“black women were created of brown sugar and warm honey. the sweetest thing to bless the earth. be wary of anyone who tells you otherwise.” ― alexandra elle.
THE HISTORY OF THE “ANGRY BLACK WOMAN” STEREOTYPE
This was popularized by the 1930s sitcom Amos ‘n’ Andy. While this show was based around a historic black community, their use of the “angry black woman” stereotype was created by white men, as they were the only ones behind the making of the show. Unsurprisingly, this was not the only time this stereotype was used in television shows and developed by non-black writers.
THE EFFECT THIS STEREOTYPE HAS ON BLACK WOMEN
While some may see this stereotype as a laughing matter, it’s become a serious problem for black women who simply want to be able to express themselves. This stereotype removes black women’s rights to voice their opinions with the respect they deserve.
Although some people may see this stereotype as not being around, women such as Nicki Minaj, Leslie Jones, and Beyoncé would disagree, as it has effected them (and more black women) all in the latest year. The most recent (famous) victim of this is Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei. Because of how insane it is, this case is the perfect one to highlight on this article, as it perfectly portrays just how far people will go to paint black women as angry for their own benefit.
It should come as no surprise that Kordei has faced racism for the entire four years of the group’s existence. This discrimination however, got even more out of hand within this past year. Around the time that Kordei released two dance videos and the news of her group member’s (Camila Cabello) solo career got out, Cabello’s fans in particular began harshly criticizing Kordei by referring to her as “shady” and “a diva.” There was no valid reason behind their claims, as she hadn’t done anything that could be described by either of those words, yet one of their excuses was that she “retweeted too many compliments about herself.”
Their microaggressive behavior only progressed as Cabello started receiving criticism (for multiple reasons) and as Kordei started began receiving more praise and recognition. This behavior included body shaming and slut shaming, claiming that she had no talent, making false claims about her character, sending her death threats, and attacking her with extremely direct racism. Most recently, their anger stems from Kordei referring to her group mate, Cabello, as “cute and quirky.” How this makes sense, no one is sure, but their behavior has gone so far that Kordei is now on a break from social media.
Kordei has always spoken up about the racism she’s received, yet Cabello’s fans have always dismissed this and continued labeling her as a diva. She still faces criticism from these fans, who refer to her as “weak” and “attention seeking” for taking a social media break.
Unfortunately, these fans are not alone in painting her as the “angry black women.” Nylon Magazine had said that Kordei had “inadvertently let her true feelings about Cabello slip,” implying that she had said something negative about her group mate. Perez Hilton had referred to Kordei’s words on Cabello as a “diss.” Inquisitr had said that Kordei “shaded” and “burned” Cabello, and made it a point to depict her as a “shade queen.” J-14 wrote two articles focusing on how Kordei had thrown “shade” at Cabello and even said that they “under[stood] why Harmonizers were upset.” HollywireTV deleted a video covering the story where they misleadingly painted Kordei as the villain, to then upload a video that ended up skipping over the discrimination she gets and even managed to victimize Cabello instead (let it be known that the host of the show also once claimed that she never saw Kordei receive hate). It should also be re-stated that these headlines and quotes were all responses to Kordei calling her group mate “cute and quirky.”
While there are more articles antagonizing Kordei (many of them praising Cabello for her “defense speech”), very few have managed to properly address the situation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP THIS STEREOTYPE
A big influence on this stereotype is the media’s portrayal of black women. The writers of these articles need to re-evaluate their racial bias. Another influence is the reactions people outside of the media hold, and in that case they also need to re-evaluate their racial bias and take black women more seriously.
In the particular case concerning Normani Kordei, there are actions you can take to make her social media experience easier upon her return. You can spread this Blavity article instead of other biased ones, as it accurately depicts Kordei and the situation at hand. You can also report and block the following Twitter accounts, as they have contributed to the racism and microaggression against her for a long time (many have shown this behavior toward other members of Fifth Harmony as well):
camilaitunes, dearestmiIa, camrenincrime, favcamiIa, lmjcatchme, daehynz, vodkalaurenss, workfromshomes, thotjai, distantlooks, camiilizer, mamichulacamila, cabeyomyeggo, tidescabello, cabellontour, holyhenderson, higherbrooke, kysagb, lmjournals, camiIascunt, lawrubi9, intoallyy, holyselegend, biancajauregui5, theresaranghaja, agbtinashe, giIsgeneration, hafterslow.
We stand with you, Normani.