Why Patrice Brown (AKA #TeacherBae) Is The Subject Of A Dumb-Ass "Debate," Explained

@MsPatricel via Twitter
@MsPatricel via Twitter

Who is Patrice Brown?

Patrice Brown is an elementary school teacher in Atlanta. She is also the muse for a verse about "Nicey from Atlanta" from a song that Drake hasn't produced yet. And in it Drake will lament about that one time he was in a Panera Bread in Buckhead and he met this teacher he wanted to settle down with, but after a couple promising dates she didn't answer his texts even though he saw the read receipts. So he gave her nickname (Nicey Poo) to a flight attendant named Lisa.


And the song will be called "Grading On A Curve." Because while Drake does thick women, he doesn't do subtlety.

So I take it that she's attractive?

She is. And not "That 11th grade French teacher Miss Johnson is really cute" attractive, but "Beyonce cast as an inner-city teacher on an episode of Criminal Minds" attractive.

So basically she's reached the rarest level on the attractive hierarchy, which is "unrealistically attractive for her occupation" attractive?

Yes. She's basically the female equivalent of every tech support guy or barista The Rock keeps playing in movies. Like, come on, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson! You're waaaaaaay too big to be making that mango smoothie, man. We don't believe you; you need more people.

Got it. So why is she in the news? While I'm sure she's an attractive woman, I'm also sure she's not the only attractive woman who happens to be a schoolteacher.

A couple days ago, a few pictures of Brown at work went viral. While many marveled over and appreciated her looks, some felt that both the pictures and the clothes she wore in the pictures were inappropriate for the classroom. And this started a dumb-ass internet debate.


Inappropriate? How so?

Well, Brown is very curvy. And judging from the pictures that were circulated, she seems to enjoy wearing clothes that, um, fit. This struck some people as unbecoming of a teacher, with their rationale(s) being that she's wearing club clothes in the classroom and that she'd distract the students from learning.


Which, of course, is both true and bullshit.

How so?

It's true that she could wear some of those outfits to the club. But I'm certain if you peeked your head inside of the other classrooms in her school — and the classrooms in the school nearest you — you'd find other teachers (male and female) wearing clothes that could also be worn to happy hour. In fact, as someone who was a high school teacher for three years, "Can I wear this to happy hour later?" was a deciding factor with like 90% of my outfits. Because your game night clothes and your teaching clothes are often the same clothes. Because teacher salaries. (And because teachers do a lot of drinking.)


And, as far as her being a distraction, will some of the students be distracted by her? Yes! But that's the job of a 4th grader. Be distracted by random shit. If it wasn't Ms. Brown's curves, it would be Ms. Brown's enunciation. Or the sound Ms Brown's shoes makes. Or the weather outside. Or what Janaya Robinson said to Kenny Richmond in homeroom 40 minutes ago. Or Dej Loaf. Or meatloaf. And not meatloaf the food, but a faded sticker of Meatloaf the musician on the back of a chair. And eventually, they get bored with whatever's distracting them, and either decide to pay attention to the teacher or find something else to distract them. Trust me, the 4th graders in Patrice Brown's classroom give less fucks about her looks than any of us do.

The "problem" here isn't that Brown is dressing inappropriately. It's that she's dressing inappropriately for her figure. If she were less curvy and a bit plainer-looking and did the exact same things, this would not be a story.


So basically the charges of inappropriateness are from people uncomfortable with her body?

In a nutshell. Thing is, what these people don't realize — or realize but don't want to admit — is that it doesn't matter. A woman as pretty and curvy as Brown could go to work rocking a potato sack — shit, she could rock a potato sack with the potatoes still in it — and she'd still get attention. And still be considered a distraction. Fathers of her students would still have perfect attendance at PTA meetings. Maybe she can dress more conservatively if she desires to, but there's absolutely nothing she can do to "hide" herself. Which I imagine might be a gift and a curse for her.


What's next for her?

Hopefully she has an administration and school board that supports her through all of this. And maybe she can use her newfound popularity as #TeacherBae to start a multi-city happy hour tour with Jeremy Meeks (#PrisonBae). And this tour would be managed by Irvin Randle (#MrStealYourGrandma). Who they eventually fire because he kept sneaking into her luggage and stealing her jeans.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)