My fiancé is white. I’m not. We plan to jump the broom this summer, to honor my heritage and the hardships of couples like us. The tradition was born under anti-miscegenation laws that forbade blacks from marrying. And signing an official state marriage license feels inappropriate, considering the racist history behind it.
Anti-miscegenation laws had been a part of US history since colonial America. In the late 1700s, states began increasing their control over marriage by requiring a license. By the 1920s, 30 states had enacted laws that further prevented interracial marriage, including my home state, Virginia, with the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. It wasn’t until 1968 that banning interracial marriage was declared unconstitutional in the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia.
Had my partner and I been engaged only 50 years ago, our application for a marriage license would have been rejected. Our only choice would’ve been to jump the broom. Theoretically, our marriage license still could be rejected, because it’s an application process, and all it takes is one bigoted judge to turn it down. And it isn’t just blacks or interracial couples who have been targeted by these invasive institutions.
Read the rest at The Freeman…
Anyone paying attention to the world of pop culture knows that it’s a hostile one, with feuds and rivalries between artists being the norm. When it comes to relationships between female artists, infamous Twitter battles between Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks and notorious showdowns between Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim lead many to think, as T.I. recently put it in an interview with Vibe, that women simply can’t get along. In an industry known for its long history of female rap beefs and cutthroat competition, the inspiring and sisterly relationship between Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj is a welcome change. Since we could all learn something from their fierce feminist friendship, here are five lessons from the Queen of Rap and Queen Bey.
1. Beyoncé and Nicki celebrate each other’s sexuality. Their recent collaborations, “Flawless (Remix)” and“Feeling Myself,” are feminist anthems that honor and elevate sexual empowerment and agency. The artists’ message is especially important when taking into account the long history of sexual exploitation and stereotyping of black women. Womanist scholar Emilie Townes explains that the stereotyping of black women is an example of “the history of dominant culture resorting to denigrating myths to maintain the status quo.” Townes explains that the contrasting images of the asexual Mammy and the highly sexualized Jezebel show how white culture has destructively shaped perceptions of black women’s sexuality. Beyoncé and Nicki’s musical collaborations challenge and deconstruct these damaging stereotypes and celebrate a sex-positive view of black women and their bodies.
2. Beyoncé and Nicki teach us the importance of feminist mentorship. As an artist, a businesswoman, and a public figure, Beyoncé has broken down barriers for women everywhere. Through her friendship with Nicki Minaj, it’s clear that when Beyoncé breaks through doors, she doesn’t close them behind her, but instead opens them for others to succeed. Beyoncé supports and encourages Nicki, and Nicki has been vocal about the influence Mrs. Carter has had on her, both personally and professionally. In an interview with Paris radio station Skyrock FM, Nicki shared that Beyoncé “represents drive and passion and everything that I would like to be, in terms of being an artist and a businesswoman at the same time.” When speaking about her notorious VMA wardrobe malfunction on the MTV documentary My Time Again, Nicki revealed that in a time when she felt embarrassment and failure, Beyoncé called her just to say, “As an entertainer, I gained so much more respect for you for how you handled that.” Their mentor/mentee relationship is something we should all emulate.
Read the rest at Feministing…
Advocate Rachel Burger‘s latest Forbes post, The American Economy, Not Feminism, Is What’s ‘Ruining’ Masculinity, was covered in The Huffington Post in a post called The Gorilla Theory of Men.
Ms. Burger is right about one matter: The feminist movement has taken nothing from men, nor is it responsible for their plight. Men are diminished only by what they have willingly surrendered. They must recover themselves, and nothing about this recovery need come at the expense of women, feminist or not. Instead, it may well bring us closer to a genuinely great society, one in which the tug of war between genders ends and both offer their best with the benefit of the next generation in mind.
If you’d like to speak with or book Rachel or any of our other Advocates, please contact Young Voices today.