It took me most of last Wednesday to figure out who or what a “Sharkeisha” was and why it was the leading trending topic on Twitter. I mistakenly guessed that it was a jab at the infamous Sharknado movie on the Syfy Channel, where an unprecedented number of people unexpectedly tuned in to watch sharks fall from the sky. That or “Sharkeisha” was yet another way for Twitter to make fun of some black women’s names, which happens with annoying regularity.
I was half right. Turns out “Sharkeisha” is the name of a real person, a Houston-based teenager who sucker punched, then kicked, another teenager in the face because she believed the girl was having sex with a boy Sharkeisha was also having sex with. The whole incident was captured on video by “friends” of the girls involved, uploaded to Instagram (which quickly removed the video) and then posted to World Star Hip-Hop, where it quickly went viral.
In a little under a week, the video has been viewed thousands of times. Sharkeisha has become an Internet star, with her Twitter followers leaping from 400 to more than 17,000 literally overnight. Bafflingly, most of the tweets were positive, celebrating her physical prowess as if she’d fought off an attacker instead of being the attacker.
Forgive me, but I find nothing funny or worth celebrating about this video. I agree with the folks over at Hip-Hop Wired who called it “coonery at its finest.” And I’m disgusted at the way too many people are “laughing” at this via Instagram, Facebook updates and tweets as if were a Dave Chappelle skit, like “When ‘Keeping It Real’ Goes Wrong” (NSFW).
This isn’t funny. At all. It’s a vulgar display of violence, a tragic depiction of someone who lacks anger management and humanity and a shocking example of just how wayward some teens are. Sharkeisha’s reaction to a petty dispute over, likely, a boy who didn’t care about either of these girls is a clear-cut case of assault. This isn’t entertainment to get through the workday. The way that girl was kicked in the face could have resulted in her death.
And about that girl who was punched in the face and inspired so much laughter: Last week it was rumored that she, Shamichael Manuel, had committed suicide when the video went viral. Thankfully, that isn’t true.
Shamichael suffered “only” a busted lip and a black eye from the assault. She hasn’t been to school since the assault because she’s having problems seeing out of one eye.
She told KHOU that the “fight” was a setup by a former friend and called the entire ordeal, from the actual assault to the viral video seen by thousands of people, “hurting and crushing.” She added, “I felt humiliated, embarrassed and hurt at the same time.”
Her mother has filed an assault charge against Sharkeisha. There’s no word on whether the teen has been arrested.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of the upcoming book Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love.