I have complex views on this one. My godmother used to tell me how upset she’d get to see a black man with a white woman. I shrugged, made eye contact with my mother and we both looked at her like she was overreacting. I genuinely was unphased by seeing black men and white women together before college. But then I got to my first college and started hanging out with white women who had zip zero knowledge of black people period. But every single successful athlete who walked on campus were ones they flocked to and immediately ended up being the girlfriends of: boxers, basketball players, football players, etc. I saw one couple that was black — and he was constantly cheating on her with white girls. In conversation with these women — who all seemed to think black people grew up in ghettos and being oddly uninformed on the n-word — it just started to feel like fame was the only reason they were checking for these dudes.

Meanwhile sistas I knew growing up were dating some of the dustiest broke dudes both before and after the fame. I would totally get it if these same women were interested in dating brothas who weren’t in the limelight. But it’s the miraculous leap from bored in the bleachers and then Flo-Jo running to third base as soon as there’s a little fame that made me go, “OK, I’m starting to feel a way.” And the “trophy” way these women were brought around was weird to observe. Meanwhile one boxer in particular (light-skinned black guy) was salivating over this Jamaican brown-skinned girl, who was pretty much ignored by everyone else. There is just this strange vibe with brown-skinned women and some men — non-celebrities included.

On a separate note, I remember working with a white guy who was a writer for a news outlet. He loved himself Serena Williams. He gushed over her athleticism and talent and thought she was just the best athlete ever. He was also an addict of Reddit. He did 50,000 galleries about both Reddit and then Serena Williams. But when news broke that the Reddit founder and Serena Williams got married, he was church mouse quiet. I brought it up to him thinking he’d probably get a jacket with their names on it (he was a serious fan), and he just shrugged. And just like that, he stopped writing about both topics. I couldn’t tell if his tone changed because he thought they shouldn’t have been together or … something …. but it was off.

I say that to say this. I was happy for Serena Williams because after the odd way she was underplayed by Drake and Common, the guy from Reddit couldn’t have been happier to post her all over his damn Instagram page. The Serena Williamses of the world simply just don’t get that kind of recognition in a romantic way. (It’s why I respect Beyonce for making her the main model in the “Sorry” video.) Eve just kept slamming into walls dating the Stevie J’s of the world. So I think sistas were happier to see women like them finally find someone who was as happy to be with them as they were. And it didn’t feel like a fetish or a trophy in the process.

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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