Yes, that's Jill Scott, not Nicki Minaj. I call "Rolling Hills" the antidote for "Anaconda."
Watch and learn.
If you still want to see "Anaconda" after Jill sets you straight, you'll have to find it. I watched the Minaj twerk fest once, and tears welled up.
Not for joy. But because I remembered my mother and a whole host of proud black sistahs who fought sooooo hard to be something other than their asses.
I also remembered the men all over Europe who caressed, grabbed and offered to pay me for the pleasure of just looking at my 18-year-old black ass on my first trip abroad. One guy shoved me down the steps of the Metro in Paris for slapping his hand away.
"It's what you girls like, isn't it?" the gendarme (French cop) said, when I implored him to do something.
Yeah. We're some big-bottomed beasts, black women. I forgot. But Minaj is here to remind us.
Now, it's good to see us celebrating the "power in those rolling hills," as Jill Scott says so much better. Because I also remember wanting and even training to be in the ballet, and having countless teachers and trainers insist those curves just wouldn't cut it.
For centuries African American women did everything they could to tame or hide those powerful "hills." And no one's happier than me that my daughter was born free to celebrate hers.
I was even happier to hear the disgust in her voice as she introduced me to "Anaconda."
And I thought, as I watched, that I could hear scores of beautiful black women weeping with me. When you're watching Minaj make it clap like hands, run through this list of women who gave us so much. So much more. How does it feel when you watch Minaj and think of:
- Maya Angelou
- Sojourner Truth
- Mamie Till Mobley
- Rosa Parks
- Madam C.J. Walker
- Shirley Chisholm
- Harriet Tubman
- Ida B. Wells
- Dr. Dorothy Height
- Wilma Rudolph
- Zora Neale Hurston
- Gwendolyn Brooks
- Sarah H. Goode
- Barbara Jordan
That's the short list -- there are hundreds more. And that's just the ones who've left us. There are hundreds of current trailblazers in the arts, science, politics, et al, for whom "Anaconda" cannot be good news. If you don't know the ladies on that short list or can't think of any others, get Googlin'.
There are those who would say any young black woman out there making the kind of waves -- and money -- Minaj has also belongs on one of those lists. And Sister Rosa Parks sat her bottom down in that seat in the front of the bus to give us the freedom to do whatever we damned well pleased, I suppose.
But... I think she would be happier with the way Jill Scott talks about our "hills" in her Womanifesto.
Clearly I am not a fat ass
I am active brain
And lip smacking peach deep
Sometimes too aggressive in its honesty
And heart sweet
I hope you will. Preferably right after you see or hear "Anaconda" for the bazillionth time. Just to remind us of the real power behind that behind.