Tyrese to Black Women: Don't Be Too Independent

In an entry at Racialicious, blogger Tami Winfrey Harris condemns the singer-actor for insulting black women by doling out condescending and arrogant advice.

Tyrese (Getty Images)

In an entry at Racialicious via her What Tami Said blog, Tami Winfrey Harris lambastes singer and actor Tyrese for warning black women about being "too independent." She says that kind of "mansplaining" or condescending advice devalues black women.

Sexism lies at the root of the actor’s monologue. In the regressive language of modern black relationship advice, it is not enough for a black woman to want a man deeply, with all her heart and soul. Male egos must always be fed with the idea that women are unfulfilled and incapable of living without a man. We must avoid being uneducated free-loaders, sayeth Tyrese, while being sure to remain needy and helpless enough to be attractive to men like him.

Tyrese’s “helpful” advice carries the condescension and arrogance typical of mansplaining, plus a dash of amorphous homophobia. What was that weird sidebar about homosexuality? No doubt, some ill-spoken repetition of the idea that gay black men harm black women’s marriage chances with their gayness. Silly.

But here’s another thing Tyrese’s advice is: racist. It is specifically black women who are singled out for some of the most dehumanizing and denigrating messages about their lovability and marriageability.

Indeed, Tyrese directs his comment “especially” to black women. Our culture remains in a place where it is acceptable to assume black women, apart from other women, are intrinsically wrong and in need of correction. It is not just mainstream sources like ABC News that serve up “What’s wrong with black women?” programming. Black men like Steve Harvey, Tyrese and Jimi Izrael are getting in on the action. And no one blinks an eye.

Read Tami Winfrey Harris' entire column at Racialicious.

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