2013: A Quick Look Back
Don Lemon is aptly named. Lemons must hate their role in the colloquialism game. No one gets sold a lime. Although, I suppose, Black Twitter’s antics whenever Don does or says something foul about black people is some version of making lemonade. If 2013 taught us anything, it’s that Don Lemon is a self-hating and vacuous provocateur who has shamed black people all the way to the bank. In 2014 racial draft, we should consider trading Don Lemon for Robin Thicke straight up.
“Marriage equality” will happen soon enough, but that really wasn’t the fight to pick. 2013 was clearly the opening act for what seems to be the main event that will be the legalization of same-sex marriage in most places. What got subsumed in the popular narrative of this issue is that marriage is an inherently fraught and conservative institution that often doesn’t benefit those who are most often subject to oppression and discrimination–women, brown and black folks, poor folks, trans* folks. Moreover, the use of healthcare as a primary example of why same-sex marriage is needed does nothing but deflect our attention from the fact that everybody, regardless of marital status, should have access to health care. And frankly, healthcare shouldn’t be something bought and sold on anybody’s marketplace. After all, this is people’s well-being we’re talking about here, right? Anyway, I do not stand in the way of folks and their broom jumping activities. I do, however, think that if this is supposed to be the defining civil rights issue of our time, then folks in the next time should try a little harder.
Beyonce slays. Even though she went on tour and performed at the Super Bowl, 2013 was a relatively quiet year for Queen Bey. That was until she surprised everybody by breaking the internet with the release of her latest album, simply title, Beyonce. Folks can waste their time arguing about the levels of Beyonce’s feminism, but what cannot be debated is the fact that she has a stranglehold on diva-dom, and she is clearly taking it seriously. I cannot say I’ve heard an entire Beyonce album, but I’ve been to a show–which is appropriately dramatic and other the top–and have to give nothing but mad respect for an entertainer who pushed the envelope by making seventeen music videos. I’ve said it before, Beyonce does her damn job–and she does it well. After she gets done sonning these other divas, she should look into developing diapers #NoLeaks.
Paula Deen, Phil Robertson, et. al. are racists, etc., but that’s precisely why they’re on television. I wrote about this last week, but since the general tendency has been to take Robertson’s revisionist history to task, I think it bears repeating: I submit that the unspoken understanding that these folks are racist is what contributes to their popularity. Seriously. It’s why folks watch, waiting for that racist moment to chastise and punish so they don’t have to deal with their own shit. And the anti-whatever activists stay champing at the bit, waiting for moments like this so that they can up their image via open letters and other history lessons. If the Duck Dynasty crumbles the way Deen’s did, there will be another crew of southerners waiting to take their place in 2014.
No black life is safe. Of course, the story of the year for this site and others was the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. The effects of Trayvon Martin’s murder continue to reverberate in various ways. Perhaps the most resounding refrain, however, is that black life untethered to the prison industrial complex is, still, something regarded as disposable and worthless. One can hope that in the new year the effort is less about appealing for the recognition of black folks as worthy through traditional channels, and more of an endeavor to recognize that a new m.o., one that recognizes the beauty and value of blackness and black people, is in order.
Have a great start to 2014.