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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

What It Means to Protect, Believe and Support Black Women



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It’s Monday. By now, we’ve all seen the video released by CNN of Sean “Diddy” Combs physically assaulting his then-girlfriend Cassie in a Los Angeles hotel in 2016. Diddy is seen in a bath towel running down the hallway. He catches up with Cassie before the elevator comes, striking and yanking her by the hair and throwing her to the ground. He then kicks her twice while she lies on the ground, picking up her bag and dragging her back toward the room.


TMZ

 

It was difficult to watch the video. And it’s okay if you didn’t. I don’t believe we have a responsibility to witness every instance of violence that happens. Watching violence is traumatic, and unfortunately, we have to make decisions about what we watch to protect ourselves. It doesn’t take away the pain or empathy we feel towards these situations.

 

Cassie declined to comment about the video. And, rightfully so. Diddy, on the other hand, decided to share with us an apology video, including reciting Bible verses that he probably just learned. This comes after his December 6 video where he spoke out about the allegations. “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. For the last couple of weeks, I have sat silently and watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy,” he wrote in the statement. “Sickening allegations have been made against me by individuals looking for a quick payday.”

 

Sir, stop. You provided no acknowledgment of the traumatic pain and suffering you have caused. At this point, we don’t care about anything you have to say. Really, we never did.

 

There’s a reckoning happening within Hollywood, more specifically in the hip-hop community; one that is established on misogynistic culture. Black women are speaking out about their experiences with domestic abuse, and have fostered a long-overdue conversation about intimate partner abuse. Domestic violence is as prevalent as it is misunderstood: about one in four women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a figure similar to the one in five women who are estimated to experience attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. And yet domestic violence remains masked in many of the same ole’ myths and generalizations.

 

Victims are labeled as unreliable or vindictive. They are asked why they did not leave their abusers, or why they did not leave sooner than they did. They are accused of “trying to bring a Black man down,” or just being out for money and clout.

 


The Shade Room

When Cassie filed her lawsuit in November 2023, there were those that didn’t believe her, including Houston rapper Slim Thug. He recently issued an apology to Cassie which comes months after he vehemently accused her of suing Diddy for financial gain and trying to expose him for money. He also said that he needed to see proof of her accusations, or else he’ll stand by Diddy. And by the way, he “didn’t even know Cassie was Black.” Why this is a factor for him I don’t know.

 

In case you had any doubt, toxic masculinity is a real thing. Just saying “Protect Black women” is not enough but some Black men have a hard time even saying it let alone doing it. Saying it online is easy. Saying it can easily become an empty promise. What we are pleading you to do is real work. Get down in the trenches with us. Feel the pressure of the weight we’ve carried alone. Rally for us. Speak on our behalf, even when it’s not personally beneficial for you. Believe us.

 

Protecting Black women means doing the work. Stop accepting opportunities that feature abusers. Protecting Black women means helping us because you genuinely love us, not because you have an ulterior motive. Protecting Black women means listening to us, and holding those around you accountable because you truly believe that Black women deserve safety.

 

Malcolm X said it best 60 years ago: “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”

 

We’ve spent so much time and energy explaining, speaking truth, providing proof, and for what? We can’t even get to the protection part, as our experiences are not even believed. Black women are not being heard, even when countless instances arise providing proof of the ways which we are mistreated. If you view any of this as offensive, you’re a part of the problem. It may be time for you to examine yourself. Black women are worth it and always will be.

 

 

 

 

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