I’m very well aware of how painful it can be to be harshly criticized by your own. Nevertheless, it’s imperative we don’t take our anecdotes to improperly assess the greater community. That’s why after watching K. Michelle’s interview with B. Scott, I couldn’t help be disappointed in both her and those who made her feel the way she does.
The subject of K. Michelle’s infamous relationship with Idris Elba came up, and according to the very talented singer-songwriter, it was Black women who condemned her most over it.
Ever candid, K. Michelle explained: “I thought it was disgusting, the backlash that I got from Black women. My whole career, the women that I fight for have been the women that attack me. And, it’s crazy—because when I told about my abuse, Black women attacked me. And they said I was a liar. And then when the reports came out, [they’d say] ‘oh, I always believed you!’ That doesn’t heal that scar that you called me a liar for two years and I’m trying to be a role model.”
The Memphis reality television star went on to discuss the aftermath of her eight-month relationship, adding: “We parted on mutual terms, so I never bashed him and I never will. When I sang about what it was, it was Black women. They were [tweeting] him, and were like, ‘Eww, she’s not good enough for you.’ It was bad. They’d [say things] like ‘Eww, he would never…’ or ‘Eww, why are you dating someone like that?’ ”
I will not challenge the validity of K. Michelle’s question, but I will ask one thing: Who is your core demographic, beloved? When I think of K. Michelle’s core fan base, I include myself, but I think more so my sister, my homegirl and my auntie (who used to love Millie Jackson). When I see people discussing K. Michelle on social media, they don’t look like Miley Cyrus. So sure, Black women might’ve been K. Michelle’s harshest critics, but are these not the same women majorly buying her albums and filling the venues of her concerts?
These comments come on the heels of K. Michelle taking to Instagram to declare: “I believe I’m not Black or White but I’m actually a mermaid. I believe there is no talent required to be in the music industry. I believe the color of my skin shouldn’t determine the genre of my music!”
I believe in miracles and love’s the miracle. She also added that she likes a handsome White man. I enjoy Ryan Phillippe’s everything, but I also know I’m a Black man, not King Triton. There’s a sense of self-loathing here and it’s unsettling.
Unfortunately, K. Michelle is not the only singer I’m a fan of recently guilty of this bad practice.
In response to criticism met with the delay in their Kickstarter-funded album from contributors, T-Boz defended TLC from flack, noting that they’ve sent emails to contributors and a press release. T-Boz also claimed, “I refuse to address ignorance because there’s a lot of followers out there. They hear one comment, jump on the bandwagon and then fail to do their research.”
She then chimed in with her own ignorance as she later told radio host Rickey Smiley: “That’s the problem I find disappointing, especially with our people. It’s mostly our people doing it. You don’t ever see other races on the Internet dogging people out the way Black people do each other. It’s embarrassing and it’s unfortunate to me.”
T-Boz thinks she said something here, only a quick skim of any entertainment site plus a blog search would’ve quickly corrected such crock commentary.
Like, K. Michelle, T-Boz insinuates that Black people have some sort of monopoly when it comes to purported harsh levels of criticism. Like K. Michelle, T-Boz may want to look around and see which group of people are simultaneously her biggest supporters. TLC was a mainstream group, but it’s been quite some time since the group was a record-breaking crossover smash. TLC’s lingering cultural capital relies heavily on the Black fans who helped them establish their careers 20 years ago—particularly when it comes to social media, where we often drive the conversation.
TLC had no problem using Black Twitter to help raise funds for their album, so don’t now complain that White people are magically nicer than we are.
I’m all for having a conversation about ways in which Black people can do better by its stars, but if the chatter is preceded by some false narrative that paints Black folks as uniquely intolerant, it will be DOA.
I am not in the business of policing other people’s pain, but my line of work is all about perspective. Black fans deserve better than this kind of categorization. If they think they can do better with their non-Black fans, I invite them both to go try their luck.