Opinion: The Ugly Black, Woman

By Franklin Molatole
If we think deeply about it, isn’t every one of us an Ugly Black Woman? It seems society now considers the title of “Woman” the new Nigger?
If we look back on the recent past, it took generations of slaves and inequality to mould a black president. It took 400 years, an election, a shout of “Yes, We Can!” and we can finally feast our eyes on that “One nigga in Ten Thousand!” – in this case, the “D” isn’t silent but speaks volumes and Django isn’t his name! Barry was once an Ugly, Black Woman too.
Every day, I witness women being stepped on metaphorically and in some cases, literally. The Ugly Black Woman faces abuse from society and especially those closest to her. The Ugly Black Woman is too afraid to let go of that man who beats her with a fist of anger and too afraid to let go of the woman who beats down on her with her words of hate & envy.
The inspiration to write this article stems from watching two episodes from the ever-popular TV series, Being Mary-Jane. The two episodes I’m referencing from are “Primetime” & “Reading the Signs” (Episodes 11 & 12 respectively). Episode 11 places Mary-Jane in a position where she has the chance to interview a writer by the name of Elizabeth Foy who has published a book titled, “Charting a Better Course.”

The interview starts out as planned and Mary-Jane reads from the script given to her and asks questions directed at Elizabeth, as planned. The interview takes on a twist as Mary-Jane proceeds to go on what most would call a rant. She accuses Foy of having published her best-selling book with a foundation that supports Neo-Racist authors. The studio goes into a shock as the interview is not going per script – literally so. The interview begins to turn into a political bout that could have sold out tickets at the MGM Grand Arena – even Floyd Mayweather’s right hook would have been a useless attempt at stopping the barrage of questions racing through the mouth of Mary-Jane Paul. Foy seems to deflect from MJ’s line of questions and says that Mary-Jane is attacking her – This is followed by a producer asking Mary-Jane to stop badgering Foy. Mary-Jane proceed to remove her earpiece and goes, as the producer says, ‘ROUGE!’
Foy calls MJ a broken record and pronounces that Mary-Jane sees herself as an “Ugly Black Woman!” The interview fizzles out and ends abruptly as it had not gone to plan and there was no intention of speaking about the book itself. Viewers of the show take to social media and many calls for Mary-Jane to run for President – it would be a great sight to see a black, woman in The Oval Office (the future is inevitable). I personally suggest that you watch the episode, Primetime, for yourself and come up with your own opinions on what an Ugly, Black Woman is and whether you feel that you may be one – even if you’re a man. We’re all Ugly, Black Women in the eyes of society…
Mary-Jane Paul is played by the wonderful, actress Gabrielle Union and she had personally been the victim of abuse at a young age. Another woman popular for her status in the world and inspiring thought provoking voice, who has also gone through the hardships of poverty, struggle and abuse is Oprah Winfrey. These two beautiful, black women have inspired many individuals – people of varying colour, religion, orientation – to create change within their communities and become something greater than what society dictates.

Although I haven’t been through the hardships that the two women I’ve highlighted, and many others, have been through, I personally took the steps to throwing what society calls me daily to the wayside – it wasn’t easy but it helped me to realise that I am not a mere statistic or another voice that will be silenced. I’ve been called Kaffir before (quite recently) and yes, it hurt. Now, I hadn’t grown up in the Apartheid Era – in fact, I was born in the year of South Africa’s democracy, but how dare another human being call me by anything than my given name. What hurt the most was that it was a coloured woman (South African context) who had called me Kaffir, not once but several times – I had been stabbed in the chest by one of my own.
I hadn’t encountered the young, woman before; I just happened to be meandering around my neighbourhood when she attacked me with her hateful speech – if you can even call uttering the same word over-and-over any means to start a conversation. My reaction was too calm – I simply stood – still – and uttered, “What?”
“Who the hell do you think you are?” I bellowed – this is the point where I told myself to stand my ground. This encounter, clearly wasn’t going to do me any good, so I began to swiftly turn around and continue to roam the streets I call home for fear that I may, in turn, say something that I may regret. Granted, she had appeared to be intoxicated and livid but that gave her no reason to speak another individual in that manner.
Although she wasn’t my favourite moment of that afternoon (or the year of 2016 for that matter), she seemed hurt – deeply so…Perhaps I could’ve sat down, spoken to her, listened and searched to see where this broken, young woman was coming from. As she walked off in the opposite direction, I turned back and I realised that I was looking at another Ugly, Black Woman…
This begs the question as to why we don’t reach out to help women within our own communities and endeavour to seek ways to combat whatever struggles these women may be going through? Both sexes are guilty of this – we assume that not saying a word means we’re not being nosey. We crush the spirit of the young girl who wants to be more than what humanity’s standards dictate by telling her to stay in her lane and let the man take charge. We constantly speak of a future where men & women are seen and treated as equals but what hope do we have if we can’t place that same girl on an equal path as her male counterpart? Even The Ugly, Black Woman struggles to take her rightful place in society.
An ugly past seems to have the making of a beautiful future and I believe that every “ugly” girl out in the world could one day be the beacon that illuminates hope unto society – and all will be drawn to her light. There is an Ugly, Black Woman in all of us!
My name is Franklin Molatole; I’m a 22-year-old, young, black man…and I too am an Ugly, Black Woman!
Yours Frankly…

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