Black men to Beyonce: Give Birth

CNN personality Piers Morgan conducted an interview with Beyoncé Knowles in support of her latest album release. During this interview, Piers Morgan mentions Beyoncé’s 30th birthday, which comes later this year. Beyoncé quickly interrupts with, “Are you trying to say I need to have a baby?”
I thought she already did? Or at least she’s been pregnant before? Or I think pregnant 7 times in the last 3 years?

For as long as I am . . . Sasha Fierce is old, Beyoncé has been pregnant six times over. There seems to be an obsession with wanting to turn women into mothers. Yet, Nadya Suleman aka Octomom is condemned for becoming one 14 times over.
We also condemn mothers on WIC or welfare when they’ve had one too many babies and can no longer support the family on their own.
Beyoncé, according to Forbes magazine, is one of the most powerful women in the world, but she is still not powerful enough to escape the notion that she must give birth and she must do so now.
This is problematic. There a couple of messages being sent here. Number one, you are not a complete and whole woman if you do not bear children. Number two, you must have children, but only as many as society tells you your socio-economic status can maintain. Lastly, you are only worth marrying if you can reproduce.

On Saturday night, I attended a book release celebration, which glorified the last of these problematic ideologies. The celebration is for a book that I am a part of, The Left Side Poets Present Strange Fruit.
We are a collective of poets, writers, and lyricists from Hampton University. Over the span of two years through tweets, phone calls, and emails, we produced a book about “the battle between youthful curiosity and adult angst,” that is receiving great reviews from our peers (CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE BOOK).

Saturday July 9th, 2011 is the day 8 out of the 9 of us were able to stop everything else we had going on in our busy lives and along with friends, family, reports, critics, and fans descended upon Tabaq Bistro in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the June 17th release of the book.
The night was full of book signings, photographs, hand-shaking, awkward introductions, and the highlight of the evening, the performances. We had a few guest poets and several of the Left Side Poets (including myself) performed new material as well as material that can be found in the book.
No matter how much I tried to simply enjoy the evening, I engaged Shawnon Corprew (twitter.com/lovescrescendo) in the corner with my comedic-critical banter.
As the performances began, I noticed this refrain from the majority of our male poets. This refrain had a lot to do with the Black men’s love for Black women. The refrain referring for love of Black women went something like this: “You carry nations with the weight of the world on your shoulders” and “She has the eyes of my great-grandchildren.” While beautiful and poetic, the poems (which I heard about 3 or 4) boil down to “I love you because you can and will have my babies.”
I sat waiting to hear a poem from a Black man that would be something like “You can’t have children and I still love you” or even better, “You’ve decided not to have my children and I wish to still marry you.” It seems men are too preoccupied with a women’s uterus. To my disappointment, the poem never graced the stage that night and it hasn’t at any slam or open mic I’ve attended prior to this celebration. We even pressure our most successful women as a global community to have children. The only time we stop worrying about a woman giving birth (as if everyone must help procreate the earth or we’ll die) is when she passes the presumed child-bearing age.

I’m not condemning these “I love Black women” poems. I just believe in being critical as to what sounds pretty in your ears. Not every woman wants to give birth or be a mother. At these spoken word events, we often like to think we as poets are deep. We (men) tell the women to not believe the hype of the video vixen: “Don’t be a seductress; you are worth more than the circumference of your ass.” How about we also tell Black women that their worth is not built into their womb and the capacity to be a wife does not rest on their ability to reproduce.

Learn more about the writer at http://www.svelvetnoose.com and twitter.com/svelvetnooseHis debut Litrary Mixtape “I’m a Nobody–Too” drops August 2nd.

Listen to the song SANKOFA

Posted on July 13, 2011, in Beyonce, feminism, Left side poets, octomom, spokenword. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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