Stop Putting A Filter On Blackness: Why Nothing Was Wrong With Issa Rae's Pro - Black Comment
By Alexis Alex
Okay, before we get into this discussion. Let's talk about how much black excellence was displayed at the Emmys this year. Donald Glover won two Emmys for work in Atlanta, one for Best Actor in a Comedy Series and another for Outstanding Comedy Directing, the latter made him the first Black person to win this award. Lena Waithe won for Outstanding Comedy Writing for Master of None, making her the first Black women to win this feat. Also, Sterling K. Brown became the first Black actor in nearly two decades to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his work in This Is Us. The night was filled with a plethora of "firsts" for Blacks in the entertainment industry which is a rewarding, but still a sad feeling because we are still celebrating "firsts" in 2017. Nonetheless, as the gates of Hollywood slowly began to embrace diversity talent, people of color will continue to see more winning nights like this.
On the other hand, one of the shining moments of the night was when Issa Rae decided she was going to be unapologetically Black and proud. While being interviewed by Variety Magazine, The Insecure actress was asked who she was looking forward to rooting for and she said five words, "I'm rooting for everybody Black." Same Issa, same. Check out the video below.
While Black Twitter praised Issa for honesty, "other Twitter" attacked her for her so-called racist statement.
Can black people praise themselves in peace? As a young Black writer and director, it is important for Issa to cheer on and uplift other Black people in her space telling unique Black stories. Why should she lie about rooting for her fellow Black people? I am so tired of people assuming that when a person is pro - Blackthat means they are anti - White or anti - everyone else. Why is pro - Blackness considered evil? It is not racist for a Black person to root for other Black people to succeed in any white - dominated industry that barely gives space to minorities in the first place. Although the talent has always been there, Black people's art has always been overlooked and underappreciated, so when we have a chance to win, it is exciting for the whole community. For Black people, we all know why Issa said what she said and I praise her for her honesty. It's time to end the days where Black people put a filter on their Blackness to stop everyone else from feeling uncomfortable. Carefree Blackness is in, deal with it people.
Apparently, the counter argument is if a White person would have said the same thing, it would be racist. And that is correct. Some may say it is a double standard, and it is. This is because being pro - white often requires one to be against other cultures because they feel it is threat to their own. We saw that play out in Charloettesville, correct? Until being pro - White is not a threat to all minorities, it will forever be problematic. On the other hand, Blackness has always existed to uplift other black people, not to threaten anyone else. Whether its cheering on Venus and Serena in tennis, rooting on the Black in Family Feud, or voting for the Black singer on the Voice, it is important for Black people to support other black people because if we don’t, who will? And if you're looking for an apology from Issa, keep dreaming.