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We Enjoy Black Female Misery: From Tara in True Blood to Fantasia to Kelly Dodson . . . Can Black Women Get a Break?

So, I am a True Blood fan. However, I am tired of seeing the only black female character, Tara, get pulled through the proverbial ringer on every episode beginning with Season One and ending with Season Three. Is it too much to ask that Tara get a break? I mean, Sookie, the white female lead, is always in danger, but, yet, she has moments of peace, love, “mutual” intimacy with Bill, and now she’s a Fairy with unlimited supernatural powers. Gosh, it’s great being a white woman.However, Tara has been raped by a Vampire—Franklin, beaten senselessly by various entities, in love with a devil-possessed black man, spooked by her mother’s alcoholism and demons, under constant suicide watch, and she ain’t no fairy . . . she got no supernatural powers. It sucks to be a black woman sometimes because even on TV black women get no break.

The writers of the show could give Tara supernatural powers to protect her from nonstop hurt, but they like so many people on YouTube enjoy watching and consuming black female misery and trouble. It is amazing how the Bed Intruder Song continues to be popularized on the internet all because Kelly Dodson, a young black woman, was almost raped by a man who climbed into her window as she slept. Once again, we enjoy consuming black female misery. You see, there is something culturally “yummy” about seeing black women especially darker skin black women fail . . . seeing them always in a state of peril . . . seeing them raped, beaten, and killed . . . seeing them on the brink of suicide . . . seeing them hurt beyond repair.

We as a culture savor black female misery as if it was an exotic Third World delicacy . . . kind of like purchasing babies of color from the Global South. We enjoy eating black female pain.

Just look at the critically acclaimed movie, Precious. At each moment of the movie, the lead character, Precious, is faced with nonstop misery—my mother beats me, my mother sexually hurts me, we are poor, I have AIDS—it’s too much. And please, do not get me started on the depressive black female characterizations of Tyler Perry’s movies. In addition to TV series, YouTube sensations, and movies, we get something from watching black female celebrities spiral downward. I am talking both about Maia Campbell and presently Fantasia Barrino.  How many of us tuned in to watch VH1’s Behind the Music to see them yet again show how emotionally damaged Fantasia is. Honestly, I could not watch it because it was too much. Fantasia has been called everything under the sun from Home wrecker to Sweaty Ass Home wrecker by the online media. It’s too much . . . let her rest. As a side note, it’s funny how Alicia Keys did the same thing plus getting pregnant, but, yet, she seems to have not received the villainy that Fantasia is experiencing . . . colorism is real.

Many years ago, Ntozake Shange wrote, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf.” It is a powerful play that tells the story of black women—our struggles, joys, and pains. It tells the story of sisters doing the work of healing. It is about black women finding God within and loving her fiercely. And this is what I want for Tara of True Blood, for Kelly Dodson, and for Fantasia. Overall, I just need for them to get a break. They all deserve peace, happiness, safety, and mutual love.


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