There's Room For Everyone
Can ‘t we all just get along? I’m serious. There’s nothing worse then seeing two successful black women fighting with each other when we should be working together. In a world where we are already having to fight to be recognized along with our male counterparts, it does us no good to have friction among ourselves. I’m sure by looking at the picture you can tell where I’m going with this. By now, we’ve all witnessed the back and forth between Nicki and Cardi B. I’m not going to get into what the beef is about because honestly, I don’t know myself. What I do want to focus on is why black women and women of color feel like they have to compete with each other and how so few opportunities in the industry(and workplace) have us in constant survival mode.
There was a time ten years ago when Nicki Minaj was the only female rapper that was dominating the charts. Artists like Lil Kim, Remy, Eve, Missy Elliott, and Rah Digga were either pursing other ventures or just on a personal hiatus which gave Nicki all the room and opportunity to come on the scene. The difference between these group of women and the Nicki era was that there wasn’t a time that they weren’t supporting each other. You would always seem them in each other videos or just showing general support for one another. I’m not sure where the changed happened, but when Nicki began take off, there was this push to keep Lil Kim out. A lot of that can be blamed on the male dominated industry but Nicki had her role in that too. Somehow, this theory of there could only be one female rapper in the industry began to take off and it manifested with Remy and now with Cardi B.
This isn’t limited to the entertainment industry. It’s rampant in the work place too. Black women often feel that promotion opportunities, salary increases, and just being recognized are far and few so when you bring another women of color in the same space, it becomes a rat race. You get in this mindset where forming a friendship or partnership with the other black woman in the office is out of the question because you have your own goals to reach and you’re not willing to share the reward.
I’ve had my own experiences with this where I would enter into a office space and see another black woman thinking we would be instant friends or a least form a bond. Nope, that wasn’t the case and I was often met with a cold shoulder or kept at arms length. I get it, but I hate that this is how things are. Think about “Insecure” and how Molly was determined to shine at her new firm which meant burning a few bridges with her co-workers. We all gave her the side eye but bottom line is she didn’t switch firms just to sit in the background or be cast aside.
I’m a strong supporter of building friendships and forming partnerships in the workplace, in business, and just overall life but I know that everyone is not receptive. The crabs in a barrel mentality runs deep in the black community and because we are used to having so little, we aren’t willing to share it. It’s harder for black women because they barely want to give us anything. Hopefully in the near future, Onika and Belcalis will be able to work past their difference and give us the hood bops we enjoy and love so much. We can accomplish so much when we work together instead of being apart, especially when there is enough room for everyone.