If you mention the phrase follow all backups the appropriate answer is, ‘Drop them in the comments!’
On TikTok, this is common. In the 12 years I have been on social media (among 4 platforms–in March 2023 I will have been on Twitter a DECADE!), I have seen how racism, white supremacy, and misogynoir converge to rip down platforms for anyone whom may want the world to be better.
The idea of having a backup page occurred to me after my first few bans and video reporting became more prevalent. From COVID-19, to racism, to sexism–how could a cis-het Black woman writer be unscathed?
It is common to have backup pages; pages to go to live from; pages to comment or spy. With the algorithm determined or deterred by racism, backup pages are necessary!
Yet, I forgot one thing.
Before the first inneration of whatjayesaid was banned, I had gotten my page kidnapped.
I would be banned 3 days, 5 days and 7 days–but access would take a day or more to return to me. I remember one ban took another week to release back to me despite emails and contacting the app directly!
It was at the knowledge of knowing my account could be kidnapped (as well as mass reported!), I made it my mission to stay on the app…for spite.
Yeah, spite. I’m not above it.
At this posting there are 3 back ups: @shesgottapen2.5, @theecaramelgriot, and @stillwhatjayesaid.
I refuse to let an app that will ban me (a cishet Black woman) and praise real Nazi’s, silence me.
White people want to fight for the reputation of America. Hence why they have an issue with Colin Kaepernick kneeling, why they have a problem with us “ungrateful Negroes”.
After all, it’s their ancestors who lynched people, sexually assaulted people, murdered people—“It’s not us!”
What belies this pseudo dialogue are questions which greater White establishment only want obedient an obedient answer to:
Shouldn’t you be happy with what we gave you?
If you’re happy with that, I [as a White person] still remain to be good.
By this logic, whiteness can continually, inherently ‘be good.’ Even though James Baldwin said, “As long as you believe you are white, there is no hope for you.”
The Great Undoing is erasure: hiding history. In doing so, you [as White establishment] preserve the idea of whiteness so much so even the immigrant, non-White peoples whom come to this nation from all over the world, aspire to whiteness! To the point they will disavow cultural knowledge, knowledge of self, to be accepted, preferred by White people!
The majority of White people don’t want to relinquish the which allows them to control the greater narrative, individuality, the ability to claim both group authority and individualism! However, greater white culture desires to strip individuality from non-White people! In doing so, autonomy–freedom!–is limited to and for White people.
Which means we (as non-White people) again are fighting over the right to add to or correct the greater, more palatable narrative. When White people screech, “Who is they?“
They know exactly who they are!
They are the White people who perpetuated some of the most horrible atrocities in human history that you were descended from!
Make no mistake we know the root of the Transatlantic Slave Trade start in Europe; Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas in 1515 said Black people didn’t have souls. Ergo, we are not human. If we are not human, then it is easier to brutalize us.
Even in death we are not safe.
For The Great Undoing, why should Black people be mad, right? One of the tenants of White Supremacy is the expectation of comfort! Being granted the right to never be confronted, accountable, plausible responsibility to anything whiteness cannot profit from.
Why should we as Black people want to rock the boat? Why talk about these things? Why bring it up? The answer to
Y’all have a good here! You’re free now! You’re not mad anymore are you?
Toni Morrison said racism is a distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. This is where us as writers an artist come in! We have the power to go in and out amongst people, in and out of rooms, to make these observations, declarations which other people may be scared to say, or don’t know how to say.
Which is why they still want Black people whose ancestors were enslaved to a land by which they don’t know their original language or names to pledge allegiance.
My best friend told me getting on TikTok would be a good idea. Why, you ask? “You have so much to say!”
And I do.
Yet when I joined TikTok in September-October 2020 (at the first wave of COVID-19), right before the 2020 Presidential Election, I found my niche in social justice (Social Justice Tok), and there I remain 4 accounts later.
Reported videos begat bans, begat trolls, begat mass reporting and that pulling down of a platform I built within a year.
It took my breath away when I logged in my account and it was…gone! I felt like my voice had been ripped from me.
It felt like a digital launching.
From that realization, and being the student of history, I came up with the phrase social media lynching. I define it as:
(c) September 2021, JBHarris
The practice of suppressing the content/voices of minority people (especially African-American people) who actively use their voices or position to fight racism, discrimination, erasure, on a social platform only to be banned (silenced) or have their content suppressed, accounts taken or platform sanctioned.
I wasn’t shocked. I was not mad. I got real focused and made a backup plan. And backup pages.
I looked for a pattern to my banned videos and the patterns to bans to other accounts I followed. I saw these 4 things:
1.) Problematic comments filled with whatever a la carte -phobia or -ism.
2.) You check the comment; arguments ensure in the comments.
3.) These comments persist for days and someone reports the video or comment–or both.
4.) All other like videos are flagged (reported).
