Op-Ed: Watching Racially Ambiguous People Disparage Black Women While Raising Black Children Is Exhausting


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It was too easy for Erica Mena to call Spice a “monkey.” No hesitation. No stuttering. Just “blue monkey.”

I’ve been keeping up with Love and Hip Hop Atlanta because, yes, I watch it regularly. And there I was, minding my business on Wednesday, watching the latest episode that I missed (which ran on Tuesday night), when I saw a warning that a racial slur was about to be said in the next scene. I thought out loud, “a racial sluuuur?” and wondered what it would be. All I knew was that in the previous scene, Jamaican dancehall star Spice and Love and Hip Hop vet Erica Mena were getting ready to lock horns. Spice was seeking to confront Mena over claims that when she went through a major health crisis early this year, almost dying from sepsis poisoning, that Mena made hurtful comments about her. This allegedly occurred when her ex-husband, Safaree Samuels, was emotional and shared that he wouldn’t know what to do if the performer died. This was said despite the fact that when Mena went into the hospital earlier than expected when pregnant with his second child, he was out partying with other women.

But Mena said those claims were partially false. She was jealous that he cared more about her than his own wife, yes, but she’d been worried about Spice, fasting and praying for her even. Spice didn’t buy it, nor did she buy claims from Mena that Samuels was a deadbeat dad not paying child support. So she called her out, saying she’d been a single mother with two children for far longer than Mena and she needed to stop pretending she was some victim. When Mena said she’d been a single mother even longer, having her first child, King, at 19, Spice proceeded to say that her son doesn’t even like her. It got understandably heated from there, but I couldn’t have foreseen Mena calling that woman a “monkey” of all things. I couldn’t be shocked after that when she told Spice she should have died because…a monkey!? 😬

And in some ways, I can understand going for the jugular, maybe even throwing some things, as Mena did. Bringing children into a disagreement is a great violation, because what mother wants to hear someone tell them about the kid that they raise? But “MONKEY?” And not just a monkey, but the sounds of a monkey to emphasize it? Absolutely not.

Racism (she is not Black so there’s that) is not the course of action in response to hurtful statements. And as mentioned, it came out of her mouth with no difficulty. If Mena could get on national TV and call Spice a “monkey,” a “blue monkey” and imitate the sounds of an ape loudly and proudly, what is she saying at home? What is she saying around her Black children?

When things like this happen, where racially ambiguous, non-Black folks say things that are egregiously hurtful to Black women (despite the fact that they keep Black women as friends and men in their beds), I’m always highly irritated at the fact that these women happen to have Black children at home. Mena, who for the record has appeared darker and darker lately, has two, a daughter and son, with Samuels. Remember when Evelyn Lozada called her dark-skinned former Basketball Wives cast mate OG “ugly” multiple times on that show and then sued her when the woman called racism on the situation? She of course has an adult Black daughter and a young Black son. And after leaving that series following beef with OG, Lozada’s now returning to the upcoming season of Basketball Wives that’s currently filming since the young lady is no longer part of the series. And then there was Love and Hip Hop New York star Cyn Santana, who said that Black men put Latinas on a pedestal and that Black girls were going to take her comments personal. She’s raising a little Black boy. She’s since apologized, but others tend to save their sorries, preferring to identify themselves as Afro-Latina or saying nothing at all, with the latter case being Mena’s course of action so far.

Op-Ed: Watching Racially Ambiguous People Disparage Black Women While Raising Black Children Is Exhausting
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But considering who the fathers of their children are, and the way they’ve handled Black women, it’s no shock. Samuels, who used to be in a long-term relationship with Nicki Minaj, can be heard calling women who dared to try and go toe-to-toe with the rapper “monkey-looking b—hes” and “nappy headed hos” on her Pink Friday album hit “Did It on ‘Em.” Carl Crawford, who shares a son with Lozada, publicly feuded with Megan Thee Stallion, his former artist, because she moved on from his label and rose to success. He was so heated, he was proudly taking pictures with Tory Lanez in the club in an effort to troll Meg (which he admitted was the purpose) knowing she’d revealed that the singer/rapper shot her. He would go on to say he regretted his behavior. And Joe Budden, whom Santana shares her son with…well, you’ve heard the accusations of violence from his exes. We can stop there.

So I guess it’s no true surprise that these women would find such comments, such behavior, acceptable in heated moments and with mixed company. People who hold anti-Black sentiments aren’t too far from one another. Shekinah Jo asked in a confessional if Mena would like if someone called her “Jamaican children” monkeys, and I’m sure she couldn’t even fathom the possibility. She called Spice a monkey because of her features, her complexion, which aren’t similar to her fair-skinned, curly haired children. She wanted to make Spice feel like a hideous creature, and in turn, with her veins popping in her forehead as she spewed her vitriol, looked more the monster. But I digress.

I can only hope that what their children hear and learn, as they grow into their identity, doesn’t include what what we’ve seen from their parents in front of the camera. Because truly, if you can stoop so low publicly, what are you saying and doing privately — and most importantly, in front of your kids?


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