WRITTEN BY NICOLE
When Nicki Minaj first hit the scene, I was a fan. I liked her lyrics and I have always found her punchlines funny (and I still do). I was not a Barb, but I was rooting for her. Genuinely, I wanted her to win. However, that gradually turned sour in the last few years, as she wedded a convicted sex offender and revealed earlier this week that she is expecting her first child.
The Internet has lit her up with insults and draggings galore; it is not my intention to join in that pile on. I intend to use Nicki’s pregnancy as a case study – her situation is actually quite common among regular black women without fame and fortune, and we can learn from it. Christelyn has also done a video on this topic. Be sure to watch that as well!
Before I begin though, please note that I am not wishing Nicki or her baby any harm. I want them both to be happy and healthy with no problems. I’m sure that Nicki, and all pregnant moms are at wits’ end having to give birth in a pandemic on top of all the chaos that comes with being a first-time mother. But for those of us who do not have children, I wanted to point out a few things that black women from every tax bracket can employ in their daily lives.
The black community is entirely too forgiving of the sons that it produces. A black male can rape someone at knifepoint, or threaten a pregnant woman, also at knifepoint, or flat out murder someone, and still be granted the benefit of the doubt, widespread support, a legacy, and forgiveness. He can still be included in day today activities, and can even “secure the bag”, most frequently at the expense of a black woman.
A black woman, however, will be hung out to dry after being made to self-flagellate while walking on spiked hot coals if she as much as blinks the wrong way. Compare the responses to Chrisette Michelle singing at the Trump inauguration, or to anything Azealia Banks has said, to Kanye West’s extended public meltdown the last few days. This belief that “everyone can change” is pervasive, as the community welcomes offenders with open arms, regardless of the crime committed.
Forgiveness is nice, I get that. Did you eat the yogurt I put in the shared fridge at work that I was looking forward to? I can forgive you. Or did you buy that same dress that you knew I had my eye on, for an event we would both be attending? While shady, that is also forgivable. But did you commit a crime against someone that caused them harm, or even murdered someone? I don’t care how many prison sentences you’ve served, but that is not something that can be forgiven. Period. And you are well within your right to believe that people can change- I simply do not share that belief and act accordingly.
So even if you love someone (male or female, friend or family, romantic or platonic), some things are just so egregious that all contact should be severed and bridges burned. The fact that this practice is not commonly done in the black community is a factor in the widespread dysfunction we face. If all will ultimately be forgiven, that gives the perpetrator free rein to terrorize the community, again and again.
For example, if creepy Uncle Cletus has been known to molest children, but is still invited to the family reunion, rather than beaten within an inch of his life by family members seeking to avenge the victim, he has no impetus to stop. If Tyrone carried out a violent crime and did a 12-year bid in prison for it, and had a homecoming party held in honor of his release, rather than an empty commissary, unanswered phone calls, and changed addresses, what’s to discourage Tyrone, or anyone else, from carrying out violent crimes themselves? Prison alone is not necessarily a deterrent, especially with rap and hip-hop culture playing a part in glorifying incarceration. Knowing that there will be no soft landing if a crime is committed should be deeply engrained into the community.
With that said, some things are unforgivable. Some things cannot be defended, no matter how precious your husband, brother, or son is. And red flags are red for a reason – to not be ignored.
Being wealthy does not make a woman exempt from self-sabotaging decisions. Don’t think that because you’ve “made it” means that you have automatically shed those destructive behaviors you had when you were living paycheck to paycheck. Decisions made with low self-esteem while broke can mirror the decisions made with low self-esteem with a couple more zeroes in the bank account. Extra special care must be taken to rectify the mindset that causes a woman of means to roll around in the garbage with men (or women) far beneath her. Another post I wrote about a neurosurgeon marrying a shoe salesman echoes this sentiment. You can still be rich and make stupid decisions.
Speaking as a childless woman who isn’t particularly that bothered with the idea of having children, I realize that my perspective isn’t necessarily the norm. But I understand that many women feel the urge to have a child to call their own as their very meaning of life. Since asexual reproduction in humans has not been invented yet, a male partner is still needed as part of the baby-making equation. However, never let your urge for a baby lure you into picking a bum, deadbeat, or a loser to be the father.
As we all know, poor men do not deserve sex, much less a bloodline. If he is too broke to properly care for himself, it is doing everyone a disservice to add children to the mix. But poverty does not only mean money. If he is poor in character, such as a felon with a history of crimes against children, once more, he too does not deserve a bloodline. If he already has a string of unwed mothers in his wake, avoid him like the Rona and send him on his way.
Black women face a lot while pregnant, from increased maternal mortality rates when it’s time to deliver, to the highest rates of being murdered while pregnant. A big part of these negative statistics is tied to who you choose to procreate with – a true provider who has been appropriately vetted will add value to your life. A bum with a record, baby mama drama, and a history of issues will subtract. But with that said…
Even though society drills into women that it is imperative that a child must burst forth from her loins, it would behoove more black women to adopt a different approach. Too many of us as a collective have deep seated trauma, insufficient resources, and a laissez-faire approach for something as serious as motherhood. “Doing the best I could” is not a viable excuse and does not absolve you of the part you did or didn’t play in your child’s life.
This might be painful to hear, but not everyone should be parents. Do not embark on a journey as permanent and life-changing as motherhood without doing the work on yourself. You do not want to have children who will have to heal from having you as a parent, or unleash their turmoil onto others. If that challenge is too much to bear, or you do not have the means or the desire to do that difficult self-work, there’s nothing wrong with going the childfree route, either.
I discussed why dating felons is a bad idea in this post. But to recap, there are literally no benefits to dealing with a felon, especially as a black woman. Save yourself the inevitable problems and eliminate them from your romantic pool, as a rule.
One would think that anyone with a history of abuse of minors would be automatically denied the means to make a child. In a community where 60% of girls are molested before the age of 18 (though the number is likely much higher, since the community adheres to the “No snitching” rule quite strongly), a woman must do everything in her power to prevent such a fate from happening to her daughter (or son). If your latest entanglement has been accused of such a heinous offense, not only should you cut all ties, but you should report, name, shame and blacklist him as well.
The community assigns the benefit of the doubt to the male perpetrator all too frequently, hurling accusations of being “fast” or “grown” at the female victim, who at all of nine years old was somehow able to “seduce” a grown adult male. Do not ignore red flags and definitely do not have children by a male who is not allowed to push that baby on a swing in a playground, pick him/her up from school, attend a school recital, or go to Disney Land on summer vacations.
Whenever the topic of black women choosing better comes up, there will always be one person (usually another black woman) saying that rich men are cheating abusive assholes and will make your life a living hell. And while that can and is often true, the same can be said of poor men. In fact, poor men are often even bigger cheaters and abusers, simply because they are poor, angry at their lot in life, and have a lot less to lose.
Men in general can be liabilities, so saddling yourself with a broke loser out of fear of abuse from a man from a higher socioeconomic class is an act of self-sabotage. Splitting the rent, going on Denny’s dates, and being an attendee of Build-a-Bae workshop to a male with no resources is no guarantee of living your happy ever after. Choosing better from a moral AND financial standpoint is imperative, no matter your station in life.
To say that Nicki and other black women of means who marry beneath them financially is dishonest. Wealth does not automatically make a man abusive.
Nicki’s choice in husband and father is one that she and her unborn baby will have to contend with in the years to come. I don’t know her, but I do wish her and her baby the best. Black women, from minimum wage earners all the way up to Fortune 500 executives can learn from this situation, and make sure they do not fall into a similar trap in their own lives.
What are your thoughts on the baby news? Do share them in the comments below.