Written by Penelope Farthing
There was no shortage of Black Girl Magic at the Met Gala last week. Serena Williams stunned in yellow. Danai Gurira looked her typical perfect, flawless self. Eyes were on Janelle Monae’s optical outfit. Ciara was a jewel in green, you name it. They were all immaculate and beautiful and one day may I be as beautiful and poised as any one of them. However, one Black Girl Magician in particular failed to cast a spell on me.
If you’ve read my blogs before, you might think that all I do is harp on problems with black men. While partially true, black women are not blameless and I will call them to task as well. Tiffany Haddish once again made news for doing the most at the Met Gala, by bringing a Ziploc bag of chicken to munch on while she was in attendance. Her reason? Apparently they don’t serve enough food at the gala, so she brought her own. If you remember, just last month she let the world know she had a fecal accident in an Uber. At least this new faux pas shouldn’t require an upholstery bill, but it still looks bad.
Out of all the snacks to bring, she went with something greasy and messy (and difficult to dispose of the remains if they were not boneless). She couldn’t eat beforehand like a normal person? Or settle for something a little more discreet/portable like grapes or dried fruit or cashews? On an international stage, Tiffany portrayed herself as a stereotype, and though she was just one woman in a sea of sistas strutting their sundry sartorial successes, she still managed to bring the image of black women down.
I didn’t see many video clips from the pink carpet, but funny enough, Tiffany’s interview, where she loudly and proudly proclaims, “we got a white woman eating chicken!” was the one that made it onto my timeline, complete with an article from E! News. I’m absolutely sure that other beautiful black women were interviewed, but it’s funny how the one clip that features a black woman playing the role of one-woman minstrel show gets the most shares.
Can we all, collectively and forever just drop the “black people love fried chicken” trope? It is SO tired, SO overdone, and SO played out. If you have to rely on stereotypes for your comedy, it may be time to pursue other ventures. The only thing that would have made it worse was if she had washed it down with a bottle of purple drank and had some watermelon slices as dessert. To top it all off, the outfit she chose to go with this year’s theme of “camp”…was a pimp. I don’t expect Tiffany to be a walking billboard calling attention to sexual injustices dealt to black women and girls, but to almost glamorize the pimp archetype that plays a huge part in those injustices…is just not a good look.
I was rooting for her but I’m sad to say she’s just not funny. She makes her living as a caricature of black womanhood and draws attention to the negative stereotypes that plague us all, whether we are famous or not. And once again, I am not saying that Tiffany has to be a robotic Stepford wife, but just portray herself as though she has some refinement. Black women have an image problem, and despite all the other beautiful black women at the gala, the negative portrayals will get the most attention. Who knows…maybe her pimp costume could have been a satin bonnet and oversized t-shirt. It’s bad enough that black male comedians use us as the butt of their jokes. Black women shouldn’t be joining in on our degradation on top of it.