Keep Beyonce’s Name Out Of Your Mouth

One reason you will never hear me complain about the Beyhive stanning for Beyonce. Aside from the fact that she’s awesome, it’s that even in the 21st century, celebrating phenomenal black women is still a revolutionary act.

Prelude:

Setting: A dream (?) from a few years back where I wake up and find myself strapped to a lab table. Everything is dark and blurry but I hear voices overhead.

Female Voice: Ladies, gentlemen, non gender binary individuals present. We can rebuild him. We have the technology and the magic. We have the capability to transform this candidate into a sleeper agent for the Beyhive. Dennis R. Upkins will be that agent. Ready to act on behalf of King Bey at a moment’s notice. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster, wiser.

Male Voice: Are you sure he’s the right candidate?

Female Voice: This comes from High Command. Apparently he’s been on the radar of the Illuminati for quite some time. 

Male Voice: I think he’s waking up.

Female Voice: Oh crap.

Denny: [Groggy] Where am I???? What’s going on????

Male Voice: Back to sleep you. [Places anesthetic mask back on my face. Everything fades to black……..]

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Like countless others, you could count me as a fan of one Beyonce Knowles-Carter. Between her music, films, artistry, philanthropy, and activism, she is not only a role model and an inspiration but the personification of #BlackExcellence.

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While I’ve been a fan of Bey’s, I never considered myself a member of the Beyhive. But you wouldn’t know it given how vocal I’ve been over the years am in defending Beyonce against attacks of white supremacy. But not all agents of white supremacy are of the caucasian persuasion. Many are other blacks all too eager to the devil’s bidding.

Which brings us to one Nnedi Okorafor.

As speculative fiction authors, she and I run in many of the same circles. And many white spec fic fans and authors kept recommending her to me. Always happy to support a sister (or so I thought), I read some of her stuff which was pretty solid and followed her on social media. However it wasn’t long before I realized why she was such a darling for white audiences.  Okorafor began showing who she truly is. From petulant temper tantrums to unprovoked attacks, she would regularly abuse everyone from fans to other authors on social media and would then cowardly delete her comments to cover up her toxic behavior, usually aimed at other Blacks.

An example..

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I guess being proven wrong was too much for her hubris to handle. But I wasn’t the only writer who dealt with her crap.

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For someone who regularly monetizes pro-blackness as her “brand”, Okorafor has a crab in the barrel mentality and loves to undercut Wakandans who actually fight systemic oppression and white supremacy and not just profit off of it and pay lip service to those issues. This is why trashing Beyonce became a favorite pastime of Okorafor’s on social media.

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But just as Okorafor is quick to undercut #BlackExcellence, she is often the first one to cape for racist white fauxgressives. In one social media post I called out Streep’s hypocrisy in denouncing Trump’s bigotry during in a Golden Globes speech when pedophile defender herself had done far worse than 45 just a few months prior.

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And shortly thereafter, she deleted her comments to cover her tracks.

Let me be clear, everyone is entitled to their opinion. That goes without saying and this isn’t what this is about. It also goes without saying that no one is above critique, be it Beyonce, myself or anyone else. Honest and fair critiques made in good faith are vital for people and a culture to evolve. However when you defend a racist who wore a t-shirt with the phrase “Better A Rebel Than A Slave” and want to attack a Black Woman’s feminist/social justice credentials, it’s white supremacy in blackface. Full stop. And expect the double standards to be called out.

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“Really toxic people I avoid. I cast for sanity, but toxic people are different from divas. Divas are complicated. Truly toxic people are about trying to tear something down whether it’s somebody else, the story; they’re about power. Those people have no business in my life or the industry.”

-Joss Whedon

The reality is that some of the people who hate black folks the most are the “pro-black militants.”  Some people get involved in social justice because they hate the idea of slavery. Others get involved in social justice because they hate the idea that they aren’t holding the whip. Not all self hating double agents come in the form of Stacey Dash, Clarence Thomas, or Ben Carson. Some come in the form of Okorafor or Ngozi Adichie. The latter who threw shade at Beyonce after the artist used her platform to introduce new audiences to Adichie.

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Adichie is right about one thing. Her feminism and activism isn’t the same as Beyonce’s. While Adichie was doubling down on her transphobia, Beyonce was celebrating and promoting queer Black sisters like Big Freedia and Amandla Sternberg on Lemonade.

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Whether it’s her late uncle, her mother in law, or Frank Ocean, Bey uses every opportunity to fight for LGBTQs and epitomizes what real activism looks like. So you when you haven’t lifted a finger for LGBTQs and giving passes to white supremacists, you damn sure have nothing to say about Beyonce.

Or for that matter, Will Smith.

