I’ll admit it: Black people have a history of being a tad braggadocious regarding our achievements. But can you really blame us? When one of us wins, no matter the industry, it feels like a collective gain for those witnessing a “first” in their lifetime.
While many of us have no problem publicly celebrating Black Excellence, some conversations are still considered kitchen table talk. For those unfamiliar with the term, kitchen table talk consists of various convos that can become problematic if only some in the room agree.
On social media, Black content creators worldwide dismissed kitchen table conversations with the trend “Conversations Black People Aren’t Ready to have.” The viral trend included people like TikTok user @ChasingGina sharing their hot takes on topics the Black community doesn’t want to hear, such as “Pam always being finer than Gina on Martin” and, my personal favorite, “Hennessy tastes like liquid pennies.”
Of course, we at Distractify wouldn’t be us if we didn’t partake in some of our own truths that may be hard for some to digest. Keep reading to see the top 10 conversations Black people aren’t ready for but still need to be exposed!
1. Joan Clayton was the real villain of ‘Girlfriends’
Since this list will ruffle a few feathers, I decided to start with something controversial yet fictional. One of our favorite shows is Girlfriends, which aired on UPN and CW from 2000 until 2007. The series starred Tracee Ellis Ross as Joan Clayton and her friend group Toni Childs (Jill Marie Jones), Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks), and Lynn Searcy (Persia White).
During the series, Joan was always revered as the one her friends could lean on for emotional, financial, and residential support, as pretty much each of her friends lived with her at one point.
On the surface, it seems Joan is the victim of emotionally immature friends who use her for everything she’s worth. But, while rewatching the series as adults, we see Joan was the problem among her friends.
Joan makes it clear from the first episode that she wants to get married and flaunts her jealousy when her friends get what she wants. And, to make matters worse, Joan’s role as the “helicopter friend” completely shifted once she got engaged to Aaron (Richard T. Jones) towards the end of the season. Nothing worse than a friend who drops her “girlfriends” when she gets a man!
2. Issa should’ve chosen Nathan on ‘Insecure.’
Insecure wasn’t only hilarious. The HBO series starring Issa Rae was also responsible for many conversations among Black people. One of the ones all of us will likely never agree on is who Issa chose to be with when the series wrapped in December 2021.
During the final season, Issa’s character, Issa Dee, wrestles with her feelings for Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) and her ex-boyfriend, Lawrence (Jay Ellis). In Season 4 of Insecure, Issa discovers that Lawrence is expecting a baby with his ex-girlfriend, Condola (Christina Elmore), while they are supposed to get back together. After going back and forth in Season 5, Issa ultimately chooses to be with Lawrence, even though she knows Nathan also desires her.
Issa choosing Lawrence was an example of struggle love that, unfortunately, Black TV shows and films love to celebrate (do the names Melanie and Derwin ring a bell?). Yes, Issa and Lawrence dated for five years before Condola came into the picture, but they broke up after Issa cheated.
While I admire them falling back in love, making Issa, a woman who spent most of the series figuring her life out, an instant stepmom was a choice. And there were far better ones. I hope Nathan and his hazel eyes are somewhere making a woman who deserves him happy!
3. Tyler Perry hates Black women.
Yes, I can give director, writer, and movie mogul Tyler Perry his due when it comes to employing Black people. From his play productions in the early 2000s to his current mega production studio, Tyler Perry Productions, Tyler has always ensured Black creatives, laborers, etc., were on his payroll.
That being said, Mr. Perry has an odd relationship with his target audience: Black women. For decades, many of Tyler’s plays, like Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Family Reunion, and the countless movies that followed, mostly seem to come back to the same theme – Black women deserve scraps and nothing else.
While Tyler has never explained why he opts for the Black women struggling to “find a good man” theme in most of his stories, he said in an interview on Crystal Renee Hayslett’s podcast Keep It Positive, Sweetie in September 2023 that Black women who are out-earning Black men should be OK with the men they date contributing what he can to the household, even if it’s just the “light bill.”
“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… because his gift might not be your gift, that is OK,” Tyler said in the interview, via Essence. “That’s not somebody that’s beneath you. That’s somebody who came to love you at your worth.”
Tyler’s take on what Black women should be looking for was not only unwarranted, it’s not true. Black women are always asked to settle for less, so many of us have been open to dating men of varying tax brackets. However, we will not house a man who may or may not have the money for the light bill on the first of the month. Get somebody else to do it, Tyler!
4. Asking friends and family with Black-owned businesses for discounts is tacky.
Since there is nothing Black people can’t do, it’s unsurprising that we’re also taking over the entrepreneurship industry. Within the last few years, many Black entrepreneurs have been able to sustain themselves with the money they earn from their businesses and can give back to their community.
