If Tyrese’s Wife Can Be a “Black Queen,” Can I Be a White One?

The ongoing discussion about the ethnicity of Tyrese’s new wife, Samantha Lee Schwalenberg has been quite interesting. First off, I must acknowledge that Beyond Black & White erroneously reported that Schwalenberg is Arab. That turns out not to be the case. According to Tyrese, his new bride is a mix of Ecuadorian, Jamaican and Black. Which is…interesting, because according to this website, these are her parents.

Samantha, her mother and brother. #BlackKing

Samantha and her #BlackKing Father

I’ve been called an opportunist for pointing out the absurdity of how Tyrese, who gets many of his dollars from selling bridges to black women, calling his new wife his “Black Queen.” Like…really? Tyrese has a gorgeous wife. But if she’s a “Black Queen” because she got a small percentage of black in her, and that her lack of a typical phenotype doesn’t matter, then I humbly ask, can the same logic be extended to me? Because after all, I’m about 12% white. Yes…me.

Here are the results of my DNA done a few years ago by National Geographic:

But…I don’t LOOK like a white girl! But because I have white in me, I should be able to call myself that!! And…and…and!!! I grew up in a WHITE neighborhood! And my husband and WHITE!! Pretty please, and I be a white girl too???

Look, I’m all for dispelling this whole race classification thing. It’s outdated, outmoded, stupid and racist. But if you’re going to INSIST that I play, then the rules have to be CONSISTENT. If you can just say your wife is black because to say otherwise may tarnish your credibility for your cash cows, then stop calling me a black girl, because I’m 12% European, okay?

In all serious, I’m totally happy being exactly what I appear to be–black.



The constant moving of the goal post of who is a black woman leaves the “regular” black girls like me at a social and romantic disadvantage if they SOLELY choose to date other black men. Study after study has revealed that lighter skinned black women are given top priority in virtually every aspect of black community life–from sororities, the NAACP, marriage rates, media, social and romantic interactions and marriage. It’s part of the reason why I do what I do and encourage black women to find love with men who cherish and admire them regardless of color. Colorism in the black community has simply become too toxic for brown and dark skinned black women, and that point has been argued to death and been proven true time and time again.


Let’s be real here. The only folks benefiting from Samantha Lee Schwalenberg claiming herself “black” are her and the men who are so happy to lap this up. The One Drop Rule may be racist, but let’s not pretend that it hasn’t been a benefit to colorist black people who want to embrace blackness when it benefits them, while simultaneously enjoying the privileges of looking closer to white. Let’s not pretend that black men who fear “blacklash” from dating and marrying non-black women don’t benefit from claiming their girlfriends are black because somebody’s great grandmother lived in a black neighborhood for five minutes.

Again, I believe Samantha Lee Schwalenberg is a beautiful and talented racially ambiguous woman. But to call her a “Black Queen” is a bit of a stretch.

More on my take:

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