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When the film Bright dropped on Netflix, fauxteps and fauxial justice fauxgressives were lining up to attack Will Smith personally as barreled crabs like to do. While I had no issue with anyone expressing their displeasure about the film, what I did take exception to is the fact that the public (and some blacks included as well) look for any excuse to attack a black person, especially Smith, over any imaginary sleight. Meanwhile the same weekend Bright dropped, The World’s Greatest Showman, was released. And yet the musical about one of the most virulent racists in history was getting a pass by so called Fauxial Justice Fauxgressives while simultaneously acting like Bright was the equivalent to Birth of a Nation.

Being unapologetically Wakandan means being ready to defend your own from gaslighting and dog whistle politics. So anytime Black Excellence is getting unjustly attacked, I will be vocal in calling out the B.S. as I did in a series of social media posts standing tall for his excellency, The Fresh Prince.

Spoiler alert, Okorafor  had an issue with this as well.

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She was gnashing teeth about me praising Will Smith? Oh okay then. A man who never harmed anyone and has caught flack time and time again over the years for always being Black and positive and successful.

Also, projection much?

Maybe that’s why she kept misspelling Baobab. When you look in a mirror, the reflection is often inverted. At first I wasn’t going to reply. Take the high road for “Black Solidarity or something” ..and then I realized, fuck that noise. Right is right and wrong is wrong. …that’s when I saw a flash of programming and heard the voice.

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Female Voice: Sleeper Agent Upkins, you have been activated. You may proceed.

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And with that she promptly blocked me but not before tagging me on a post or three to make it clear that she had blocked me.  It’s always nice when the garbage takes itself out.

The success of films like Get Out, Coco, Shape of Water, Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Black Panther were due in large part to the fine work of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign as well as Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith. So for someone who only cares about himself, he’s making sure a lot of marginalized people are getting their due in Hollywood. The Smiths were the Barrack and Michelle before there was an actual Barrack and Michelle. Despite catching heat from all sides (old racist execs and crabby fauxteps), they fought tirelessly to bring attention to the systemic racism that is the Academy Awards voting system as well as Hollywood in general. These Wakandans have been moving heaven and earth to bring about change but too many are too eager to cut them down at the drop of a white hood. Yet when it comes to the very colonizers who are doing the actual oppression, suddenly these Nat Turners become Booker T. Washingtons.

Let me reiterate. No one is above critique, but I will be the first to defend them if they are being unjustly attacked and systemic racism is at play. Case in point.

Okorafor is another Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. More than that, she’s a textbook example of some of those of the African Diaspora who turn their nose up at Black Americans. Black Immigrants and sometimes first or second generation model minorities who think that by looking down on us, will result in them earning aspirational white privilege. Not all obviously, not most, not even half, but there are some who engage in this form of self-hatred and internalized anti-blackness. But the gag is most of these clowns aren’t back in the Motherland, the Island, or wherever they came from. They are in the United States enjoying all of the liberties and benefits that Black Americans like the Beyonces, the Jay-Zs, the Will and Jada Smiths, the Obamas made possible. Just as I wouldn’t dare travel to another country to turn my nose up at my own people, that same respect should be reciprocated.

Okorafor wants to audit Beyonce’s feminism receipts and gnash her teeth at any praise of Will Smith but she certainly didn’t keep that same energy for her massah, George R.R. Martin, creator of Rape of Thrones. But hey, anything for a come-up right? She certainly didn’t make a fuss when HBO and the producers behind Rape of Thrones were planning to release a second white power fantasy series, Confederate.

Hypocrisy much?

“There are Negroes who will never fight for freedom.

There are Negroes who will seek profit for themselves alone from the struggle.

There are even some Negroes who will cooperate with their oppressors.

These facts should distress no one.

Every minority and every people has its share of opportunists, profiteers, free-loaders, and escapists.

No one can pretend that because a people may be oppressed, every individual member is virtuous and worthy. The real issue is whether in the great mass the dominant characteristics are decency, honor, and courage.

— Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Sword that Heals” (1964)

Deep down, Okorafor knows this. Which is why she always tries to cover her tracks when engaging in anti-blackness. Which is also why her minions got pressed and tried to gaslight and bully others into silence when Okorafor got exposed. This is why I don’t do NDAs. Not for this nonsense anyway.

 

Moral of the story: Keep Beyonce’s name out of your mouth. Because if the Beyhive has proven anything over the years, when you come for the King (B) or other forms of Black Excellence, you best not miss. Feel free to put a lid on that barrel of crabs. I’m already being treated to Red Lobster.

So if you’ll excuse me.

Rock on King Bey.

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Author:

Speculative Fiction Novelist. Author of Hollowstone, West of Sunset and other cool stories. Wordsmith, activist and nerd seraph. Saving the world and/or taking it over. http://www.dennisupkins.wordpress.com