Category: In The News-Reaction Pieces

My Sister’s Keeper (Pt. 3): The Knowing Unknowing

Wit. Your first mind. Mother wit. Somethin-told-me. Intuition. Ancestral knowing. It’s still needed…and life-saving. -JBH

As of this posting Kyrie Irving has given $65,000 to her funeral expenses, and Shanquella has been interred in Charlotte, NC.

As I balance experience and protection for my now teenage daughters, I have to tell them these stories. I have to pull them closer to me to let them know the world is a scary place, and once your know that–you can navigate it. I am teaching my daughters to trust that intuition–what I tell them is their ancestral knowing or their first mind–because it will not steer them wrong. I tell my daughters for the want of being popular, trying to be seen, Instagramming your reality, people will override that still small voice.

I can’t speak to every other Black woman in the world, but I can speak for myself. I believe, and was told by my mother, that wit is something that every woman has. And it will reveal things to you, and show you things if you are willing to listen to it. I believe in this era of parasocial relationships, sliding in DM’s, viral likes and shares, it is easy to miss that tap on your shoulder to tell you that something is bad.

That something isn’t right.

That you shouldn’t go with that person.

Shouldn’t call that person back.

That something is indeed…wrong.

In this situation (much like Kenneka’s), I wonder if that intuition went off for Shanquella. If it went off for her mother!

As I look at this situation as a mother, sister, friend and Black woman, I have so many questions. Most of those questions are powered by my intuition! I wonder if Shanquella’s mother told her not to go, asked for her friends to come by the house. I want to know if anyone confirmed the itinerary–and that emboldened her friends to come by her mother’s house to tell her Shanquella was dead from (allegedly) alcohol poisoning.

I want to know if Ms. Salamondra Robinson’s eyes narrowed at these people when her daughter didn’t come back with them.

For the person who opened the door for this friend whom would later assault Shanquella, did your stomach drop?

Why did no one break this fight up? And how devoid of humanity must you be in order to leave a friend dead, only to have all the friends scatter?

I also want to know if Shanquella, resting in her hotel, thinking she was safe, felt the energy in the room shift when the door opened before her life ended.

I want to know if she felt something in her say, “Shanquella, don’t go. Don’t go with these people”. And she didn’t listen.

I pose the same question: If Black women are not safe around other Black women, where are they safe?


My Sister’s Keeper (Pt. 2): This Is Not The Time

TW: Transphobia

I do not agree with the accusation of the assailant of the Shanquella being labeled as a ‘man in a wig.’ Or immediately being classified as a Black transwoman.

So often Black women are classified as masculine! Our bodies are ridiculed, only to be mimicked. Black women have meet incredible standards to even be considered feminine, or the ever elusive ‘pretty’. In the forefront of this tragedy is this burgeoning transphobia, and anti-trans sentiment!

No. No, we are not about to do this!

The fact is Shanquella is dead, and the people who she traveled with are responsible! Yet, homophobia is never late! It is never late, never failing to be out of place! What needs to be added in this conversation is how easy sometimes Black women will not examine their own inner circles, but will always seek out ‘the other’ to determine who/where the enemy is.

It can’t be the women in my circle whom are capable of this, but a transwoman would because they are not real women!

No. Not here. Not ever. Not never ever.

Let me say this: I am a cis-het Black woman. I have never looked in the mirror and thought, ‘None of this [heart, body, mind, spirit] is right! I can lend sympathy and empathy to transpeople. And as a woman, I can respect women (cis/trans), and only ask for that respect in return.

This situation has nothing to do with transwomen.

Transwomen are not the enemy. I repeat: transwomen are not the enemy, and should not be the focus in this discussion! The focus needs to remain on Shanquella, and why her ‘friends’ got her in another country, (allegedly) murdered her, and lied to her mother about her cause of death!

If anything, this situation forces us as Black women to look at our own circles! We have to examine who is there and why people are there. Then, be brave enough to make them leave!

