My formative years were spent on the south side of New York City’s Jamaica, Queens. The small neighborhood is almost considered a quiet suburb of New York City. Quiet—it is not. Suburban—kinda, sorta, but not quite. Sure, there were blocks of tree-lined streets, houses and backyards with grassy knolls, but it also included the 40s projects, the Baisley houses, crack addicts and drug dealers.
My hood struck a perfect balance of the world I would face as an adult. On one hand, it could be warm and embracing—on the other, it was cold and calculating. Living in South Jamaica shaped you to thrive in both, but most importantly, the latter. Being exposed to less-conservative conditions gives you grit. The kind of grit a black girl needs to survive psychopathic white chicks when she goes off to college. The type of grit University of Hartford student Jazzy Rowe needed.
Rowe, also from Queens, grew up in the neighboring Springfield Gardens community, less than 3 miles from South Jamaica. She recently graduated from my alma mater.
Reportedly, she was secretly poisoned, over a period of time, by Brianna Brochu, a white student, with whom she shared a dorm room. In a string of Instagram posts, this poor excuse for trashiness described the ways in which she methodically sabotaged Rowe’s personal items with her bodily fluid.
Unbeknownst to Rowe, Brochu shared that she had licked Rowe’s eating utensils and plates, spit in her coconut oil, smeared her knapsack with bloody tampons—and tainted her toothbrush with shit. In addition, Brochu admitted to contaminating Rowe’s face lotion with “moldy clam dip” and tampering with “so much more.”
Rowe became mysteriously ill. She suffered from a bacterial infection that wreaked havoc in her throat, for nearly a month, and required antibiotics. She shared the details of the incident in a Facebook Live video. In a police report, she confirmed that her shared living situation was devoid of social interaction. She stated that her roommate barely acknowledged her presence, had a mean vibe, disrespected her and shut off lights while she studied.
Rowe requested a room change, and on the day she moved out, a fellow dorm resident and two assistants confronted her with Brochu’s social media posts, detailing the vile behavior toward Rowe. Brochu’s alleged actions were reported to the university and then West Hartford, Conn., police. There were no reports of anyone becoming “extremely pissed.”
The reasonable ending stresses the difference between growing up in South Jamaica in my day and being reared in Springfield Gardens today. There is no way I could have remained civil in that matter.
I take pleasure in learning that this thug was arrested and later expelled, and had a few misdemeanor charges upgraded to a felonious crime—but not more than I would have taken pleasure if someone—anyone—had handed her ass to her. By that, I mean call on the ancestors, lace up those sneakers, take off them earrings, tie down that hair, grease up that face, crack your knuckles, do some jumping jacks, throw them ’bows and tear the club up.
That did not occur because—and I salute Rowe—of Rowe’s reservation. She was raised right. She is the embodiment of black-girl grace. She is a much better woman than I.
Brianna Brochu is not.
In her last public post, she referred to Rowe as “Jamaican Barbie.” This tells us all we need to know about how subordinate insipid whiteness feels in close proximity to magical melanin. I’m willing to gamble that Brochu has a Barbie complex that Rowe’s physicality aggravated by far exceeding a perceived beauty standard Brochu cannot identify within herself. It made her sick—and in return, she made Rowe sick, literally.
Brochu’s inability to appreciate black excellence juxtaposed with her own mediocrity is attached to the sick and twisted irony of hating black girls while having a deep desire to be one. Brochu goes by @braids_by_breezy for a standalone Instagram account that has since been made private. Instagram users were dragging her. On that account, she showcased her hair-braiding capabilities (perhaps she can use those skills in jail). There were photos of plaits and cornrows with extensions. One image boasted: “starting the dreads.” It is dreadful.
Yet, according to Heavy, Brochu ridiculed Rowe’s bundles in a separate photo used on social media: “This b[i]tch legit bought a box of f[u]cking hair,” the caption read.
Black women’s ability to lay it down, flip it and reverse it with their hair, style and attitude is high art. I can see how the inability to possess such moxie would prompt white woman tears. For Brochu, it triggered white rage. Thus, we should not be quick to dismiss Brochu’s behavior as a case of jealousy. Her motivation and subtleties are nothing less than those of her white male contemporaries.
She is dangerous.
And not in the mean-white-girl-who doesn’t-like-the-black-girl kinda way but, rather, an Americanist-white-supremacist-who-hates-smart-beautiful-black-people-who-make-white-trash-feel-uncomfortably-dumb-ugly-and-irrelevant kinda way.
She is dangerous in a “Dylann Roof shoots and kills nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church” kinda way.
She is noxious in a “James Harris Jackson stabs to death Timothy Caughman for being black” kinda way.
She is malevolent in a “white supremacists murder James Byrd Jr., in a lynch-by-dragging romp” kinda way.
She is malignant in an “NYC cop Justin Volpe sodomizes Haitian immigrant Abner Louima with a plunger” kinda way.
She is depraved in a “Michael Griffith chased to his death in Howard Beach by Jon Lester and his white crew” kinda way.
She is evil in a “14-year-old Emmett Till lynched for flirting with a white woman” kinda way.
No matter how many kinds of ways I present this, nor the distance between South Jamaica and Springfield Gardens, the same resounding story rings true.
Brianna Brochu is a terrorist.
She’s lucky to have not encountered a black woman, from South Jamaica, who doesn’t have a problem with laying hands on her.