Imagine that you were kicking back with one of your homegirls, enjoying wine, food and good times while chopping it up about current events and the latest happenings in your life….only to wake up the next day and see everything that you said, posted online verbatim. This seems to be exactly what happened to Melyssa Ford recently while enjoying a dinner with her former assistant who writes for Vibe Magazine. What she thought was an intimate “off the record” conversation about Essence Magazine and a range of other topics, became headlining news on the blogs the next day.
Although Melyssa stands by her criticism of Essence and their “How To Keep Black Men Happy and Faithful” article as well as their decision to put Naomi Campbell on this month’s cover amid her recent troubles, she explains that her “thoughts” were supposed to be off the record and she had no idea they would be published.
Let me begin by saying that like millions of other black women of my generation, I grew up on Essence Magazine. Throughout my life, it has served as a platform to celebrate women of color, committed to showing our beauty by our own standards. I know my candid criticism of the publication by my over use of profanity may have diluted my message, but in all honesty, I believed that I was speaking off the record and having “coffee table talk” with an old friend, who happened to be my former assistant, hence my uncensored frankness on the topic at hand.
However, I stand by my comments about black publications such as Essence needing to be more careful about the messages they are sending. Suggesting that black women are responsible for keeping their men faithful is antiquated. The greater issue is about the pressure that we as African American women feel to perform above the level of expectation to keep a man happy and at home, as if a spousal union isn’t based on any kind of reciprocal action. Is there as much of a focus towards black men on how to keep us happy? No, but numerous studies and features are written about ‘Angry Black Women Syndrome’ and the finger is clearly pointed in our direction as if to say we are the direct or indirect cause of why black men stray. This isn’t the sort of story I remember reading in the Essence of old – the very pages that made me and so many other women proud to be brown.
There’s a reason black publications like Essence magazine have stood strong for decades. I simply wish to be able to one day hear my own children speak with the same fondness of black publications as I did growing up.
Source: Necole Bitchie