There are Black women who say this situation is not, should not be compared to what happened to Kenneka Jenkins. But, I offer to you that it can.

Both young women trusted people whom could not keep them safe, look out for them, or even had the base level care most Black women have been taught to have for one another. And for that misplacement of trust, they are dead.

The remaining questions I have is:

Who really looks for Black women and girls except other Black women and girls?

If Black women have no trust among each other, then were can Black women have it

My Sister’s Keeper (Pt. 1): What About Your Friends?

Author note: As of this posting, there have been no arrests in this case. #JusticeForShanquellaRobinson -JBH

Shanquella Robinson should not be dead. And the fact that she is in the company of Black people, in a foreign country, with her mother on the news demanding answers?

Disbelief isn’t the word!

Yet, it but I cannot help but remember the words of my mother: “Not every one is your friend.”

The most vicious thing about her murder is still how callous this all was! It rings of what happened to Kenneka Jenkins in Chicago. There is a debate on social media which debates this, but there indeed is a parallel. The main one is: who do you call your friend. And…why?

This young woman wasn’t yet 30.

A college graduate.


And she traveled internationally with people she knew.

And yet, she is gone. A portion of her assault on the internet for all to see. An one of her assailants is a Black woman! The urban philosophers T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chili once said, “What about your friends?” As a mother now, this is my worst nightmare. I am trying to equip my children to be in the world, being able to listen to their intuition when things are wrong, and knowing exactly what a friend is!

This young woman is dead because of jealousy, and trusting the wrong set of people. Yet, there is a deeper element here. More sinister.

With Black women being so unprotected, with us working towards trying to build and keep safety, the safest place should be with another Black woman! In watching the video, in seeing this beautiful Black woman thrown around, pummeled, and with a Black man in the video saying, “Shanquella, you ain’t gon fight back?”

Furthermore, then, to find out that her murder innocence was videotaped on the phone? Only to have that video then begin circulating, which contradicts everything her friends told her mother? Horrendous.

How have we gotten here?

I believe one of the ways by which we have gotten here is we no longer value human life… that goes beyond race. In this reality by which we now currently navigate, and traverse, it seems what we value is. Everything is intangible. this generational gap is evident that what we as Gen X, millennials were taught, did not trickle down to GenZ. Or if it did, they didn’t believe it was worthy of implementing in their own social circles.

It doesn’t matter that this young woman had hopes dreams, a mother that loved her, family, that she belonged to–the fact that her friends in my opinion were jealous of her.

I’ve been a woman for a consider amount of time now. And I know enough that, when a group of women don’t like you? They will do the most nefarious things to you to either isolate you, ridicule, you, or hurt you.

Yet, in this parasocial relationship, social media crafted reality, we must remember that not everyone that likes your images, like you. Not everyone that follows you, is defined as ‘friend’ will be one. Not everyone wants you to win, loves. And there are people whom truly desire to be in your space in order to harm or destroy you!

yeah, some of the questions I still have are:

What can be done to be pulled back?

And who was holding the camera?

Who had opened the door?

Trust as a Black woman is a powerful thing, and most fragile. Once it is violated–especially by another Black woman, that is hard to repair. If not impossible.

The Miles Matter-Part 4: Why This Cannot Wait

Addendum: For more talk of Miles, the MCU, representation and all matters of hero support (if you know, you know!), please follow the Don’t Make This Weird Podcast hosted by Greg Howard, Jr. The show airs April 20, 2022. The title of the show is called (funny enough) “Hero Support“. Thanks for everything, Greg. -JBHarris

For the past four weeks, I have asked for your attention as it relates to my campaign for representation. For the last four weeks, I have poured my heart out (and some of my rage) towards why it is so important to have Miles Morales be more than a ghost in the MCU. He deserves to me more than something whispered about in forums, living through hashtags and spoilers on the innerwebs.