If you make enough noise, you get this on your account:
Amaya tossed and turned in her king sized bed. Rolling away from the snores of her husband, she placing her hands on her closed eyes. She bit her lip, eyes welling up, cheeks then damp. Sitting on the side of her bed, her breathing in time with Khamron’s snoring. She took off her braid bonnet, shaking sleep, before going to the bathroom. The grandfather clock downstairs chimed, as she tapped the phone screen. “1:07.” She hissed.
Her toes gripped the carpet, and she wiped her face, exhaling. “Just shower and go back to bed.” She whispered. “Hot water and soap, Mama say fix everything.” She walked to the bathroom feet from her cherry oak footboard.
The dim light made her skin golden as she turned on the shower water. The patter of the water on the shower floor made her bite her bottom lip. Hand in the stream told her that the water needed a while more to warm.
Amaya turned to the sink, breathing softly, forcing tears into hiding. “Donovan.” She whispered. She box braids swung as she cupped her face, the blue in her braids matching her mood.
The water was needed, hiding tears. As she dried off, her mind drifted.
Her mind took her to his room, his mouth on her thighs ripping the yellow lace panties she wore against the front door. His tongue tensing and opening her body as she rode his face.
Amaya remembered his hands on her hips, in her hair. “Tell me you love me, Sugar? Tell me!” His breath hot on her ear as he stretched her body to conform not him again, just like Homecoming Night twenty years before.
Amaya dried her legs as Khamron snored, her eyes to the clean laundry yet to be put away. Grinning at the orange shirt straining against its black plastic cage. Her eyes watered again, wrapping the towel around her, made her way to the clean laundry.
The towel fell as she began digging for the orange shirt, her curvy frame still luminous, with light over her hips. Seizing her treasure, she put it on.
It was tight now, her bust not the same as it was in high school. She always slept better and Donovan’s practice shirts anyway.
With her newfound peace, she hoped sleep would find her, letting her mind see him again when she slept.
He braced against the shower wall as the remaining water trickled over his shoulders and back. His hand smoothing his chesnut face . Closing his eyes, he willed her away. “Amaya.” Whispering her name conjured her there pinned between him and white tile wall. His hands gripping white tile of the shower wall. Heat coming through his skin again as the movie of their afternoon and last week flooded his mind.
The slapping of her back against the wall. Her grinding into his hands and hips, feeling her open, stretch and accommodate.
Her coffin shaped nails lightly scratching the backs of his ears…she remembered.
How she squeezed him, as he pushed her gently upright, squeezing her nipples and the darkness of her areolas.
Then Amaya screamed his name. And over again. Head back and full voice. Donovan flipped her on her back, her legs on his shoulders. His face in her neck. As she had all through high school and college.
Her body was home. Her pleading for more of him music.
He bit his lip, the heat coming through his back.
The beeping of his phone ripping him from recent memory.
White towel secured around his waist his Face ID unlocked it.
Sugar [1:10 AM] Thank you for the shirt.
Response [1:11 AM] I ripped the other.
He held the phone, breathing and waiting. He moved from Messages to his Delta app to check his flight information. He tossed the phone on the bed, turning to get his suitcase and wheel it to the front door.
In short strides, reached the unmade bed.
Sugar [1:17 AM] You ain’t changed at all! What am I going to do with you
Donovan grinned, heard her voice in his ears, reminding of the taste of Amaya’s neck.
His response [1:18 AM] A woman with a mouth like yours to keep it quiet you have to keep it busy.
He attached his iPhone to the charger. Grinning, he took off the towel, preferring to sleep naked to remember her body again. He would text her in the morning maybe. He had a flight to catch.
As a young girl, the thrill of the holiday was never the food…but the sounds. I was excited because I would get to hear and see all these people that I hadn’t seen all year, or not often enough. I would get to hear stories, hear dialects and Englishes, and ruckus laughter. There was always laughter at Thanksgiving.
In my 34th fall, this is the first holiday that have not cooked and incorporated my own family into the greater of my family at large. As I wrote in the effigy at my grandmother Arceal Williams’s funeral, I wrote that her home was a place you “gathered strength and peace and prepare for war, before going back into the wide, wide world.” Her house was a focal point, my steady place, my rock when all else seemed questionable.
I visited this same place not even two weeks ago, and it was akin to a cemetery. There were relics, dust—the ashes of love—everywhere. There was a quiet there I had not known until that moment. It was the stillness one could only see and on the other side of the grass where eyes to be opened in soil. There was no stove, no fridge, no evidence of the life which was there, the lives grown there like same soil of her garden inundated with vines now.
On this day of Thanks,I am thankful for being able to be a part of the greater, to become the greater, to relay the greater. I am thankful for being able to see on THIS side of the grass. I am thankful for the amalgum that is my family…it is beyond blood now–I have been adopted, redopted and engrafted all before this time. I am thankful for this legacy that I now call love and family.May we all continue to laugh.
Wit. Your first mind. Mother wit. Somethin-told-me. Intuition. Ancestral knowing. It’s still needed…and life-saving. -JBH
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?
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