âI Guess You Really Ainât Sh*t, Questloveâ

‘I Guess You Really Ain’t Sh*t, Questlove’

White feminist Kim Foster challenges the musician's tale of racial profiling and personal pain. Our feminist Jamilah Lemieux claps back

Jamilah Lemieux

by Jamilah Lemieux, July 26, 2013

âI Guess You Really Ainât Sh*t, Questloveâ

From left, Delicate Flower of White Womanhood, Big Scary Black Questlove

the ish goes entirely left when she accuses Questlove of “oppressing” the woman on the elevator for thinking she was cute and flirting with her. No, really. She says that. Kim:

Indeed, Questlove outright admits to objectifying her. And he does it with a wink and laugh, ‘bow chicka wowwow,’ as if it’s completely cool to sexualize women and admit it in a national magazine…’She was also bangin’,’ he writes,”so inside I was like, “Dayuuuuuuuuuuum, she lives on my floor?’…

Questlove not only admits to objectifying her in his head, he “flirts” with her as she gets off the elevator, and even then, even as he wrote the words on the screen and saw them there, was unable to look at his own internal monologue and see he was oppressing her. Isn’t this exactly what white people do to black people? Isn’t this the point of his whole article?"


While the young woman on the elevator had every right to be disinterested in Questlove’s romantic intentions, he was NOT “oppressing her” by finding her attractive. Finding a woman attractive and wanting to ask her out is not oppression. He didn’t say anything rude to her, he didn’t demand that she return his interest…he found her attractive and he THOUGHT ABOUT IT.

Are the thoughts of Black men dangerous to you, Kim? Are they intimidating? Is the fact that one of your Black Harlem neighbors may look at you and think “She’s cute” oppressive to you? Are you really comparing the sexual assault of a friend of yours in college to the attraction a Black man had to a woman on an elevator who, for whatever reason, was not interested in connecting with him?

Foster closes by acknowledging that “Questlove has to bear a huge weight. No one should have to do it, and I imagine that having to wear it all the time, never take it off, constantly having to think of others first must be exhausting and suffocating,” but makes it clear that her daughters will be raised to protect themselves first and worry about offending people later. What she fails to see is that girls and women can protect and advocate for themselves without dismissing someone else’s pain. Even if those girls still end up brushing off a well-intentioned fellow in an elevator and making him bad, it does not have to be the case that they walk the world feeling “oppressed” because a Black man finds them attractive. They can also grieve the senseless loss of Black boys without refocusing the lens to say 'What about sexism? What about ME?'

The sexist oppression of women is real and is important, but damn if we couldn’t take a moment to acknowledged an issue that is outside of what White women experience. As a tall Black woman, I have found that White women sometimes clutch their purses and act funny style in the presence of me. I could say a lot more, but I felt Questlove’s experiences and hurt were valid enough for us to stay there instead of playing “Oppression Olympics.”  But, alas, White privilege manages to take the gold every single time.

Jamilah Lemieux is the News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com. She tweets: @jamilahlemieux 


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