Miles Morales deserves to be more than something that we can say, “Well, one day it’ll happen.” That one day is here! Why? If there can be 3 Spider-Men in a movie, 5 actors to have donned the Cape and Cowl, and a redemption arc for Tony Stark, RiRi Williams about to headline Disney+–Where is Miles Morales?

I don’t want to hear anything about the name throwing people off–that is semantics at this point. There are Spider-Men, Spider-Girls, Scarlet Spiders–even Spider-Carnage!–in this world known as Marvel Comics!

It is not longer good enough to relegate the Black fandom to scraps to silence us! We cannot be, and we will not be!

All I have seen during my time as Black, Black woman, cis-het Blerd, is that characters whom are usually DAW (depicted as White), moving from that source material where whiteness is centered to the dimming and erasure of all others–they (the racist fandom) don’t want to have that worldview challenged! It’s selfish! That selfishness if reflected in the culture: centering of whiteness, minimizing of the opinions of other people, false sense of superiority where mediocrity is seen as grandeur.

It is in hope, I say this:

We of the Black fandom are tired of being erased, dimmed, and told to stop complaining. We know representation is equality, it is fairness, it is just and we are owed it! For those of us whom have to piece together their history, you will not minimize our effect on culture. Miles is as much ours as he is Marvel’s! He belongs to us too–so give him back to us.

Give him to us NOW.

The Miles Matter-Part 3: Animation

“If you want to be in the history of the culture, you have to be in the fiction. If you don’t exist in the literature, your people don’t exist.” -Walter Mosley

One of my favorite people in the world is Walter Mosely. I could listen to him read the weather report and be fascinated (shameless plug: he is teaching a MasterClass on Novel writing–get it.) Yet, as I continue to commit myself to this gift, the assignment of thinking and writing, this matter of representation versus existence keeps popping up.

Now, while Miles Morales is no Ezekiel “Easy” Rollins, there are parallels. Like Mosely, whom focuses on Black male heroes in all his work, for the MCU while there are a plethora of Black male heroes–they are not often brought to the forefront; they are not seen in live action movies–stand alone movies–even less than. Before Black Panther there was…Blade. And before Blade–who?

But, there are always loopholes aren’t there?

Rather than give everything we the portion of the fandom that is Black also deserve, we get relegated to ink, paper and voice overs. It would seem that the existence of the non-White people in the greater vox populi known as The Fandom, don’t really like us that much. I mean, we are tolerated, but not really liked.

And when there is any clamor about how we are depicted or represented, the powers that be give us cartoons. Have you ever noticed that? We exist, but we have no existence in live action which rivals the non-Black fandom. Which is strange…and infuriating!

It would seem that animation is a pacifier–to placate us to complaining! To give something to assuage our demand for more representation: “Look, we’re inclusive, we started a cartoon! We gave you Into The Spider-verse! See, we did give you Miles!”

That is not enough.

With the MCU elevating the place of comic books and comic book lore in current pop culture, it is not sufficient to relegate those whom participate in this culture to solely animation. Moreover, since literature is not confined to a single medium, but is consumed and translated among several mediums (this is how it is integrated into culture), why cannot mediums be expanding and accepting of non-White characters from that literature?

No, MARVEL, no SONY, cartoons are not enough.

Where is Miles Morales?

The Miles Matter-Part 2: Value

I have a had a long-standing love affair with this character–this dichotomy of Peter Parker and his hero alter, Spider-Man. I mean, in following the timeline of my own life, I was dating the most horrible man when the first Sony Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire was released in 2002. I was 21 then. At the time the third installment of Spider-Man was released, I was married, and pregnant with my first child. And what better way to bookend this love affair than with my teenage daughters, as a twice divorcee.

From Tobey. To Andrew. To Tom.

And Tobey is still a favorite–for obvious reasons.

As much as I loved Spider-Man: No Way Home, I still left much like an aunt looking for her nephew. I felt like a sister looking for her brother. And now–I feel like a mother looking for her son. That part roars because it is much less about me, and my desire for representation–it is for my children, grandchildren and other children whom still don’t see their faces on screen.

