’ at TDE’s discipline is the same obnoxious backhanded snobbery that has plagued Hip Hop, lower socio-economic groups and people of color for generations. Classism is the new (accepted) racism.

It’s an acknowledgement of low expectations based on a pre-judgment. It is not a compliment. It’s biased ignorance based on their thoughts on a particular person, group or culture. It is the idea that encloses around us, caging us into a narrow room marked ‘what we’re only good for.’ Classism is a new zoo, with a wide cultural variety of monkeys.

Either way, it’s still wrong. 

Classism is tricky because we celebrate it…until it’s used against us. We revere GQ, often using the book as a benchmark of success. You’ve had to really impact pop culture to make it into its pages. In a sense, we’ve given it its own class, celebrated with news stories, parties and social media conversation for those who’ve made it onto the cover. What happened with Kendrick was simple: the machine we’ve revered acknowledged the gap between them and us.

The success of Best Man Holiday ‘surprised’ so many because (according to USA Today) it was a race-themed film. It wasn’t an ensemble or a romantic comedy, but a ‘Black movie’ thus lowering the expectations.

So how do you fight classism? Especially when you need it? Without a separation of class, GQ is no more important than a free blog written by your unqualified neighbor.

The important tool here is an understanding that your we includes me too. You can’t be surprised if I wasn’t surprised, and just because you don’t look like me, or listen to what I listen to you, you still speak to and for me. You can’t be surprised because I knew it all along. If you’re writing a story about the Rapper of the Year, he’s your Rapper of the Year too. And you should know enough to not be surprised by his discipline. You should simply want to promote and celebrate it.

The Best Man Holiday didn’t over perform. It was under estimated. And that’s the story that needs to be told.

We have to tell this truth. We have to point classism out as we do racism. As the game changes, so must our understanding of it. Without an evolution in our knowledge of the rules, we can and will be played.

Don’t tell me you’re ‘surprised’. Tell me you misjudged me.

Kanye combated this by taking over Jimmy Kimmel’s hour to explain why he won’t play nice. Black twitter – which like it or not is a thing – will come for you creating an embarrassing PR nightmare. And the Rapper of the Year will skip your party. Still surprised? Don’t be.

Kanye already told you, “It’s not safe for you in this zoo.” Nor should it be. 

MAKE ME ADMIT STUFF

  • 1. Would you have sex with the last person you text messaged?

  • 2. You talked to an ex today, correct?

  • 3. Have you taken someones virginity?

  • 4. Is trust a big issue for you?

  • 5. Did you hang out with the person you like recently?

  • 6. What are you excited for?

  • 7. What happened tonight?

  • 8. Do you think it’s disgusting when girls get really wasted?

  • 9. Is confidence cute?

  • 10. What is the last beverage you had?

  • 11. How many people of the opposite sex do you fully trust?

  • 12. Do you own a pair of skinny jeans?

  • 13. What are you gonna do Saturday night?

  • 14. What are you going to spend money on next?

  • 15. Are you going out with the last person you kissed?

  • 16. Do you think you’ll change in the next 3 months?

  • 17. Who do you feel most comfortable talking to about anything?

  • 18. The last time you felt broken?

  • 19. Have you had sex today?

  • 20. Are you starting to realize anything?

  • 21. Are you in a good mood?

  • 22. Would you ever want to swim with sharks?

  • 23. Are your eyes the same color as your dad’s?

  • 24. What do you want right this second?

  • 25. What would you say if the person you love/like kissed another girl/boy?

  • 26. Is your current hair color your natural hair color?

  • 27. Would you be able to date someone who doesn’t make you laugh?

  • 28. What was the last thing that made you laugh?

  • 29. Do you really, truly miss someone right now?

  • 30. Does everyone deserve a second chance?

  • 31. Honestly, do you hate the last boy you were talking to?

  • 32. Does the person you have feelings for right now, know you do?

  • 33. Are you one of those people who never drinks soda?

  • 34. Listening to?

  • 35. Do you ever write in pencil anymore?

  • 36. Do you know where the last person you kissed is?

  • 37. Do you believe in love at first sight?

  • 38. Who did you last call?

  • 39. Who was the last person you danced with?

  • 40. Why did you kiss the last person you kissed?

  • 41. When was the last time you ate a cupcake?

  • 42. Did you hug/kiss one of your parents today?

  • 43. Ever embarrass yourself in front of a crush?

  • 44. Do you tan in the nude?

  • 45. If you could, would you take back your last kiss?

  • 46. Did you talk to someone until you fell asleep last night?

  • 47. Who was the last person to call you?

  • 48. Do you sing in the shower?

  • 49. Do you dance in the car?

  • 50. Ever used a bow and arrow?

  • 51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?

  • 52. Do you think musicals are cheesy?

  • 53. Is Christmas stressful?

  • 54. Ever eat a pierogi?

  • 55. Favorite type of fruit pie?

  • 56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?

  • 57. Do you believe in ghosts?

  • 58. Ever have a Deja-vu feeling?

  • 59. Take a vitamin daily?

  • 60. Wear slippers?

  • 61. Wear a bath robe?

  • 62. What do you wear to bed?

  • 63. First concert?

  • 64. Wal-Mart, Target or Kmart?

  • 65. Nike or Adidas?

  • 66. Cheetos Or Fritos?

  • 67. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds?

  • 68. Favorite Taylor Swift song?

  • 69. Ever take dance lessons?

  • 70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?

  • 71. Can you curl your tongue?

  • 72. Ever won a spelling bee?

  • 73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy?

  • 74. What is your favorite book?

  • 75. Do you study better with or without music?

  • 76. Regularly burn incense?

  • 77. Ever been in love?

  • 78. Who would you like to see in concert?

  • 79. What was the last concert you saw?

  • 80. Hot tea or cold tea?

  • 81. Tea or coffee?

  • 82. Favorite type of cookie?

  • 83. Can you swim well?

  • 84. Can you hold your breath without holding your nose?

  • 85. Are you patient?

  • 86. DJ or band, at a wedding?

  • 87. Ever won a contest?

  • 88. Ever have plastic surgery?

  • 89. Which are better black or green olives?

  • 90. Opinions on sex before marriage?

  • 91. Best room for a fireplace?

  • 92. Do you want to get married?

  • I'll answer whatever you ask guys

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