I felt like Tamar Braxton’s sister and reality-show archnemesis, Towanda Braxton, while watching the youngest Braxton and co-host of The Real shed tears after complaining how hurtful it is to be compared to a character from The Muppets. Tamar was boo-hooing over two people—Chris Brown and K. Michelle—she opted out of naming for insulting her appearance with that description. Nasty as that sounds, Tamara essentially victimized herself without adding total context—namely, what prompted both of them to feel the need to insult her in the first place.
Although I tend to think that Towanda is too mean to Tamar on Braxton Family Values, I do agree with her when she says that Tamar can dish it out but can’t take it. I’m a fan of Tamar’s—I’m talking still-listening-to-her-2000-debut-album fan—but I was not moved by Tamar’s tears because of one pivotal lesson I was taught early in life: Punks jump up to get beat down.
Don’t talk about anyone if you’re not prepared for the repercussions.
I imagine that fellow singer and reality star K. Michelle felt the same, since she pointed out on Twitter, “Every action warrants a reaction. You can’t go and start a fight with someone then when they reply cry and play victim.” K. Michelle has firsthand knowledge of this: The two started a feud after Tamar proceeded to take shots at her over K. Michelle’s claims that Memphitz, the now-estranged husband of Tamar’s friend Toya Wright, abused her. Even after K. Michelle essentially called for a truce, Tamar continued taking shots at her—including in a since-deleted tweet criticizing K. Michelle’s performance at the 2015 BET Honors.
Did K. Michelle have to respond to Tamar’s insults by insulting her personal appearance? No. Was it out of line? Sure. Yet, despite being well into adulthood, Tamar still fails to grasp the reality that when you go out of your way to publicly criticize someone, you have to be prepared for whatever comes your way thereafter. Not everyone will respond the same way. Such is life. Get over it.
K. Michelle didn’t have to talk about Tamar’s appearance, but Tamar didn’t need to interject herself into another woman’s claim of abuse, either. Likewise, while she can shed tears about being called a Muppet by K. Michelle and Brown, she ought to reflect on some of her own bad behavior. In response to Brown’s admittedly childish retort to Tamar’s and The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon’s criticism of his relationship with Karrueche Tran, Tamar proceeded to describe Brown’s behavior as “queenish” and to question his manhood.
One thing that continues to irritate me about Tamar is that she will go out of her way to use “queen” as a pejorative, as if her entire shtick isn’t a combination of mores and customs associated with a sect of gay black men and BET’s animated homegirl Cita.
Then there’s that time she “joked” about the conspiracy theory that Beyoncé’s baby bump and pregnancy were fake. Saint, she ain’t. Tamar wants us to feel bad that people have insulted her appearance, but she refuses to acknowledge her own ugly ways.
As for being called Janice from the Muppets: Girl, get over it. I look like Dale from Chip ’n Dale Rescue Rangers. Moreover, kids used to tease me about my buckteeth and likened me to a cartoon named Bucky O’Hare. Meanwhile, John Legend looks like Teddy Ruxpin. Jazmine Sullivan mirrors Big Bird’s BFF. Some people look like cartoon characters and Muppets.
I’ve been called every name imaginable for daring to publicly state my opinion. It comes with the territory. If anyone should know that, it’s a talk show host.
Now more than ever, people complain about “bullying” without being accountable for their own actions. Likewise, there’s something to be said about knowing when to relinquish the power you give folks who ultimately don’t matter.
Tamar, I’m sorry those people made you feel bad about your appearance, but no more public tears about it. You’re either going to have to chill on your own level of criticism or own it and whatever comes—good and bad—as a result of it. You cannot have it both ways. Point, blank and the period.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.