- Jill Scott
For me, going to the hair salon is fifty percent about actually getting my hair done, twenty percent about laughing with the other ladies at the shop, and thirty percent about catching up on all the issues of Jet, Ebony, and Essence that I've missed between appointments. Which explains why I'm always so late when it comes to finding out about some celebrity "scandal" or "controversy," one example being Jill Scott's article on interracial dating in the March 2010 issue of Essence; I encourage you to read the entire piece for yourself.
In the article Scott discusses the internal sting felt by her and many other black women upon discovering that a handsome, successful black man is married to a white woman
While I appreciate the historical context Scott provides in the commentary, the problem is that her story is incomplete. Slavery is part of the African story in America, but it is not the only chapter. Her article reminds me of a TED Talk given by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie entitled "The Danger of the Single Story." The author recalls her first trip to Mexico and how American media coverage of the immigration debate wrongly colored her view about an entire country:
I remember walking around on my first day in Guadalajara; watching the people going to work, rolling up to tiers in the marketplace, smoking, laughing. I remember at first feeling slight surprise, and then, I was overwhelmed with shame. I realized that I had been so immersed in the media coverage of Mexicans, that they had become one thing in my mind: abject immigrant. I had bought into the single story of Mexicans and I could not have been more ashamed of myself. So that is how to create a single story: show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.
Similarly, to recall the history of blacks in America as only about race, sex, slavery, and a Euro-centric standard of beauty robs a people of its dignity and common sense of humanity. So while it is true that "the Black slave woman was overworked, beaten, raped and farmed out like cattle to be mated," it is equally true that people, black and non-black "struggled together, mourned together, starved together, braved the hoses and vicious police dogs and died untimely on southern back roads together." Personally, I am eternally grateful to the Washington, DC couple who gave a whole new meaning to the motto "Virginia is for Lovers."
Scott's article received praise, derision, and claims of racism. And while I disagree with the premise upon which she bases her opinion, I can appreciate her honesty and willingness to speak what many people think and feel but are to scared to admit out loud. I am still a Jill Scott fan because she kept it real. And this world could use a little more reality.