Reading in the Shade

Hood #formations and Ho shoes

I debated about writing this at all, but I think there is some conversation that needs to be had with the black community about Beyoncé.
I know we’ve spent the last few days discussing her activist cred, whether or not she is truly woke or truly radical. We pass judgments on people that are part of the ‘beyhive’ and those that are labeled as Stans.


I am not and probably never will never be a major bey fan. Her music just isn’t my preferred genre, and stylistically I am not in love with what she does.

But Formation?
That song is my shit.

I’ve been called a stan, whacktavist, tumberlina, beyhive head, and on and on. What is interesting is that I am none of these things but I am called such because I like one Beyoncé song.

So I got to thinking *why* am I so obsessed with this song? Why do I love it so much?
And then I realized that my love of the song is based on a much larger discussion we need to have in the black community.

There’s cries that Bey isn’t really woke. She celebrates capitalism, she’s a thot, she needs to get rid of the blonde hair, she isn’t the only saying that she proud of her negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils. That truly woke revolutionaries have been rocking afros before Blue was even conceived. That bey thinks she is on a pedestal above us. She is multi-millionaire, show stopper, first name basis celeb. The average black person cannot compete with this, so she’s not here for us.
And you know what?
All that shit is 100% true. (Expect the thot part, because f**k slut shaming).

So if Bey isn’t the messiah, isn’t the ultimate activist, why are people obsessed with this song?

I cannot speak for others, But I can speak about what I see.

The video visually was great. The lyrics were good even if they weren’t terribly complex. The dancing was on point. But aside from all of that…
The song is ratchet as f**k.
Hot sauce in my bag, swag ratchet.
Wig shop ratchet
Talmbout how hard I slay ratchet.
Talmbout getting good d**k and rewarding him with red lobster ratchet.
Basically… my life kinda ratchet.

I am black. But I am sure as sh*t not respectable. I am sex worker. I am poor. Single parent. I spend money on ho shoes and fake nails. I’m bisexual. I drink too much, curse more than I should, and try to live life to the fullest.
I am the kind of black chick who will go to red lobster with my own hot sauce. I drink cuervo, no chaser, f**k training wheels.

I am not the girl you bring home to your mother. I am not a “good” girl. I will not go to church with you.

I don’t speak academics, I speak hood.

I do not act like a proper queen, I will never call my man kang.

And this leaves me on the outside of the black movement most of the time.
yeah, I went to Ferguson to deliver supplies. Yes, I have a trip to Flint in my future. Yes, I go to rallies and marches for ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬. I talk online about white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy, and misogynoir. I blog, write think pieces, and podcast and talk about black shit. A LOT.

But I am always on the outside, because at the end of the day, my life is not compatible enough with the respectability that is required to officially be *in* the movement. I stay on the outside pushing for change because I think white supremacy is a threat, but I also know deep in my heart a lot of black people who are fighting for blackness aren’t fighting for my blackness.
My blackness is tainted with poverty, queerness, and too much sex. My blackness is judged because it involves anti-depressants and a latinx identity. My blackness is not middle class or college educated. My blackness is authentic, but often it’s not seen as good enough.

There’s a lot of black people who fight for blackademics, but not for high school dropouts.
They fight for nation building and black love, as long it isn’t queer.
They fight for black people who have a good backstory and were murdered by cops, but not for black addicts who get killed by cops
They fight for clean water, but not for those who need access to mental health medications.
They fight for respectable women who are done wrong by white supremacy, but won’t raise a finger to help rape victims and domestic violence victims.
They say BLACK LIVES MATTER at rallies, but not to the homeless, the sex workers, black people in prison.
I love blackness in general, but not everyone loves mine back.
In many ways, my inability to stay respectable has left me on the outside of the movement.

That is why this song speaks to me.
Even though I am aware that Beyoncé probably doesn’t live her life the way this particular video portrays, I appreciate the lyrics. Best of all because of the sound of the song + Beyoncé’s reach, this song will blow up.
I can go to a gay club and hear this song, and watch everyone flip their sh*t. There will be other queer girls and gay boys dancing to this song. We will feel authentically black while it plays. We can be black and queer and slay without being told we’re “destroying the black family unit” or “unnatural perversions”
This song will be in the background when black women get weaves and get their nails done. This song will be playing in a store where I get my ho… I mean… work shoes. And we will sing along and be black, and be happy for 4 minutes without being told we are the problem with the black community.

This song will be my theme, even if it on some levels it is basic as hell. But this not a problem with Beyoncé. This is a problem with the black community at large.
Instead of chastising us for feasting on basic scraps, you should be asking you never let us at your table.
You can complain that the song isn’t revolutionary enough, but then who else is mainstream and black and making dance anthems for the lgtbqia community and women in general? Woke male artists who mock weaves and only want “good” women? Respectable woke queens who call the lgtbqia community a perversion and are too polite to twerk?

Ratchet, ghetto, hood ass black women and femmes matter too. And we’ve done enough to be deserving of a theme song.
You wanna talk about how the song is not radical? How Beyonce is not a “real” activist? Address yourself first. Why did a simple statement about afros and negro noses over a beat resonate with so many of us? How did she manage to give us something the black movement at large has denied us?
Maybe Beyoncé isn’t a revolutionary. but she won this round because nobody within the black movement even fucking competed with her to include us.


Let that marinate while I get these shoes on. and remember.





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One thought on “Hood #formations and Ho shoes

  1. Boneweaver (aka pjvj) on said:

    This is fantastic!


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