Representation still matters! Having one incredible Black-centered movie isn’t enough when cinema has only be around for about 100 years! I mean, as of next year the ‘prestigious’ academy is only 95 years old! And how many winners of those Academy Awards have not been White?

G’head! Google it! I’ll wait!

If there can be hashtags created in favor of Andrew Garfield being Spider-Man again for the Amazing Spider-Man 3 (I think the hashtag is #ASM3), where is the hashtag for Miles?! Where is Miles Morales?!

With this movie kicking open the door for the multiverse (clearly there are three Spideys!), and clearly the source material offers many other Peters (any BOY are there alot of them!), is making a Miles Morales movie a…risk?

There are a generation of children whom look like Miles, whom are waiting on Miles.

So, where is he?

The Miles Matter-Part 1: Representation

Note: I talk about this in depth on The Ideal Firestarter for 28 Days of Blackness. Click here for that article.

Where is Miles Morales?

I am happy that my daughters will never know a time where they didn’t see themselves in the world. Both my daughters were during the presidency of Barack H. Obama. And my children will always remember our King, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). When Black Panther was released, I was 36, almost 37. For scale, my mother was in her 60’s. I am still old enough to remember believing that Disney never would make a “Black Princess”, and it was okay–because “We have Jasmine!”

With all this new flurry of representation, of more Black people in White spaces, despite the racist fandom, I still must ask: Where is Miles Morales?

With the movie SOUL (which is problematic for other reasons), we see how dynamic Black people are, but the producers were White (I have an issue with this). Also, if you all remember the Disney movie Dumbo, the crows were Black, and one of them was named Jim.

Yeah, that occurred.

But when I look at the “world outside my window” that Stan Lee said that the Marvel Universe represents, I just don’t see cis-het White men! So, when I look at the universe that I have seen so much of myself in, found a home in, I cannot help but ask–if anyone can wear the mask–where is Miles?

The younger Black Marvel fans deserve the same representation as everyone else! Why is that not being honored? Where are the Black hero centered superhero movies? The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus doesn’t count!

Representation includes the people who look like you too. We are done asking!

Where are going to keep asking this until we see it come to pass: Where is Miles Morales?

The Miles Matter: Overview

This overview will include spoilers. But by the time you are reading this, Spider-Man: No Way Home should be streaming. -JBHarris

I am a writer. I am a Black woman. I am a writer. I am a blerd.

With that said, I am also dedicated Spider-Man fan. Thanks to my cousin Jason, I will always be. I mean, I was engaged in a torrid saga with a man whom I nicknamed Peter Parker, and I was MJ!

But enough of that.

What I want to talk about this month is representation. I want to talk about Miles Morales, and why the MCU keeps playing in the face of the Black fandom about him! The last straw was Jaime Foxx saying to Andrew’s Spidey (after he unmasked), that he thought he was Black. Moreover, he said, “There must be a Black Spider-man somewhere then.”

I took my daughters to see this particular Spidey installment Opening Night in the States: December 17, 2022. What follows for the next 4 weeks is going to be my options, my reflections, my feelings about why Miles is crucial to the MCU cannon, and why confining Miles Morales to comics, animation and video games is not good enough.

So, I have one question: Where is Miles Morales?

Stop Weaponizing Non-Black Children To Gaslight Black Mothers With Their Children!

Anti-Blackness is real.

With this new found ‘success’ on TikTok (@whatjayesaid2.0), people seem to think that the same thought-provoking commentary was going to ease up! No, not at all!

This week, with seeing a mother whom I thought was White (turns out she was Mexican–and very fair), with her child crying on her lap crying, about how her classmate/friend, couldn’t come to her birthday party. Why? Her classmate was Black girl–with a vigilant Black mother!–was not going to be allowed to come to her birthday party.

