What Black Women Should Do When The Light Bill Is Due
Tyler Perry got Black women out here fighting for their lives. Again.
During a recent appearance on Crystal Renee Hayslett’s Keep It Positive, Sweetie podcast, Tyler Perry offered his logic for couples managing their finances while living together.
“A lot of women, especially Black women, and I might get in trouble for saying this, but I will,” he said. “In our society right now, Black women are making a lot more money, for the most part, than Black men.”
He added that while there are a lot of “Black men who are successful,” Black women are the ones “making the money, for the most part.” With that being said, Perry encouraged Black women to pursue relationships with men based on their personality traits, and not based on how much money they make.
“If you can find love; if that man works at whatever job and is a good man and is good to you, and honors you, and honors the house, and honors his wife, and does what he can,” he explained. “Because his gift may not be your gift. That is OK. That’s somebody that’s come to love you at your worth.”
OK for who? His gift may not be your gift? Love me at my worth? Whew Lord, here we go…
Well, there’s one thing Tyler did get right. Black women are making more money than men, because we are the most educated group in the country. With that, we’re obtaining higher-paying jobs and oftentimes end up being the only breadwinner in a shared household, or at least the one who makes the most money.
Some Black men are quite comfortable telling Black women that they should be happy to take what they can get. Like Tyler, they love telling us this with their whole, entire chest and a straight face.
The problem is that Black women are always being asked to adjust and accommodate to a patriarchal system we didn’t create and that is designed against us. This is a mindset that has continued to create generational poverty.
No Tyler, we’re not about to sit up here and glorify struggle love – AGAIN! Is it “OK” that maybe some Black women don’t want to be the primary breadwinner? Are we allowed to say that we don’t want that narrative? Why are always made to feel bad about having standards, expectations, and boundaries?
Black women are conditioned to settle and meet a man where he is – to look at a man’s heart. In turn, men are looking at our face and body. Most men aren’t out here pursuing women based on their personality traits, like Tyler suggests we do. So, men can look at our face and body but we’re supposed to look at the heart?
Some women are “OK” with being the primary breadwinner; some are not. Neither is right or wrong. But we never have to settle and be “OK” with what’s being presented to us. The reality is that a teenager with a part-time job at McDonald’s can pay the light bill. Is it “OK” for Black women who expect more to have more?
This is the whole bus driver conversation all over again. People got mad when Eboni Williams said that she would never date a bus driver. Why? It’s not being disrespectful; she’s making a choice based on what she wants.
And even if a woman makes more money in the relationship, she is still expected to do all the stereotypical things required of women. She’s still expected to submit; allow a man to lead. She’s still expected to serve in all the stereotypical capacities of a wife (even if she’s not one). And that can be challenging to do.
So, reducing Black women down to just finding a nice guy who can pay the light bill is insulting. You’re telling Black women that they’re winning by doing more work. We know that’s a bunch of crap.
I like Tyler Perry. I respect him as a businessman. Let’s be clear - Tyler Perry makes movies and depicts relationships in the fictional stories he sells to us. Those relationships and the ways in which he portrays women are problematic. He’s not a relationship expert and certainly not an authority on Black women. He doesn't get to tell us what we want, what we need, or how we need to move as Black women. He doesn’t get to tell us what we need to do, settle for, or allow. He doesn’t get to tell us that we need to lower our expectations, or not have any at all.