Unfortunately, many Black business owners quickly discover the cons of giving back to those they love. In many cases, the friends or family members associated with the business owner often ask for discounted or even free deals. If you’re reading this and find you are one of those people, please abort this behavior immediately. Much like the rest of us, Black entrepreneurs have bills they must pay and cannot afford to drop their prices for every family member or friend who asks.
5. We don’t have to jump the broom.
Jumping the broom is a sacred wedding tradition in the Black community and dates back to slavery when Black slaves weren’t allowed to marry legally. Black enslaved people would jump the broom to commemorate their union, solidifying their marriage to their community.
While I honor why my ancestors had to jump the broom when they got married, it’s not a tradition I plan to have at my own wedding. The act was due to circumstances and a lack that, thankfully, Black people don’t have to endure today. I also feel that my existence as a Black, queer woman being able to get married in front of every one of all races is already my ancestors’ wildest dream.
6. We must stop erasing Black transgender and LGBTQIA folks from ‘Black Lives Matter.’
Kitty Monroe. Hayden Davis. Kandii Reed. These are just three of countless Black transgender women added to GLAAD’s “In Memoriam” website in 2022, with over 40 cases of Black trans women being murdered in 2023. And yet, the Black community still refuses to fight for their justice as Black LGBTQIA people have done during the Black Lives Matter movement.
Transphobia and homophobia in the Black community have always been prevalent. But what those dedicated to hating queer Black people is that none of us will be free if those all of us aren’t free. We have had enough of other races hating us, and to turn on each other because of who we love or what we look like is just as bad as how white people who hate us behave.
7. We must also eliminate inviting white people “to the cookout” for being decent humans.
Scroll through blog sites such as The Shade Room, The Jasmine BRAND, The Neighborhood Talk, and more when folks outside of the Black community do something considered down. That could be anything from going viral for a new dance move to getting a haircut from a Black barber. As soon as a person outside of the community does something considered to be cool by the masses, you immediately see folks saying that they are invited to the cookout. The metaphorical term basically means that you’re a cool person —usually given to white folks.
And while camaraderie is one thing, it’s another to hand out these cookout invites for the bare minimum. It’s no secret that racism is alive and well and that white people use privilege and fragility to have their way throughout life. However, that doesn’t mean that we, as Black people, must welcome white folks, or anyone not Black, to the cookout for being decent.
You rarely hear folks of other races or demographics say to a Black person that they are accepted in their community. So, why do Black people consistently roll out the red carpet for others? It’s annoying as hell. Please do better.
8. Black people need to start Gatekeeping our culture.
The cookout invitation is a piece of a bigger picture. Over the years, countless discussions have been about Black people being open and inviting to everyone. As a result, the race has been a victim of culture appropriation in many facets — from Kim K’s boxer braids debacle to white people joining historically Black fraternities and sororities.
Of course, many people have shared their sentiments with the music industry being dominated by white executives who believe they have a voice in hip-hop culture. Not to mention, the price of certain food items — from oxtail to turkey necks — is rising because other races are becoming hip to the game.
If you ask us, it’s time for Black people to regroup and decide to keep the things that make our culture unique to ourselves. After all, everyone wants to be Black until it’s truly time to be Black.
9. Twitter conversations about the 50/50 dynamic in relationships need to stop.
In the name of all that is holy, the conversations surrounding a 50/50 relationship split must stop. Don’t get us wrong, Black relationships need to prosper. However, a wise person once said that what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. Some folks argue that 50/50 is necessary due to the rise of inflation and the general cost of living.
On the flip side, others believe in traditional constructs for the Black family. Truth be told, we all have to do what’s best for us. If you and your partner are partial to a 50/50 split, knock yourself out. If you prefer a man who solely protects and provides by leading the household as the breadwinner, knock yourself out.
No matter which way you swing on the fence, the most important thing is for Black folks to have love and be married. So, do what works for you. It’s 2023, and not everyone wants to get on your program, 50/50 or 100/0.
10. Black parents — your child is an individual, not your “legacy.”
Finally, as a collective, Black people must stop expecting their children to do and be everything they were or wanted to be growing up. Due to any given circumstance, many adults don’t live out every dream they had as a child, and that’s perfectly OK. However, what’s not OK is becoming parents of tiny humans, seeing your reflection, and assuming they will pick up the slack of your unfulfilled childhoods.
This is displayed countless times in the entertainment and sports industries, as the Black community has historically excelled in both arenas. The families of the talented children who succeed in these industries are often crippled by the responsibilities placed on them due to their hard-earned success.
It is not and never was that child’s responsibility to support the adults who were supposed to help them. Let’s apply this example when we attempt to make our children be anything other than who God intended for them to be.