While that is sad, as the mother of Black daughters, in a world that leaves a 23-year-old Black woman in her house dead, trying to protect them in world that either wants to kill/mimic/erase them? In a pandemic? I would have said the same thing! And what is that, you ask:

No, you cannot go over the house of a little girl (Black or White, but especially not White), whose mother I do not know. No, and do not ask me again.”

But in looking at this video of this little girl on her mother’s lap, something else struck me about this. Rather than taking the time to reach out to this girl’s mother, it was more advantageous to embarrass her daughter’s classmate and gaslight her mother. Which…only proved this little Black girl’s mother’s point!

This woman weaponized the tears of her daughter, to ‘get’ back at a Black woman! It was important for this woman whom weaponized the tears of her child–for what, exactly? To the point that she went to the school board to tell on this Black girl’s mother (Follow the TikTok account @gordacorajuda for her breakdown–I shared the video on my account as well)!

Tell me you got drunk on White supremacy without telling me you got drunk off White supremacy.

The girl’s mother used her child to advance the cause of white supremacy using Karens’ number one tool: gaslighting.

It was never about any kind of racial harmony, unity or trying to stamp out racism! This is stems from the fact non-Black people trying believe they have the right to all aspects of Black people! This includes time, culture, and personal space.

A Black woman set a boundary. A non-Black woman didn’t like it, and tried to bring the world down her to hurt her. But I promise you: as this continues to play out, she will say she’s not the one who is racist! She has Black friends! How dare we say that about her!

Then, she’ll cry.

It never fails.

She has tasted what whiteness tastes like and cannot be trusted.

Why The Red Pill Army Are Idiots: Part II– The Black Male Incel Problem

The Black community has a serious incel problem. It is a pervasive, scary, visible incel problem. For reference, let is us get some terminology together first. An incel is defined as a member of an online subculture of people who define themselves as unable to get a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one.

The thing is, this definition, in my opinion white washes; as if this definition is only is only applicable to White or non-Black men. What is crucial to know is that you have to examine this definition and pull it towards the treatment of Black women and girls. My greatest issue with this definition is that it is the assumption that this subculture is limited to online.

My biggest issue with this Red Pill/Incel army is how sweeping this definition is! While it does not exclude any man, it does not include all men with incel behavior. I need not to look no further than social media or the news! The attacks against Black women and girls are so pervasive, so common that there cannot be enough light shown upon them!

Black women murdered by Black men because they told them “No.” Because they didn’t want to give a phone number, followed home and almost attacked in their houses, guns pulled on them because the didn’t want to go out with Black men. Black men that see sex as a right, women as a possession, and any Black man that protects Black women is called a ‘simp’. It it is no different from calling a Black woman a bitch because she turned you down! A lot of this is based in rejection–believing just because you are a man, you have a right to every woman. This makes some Black men no different than Elliot Rodger!

You being a man doesn’t entitle you to every woman! Being concerned about the welfare of women doesn’t make you a simp! But yet, there are Black men whom know whom their friends are problematic, and will not speak up on behalf of the women their behavior harms! Why? Wouldn’t that make you as simp?! Like, what are the rules to this?!

I, as a Black woman, whom is a fan of the success of Black men–I cannot help but remember the words of Nella Larsen in Passing . Irene and Claire are in this inexplicably complex position, and for the want of protection, or unity or comfort, Irene cannot divorce herself from her. Yet, she demands that some sort of accountability be taken on the part of Claire because she knows the situation she is in! It is not up to Claire to save her from her stupidity, but to remind her of it! That is just how I feel with this sect of Black men!

You all know what is wrong, but you refuse to confront what causes it and who suffers from it! Why? It is for your own comfort. Which is infuriating and sad. And the type of womanhood you want to benefit from would be at the expense of every Black woman you know! We would have to be okay with every part of us that is bleeding, upset, wounded or demands change! We would have to be okay with you all being our oppressors in addition to white supremacy!

No. I refuse to shrink in order to die.

And for the record? No Black woman whom is secure in herself cares, if you date non-Black women. We have other things to worry about.