Black Women and Sexuality: Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t


On Thursday night, I was looking at the Facebook post that linked to my column on raunchy twerk anthems. As I do on our main site, I like to engage with the readers in the comments. As I read through what people were saying, I noticed a disturbing pattern: A great number of men were criticizing me for talking about twerking. They said that I should be focused on more important things than just shaking my ass.


If you have followed me here for even a week, you know that I write about a great many topics on The Root. The Root After Dark is just a space where I get to express a different side of myself. I get to cut loose from all the politics and negative news that can at times be draining, especially for someone who has to be constantly tuned in to it.

I was insulted by the insinuation that I didn’t have more to add to people’s day. It left me wondering a few things: Why aren’t black women allowed to own their sexuality? Why are the only acceptable sexual depictions of black women those that are defined by people other than black women? Why is it that, when we embrace our sexuality or—as I do here each night—openly express it, we are labeled whores or sluts or too sexual? Why are we immediately dismissed, as if black women were not the multidimensional, multitalented, creative and expressive embodiments of #BlackGirlMagic that we are on a daily basis?

It’s not just our own people who do this to us, but it is worst when our own people do this to us, at least in my opinion. By “our own people,” I mean black men. Why are you so threatened by a black woman owning her sexuality? What is it about a black woman who is expressing her sexuality that makes a black man feel that he has to tear her down for it?

On the one hand, every rap video wants us dressed in the skimpiest clothing possible, shaking our asses and acting as if we’re dying to lay up with MC Misogyny at the first opportunity. The other side of that game is, if I put on a skimpy outfit and pose on Instagram, I am a thot or a ho and I need to find something better to do with my time.

It was totally OK, even celebrated, for Elizabeth Taylor—a white woman—to run through a passel of husbands. Something was wrong with those men, not with her. But Halle Berry having more than one relationship means something is definitely wrong with her.

Make up your mind, men.

You wanted Twerk Team to keep posting videos on YouTube a few years ago, but grown black women twerking on Twitter or Facebook is too much for you.

You want “wifey” material. She has to be pure and innocent but also know how to suck your dick the right way and throw it back at you as you hit it from behind.


Those two things don’t even match. Just what is it that you really want?

I am a college-educated black woman who was trained in traditional journalism. I write news for The Root on a daily basis. I give detailed and succinct political commentary. I curate important information for our readers daily. I engage in intelligent discourse with the Kinja commenters. I read a lot of books and I have a rather large vocabulary.


I am also a black woman who fully embraces her sexuality. I love sex. I love looking sexy. I talk about sex because I don’t think it is anything to be ashamed of. Sometimes I dress conservatively. Sometimes I dress with my body parts hanging out. It just depends on my mood.

The bottom line is, you can’t have the woman and remove her sexuality. Her sexuality is a part of her. Black women are sexual beings. We live full lives, have fabulous careers, hold our people down and save everyone else in the process.


And we do it all while managing active and healthy sex lives. We do it all in business suits and rompers. We do it all for the ’gram and for the boardroom.

You don’t have to like it, but you don’t have to be afraid of it.

And you damn well better start accepting it, because we outchea.

Be blessed,

A sexual black woman



Men who complain about things like that are men who need a woman’s sexuality but only when they can control it. It’s not your sexy to to enjoy and give. It’s theirs to have a take.

FWIW I think you’re lovely AND you’re one of my favorite writers on The Root.