• Nicole Belvedere

The Disrespected, Unprotected and Neglected

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

On May 5, 1962, Malcom X delivered a speech at the funeral of fellow Nation of Islam member, Ronald Stokes in Los Angeles California. In 2016, Beyoncé used an excerpt from this same speech on the song “Don’t Hurt Yourself” from her award-winning album Lemonade.

The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected woman in America is the black woman. The most neglected woman in America is the black woman. ~ Malcolm X

The speech itself gives you a lot to think about but I want to focus on the excerpt above. Women regardless of race are treated as second class citizens around the globe. In the United States, it sometimes feels as if Black women are at the bottom of the totem pole.

Unless you're totally anti-social media, I'm sure you are aware that rappers Offset and Cardi B are having martial woes. He has cheated on her in the past and has at the very least entertained the idea of cheating again. On December 14, Offset took to social media to apologize to his wife, ask for her forgiveness, and let the world know he wants his family back. I am a full believer that a public embarrassment deserves a public apology. In my opinion, that post was good; however, events that followed were too much. Now to be clear, I have no opinion on Offset’s and Cardi B’s relationship. Whether she gets back with him or not is none of my business. They are married and they have to decide what's best for them, their children, and relationship as a whole.

What happened at Rolling Loud on Saturday, December 16, 2018 was totally out of line. Cardi B is the first woman to headline this 3 Day festival since its inception in 2014. In a male dominated industry where women are often pitted against each other and not taken as seriously as their male counterparts, headlining a hip-hop music festival is more than a big deal. By interrupting her show, Offset stole Cardi B's moment. He made her performance about him and their relationship instead of the focus being on her talent. I have not seen or heard anything in the media about her set. Was the crowd engaged? Did she bring the energy? Were there any special guest? I have no idea. What I do know is that her (estranged)husband purchased $15,000 worth of Venus et Fleur flowers. What about her moment as an artist? Why do I know more about the drama rather than the music? It boils down to a lack of respect for her as a female artist.

The disrespect does not only fall on Offset alone.

• Unprotected

Rolling Out failed to protect. The organizers of the festival deny any prior knowledge of the stunt pulled by Offset, but I would imagine that those working the event had an inkling as to what was going on. If Migos was performing that day, I am more than sure that any shenanigans Cardi B may have wanted to engage in would have been stopped at the door.

• Neglected

The standards of society neglects the need to respect women the same as we respect men. As a whol , society makes it okay for men to be aggressive and inconsiderate yet the same society expects for women to be polite and demure.

By society's standards, Offset is now the victim of Cardi B's bitchiness. The problem

I have with this is that if the roles were reversed Offset would still be the victim. If Cardi were to make it to the stage and interrupt one of his shows, she would be deemed an angry Black woman or crazy Latina by society.

• Disrespected

The media and fans have been full of disrespect. Yes reporting the set crash is news worthy, but so was her hard work. Why don't I have more details and clips of her actual performance on my Instagram feed. As fans and consumers, we live for drama. Especially at the expense of someone else. And for some reason WOMEN relish in the embarrassment and pain of other women. By not demanding more of the media, by constantly commenting and liking post about the drama we are not respecting her as an artist.

If I didn't make myself clear earlier, what Offset and Cardi B do in their relationship is their business. This post is really not about her; however, because so much of their situation has played out on social media, I chose to use it as an example of what is wrong in society. The double standards in place for women, especially women of color, more specifically black women are disrespectful, neglectful and dangerous.

Serena Williams was chastised for her “unsportsmanlike” conduct at the US Open earlier this year; yet I've seen far worse behavior from white men in tennis. 2017 was not the first year that Jemele Hill was disciplined by ESPN for statements that she made. In 2008, she was suspended for referencing Hitler in an editorial piece while Lou Holtz, another ESPN employee, was never (to my knowledge) reprimanded in any way for using a similar reference the same year.

We speak of glass ceilings for women. We look up, see the sky but can we reach it? I can't help but to feel like the ceilings in place for Black women are made of bullet proof Plexiglas. Not saying that true equality is unattainable, but it's going to be harder for black women to break through.

If you want to hear Malcolm X's speech in whole, search “Who taught you to hate yourself by Malcolm X" and I don't need to tell you how to find Beyoncé.

Respect, protect, and do not neglect the women in your lives.

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