“Mad” Ft. Lil Wayne
Sydney: This is what I like to call an ode to the “angry black woman.” Too often, we are told (by white people) how we are allowed to feel. During times of grief, they question our display of emotions. I remember how rude some people were when Alton Sterling’s family was delivering their statement about his murder on national television. His son was soaking his tears in his shirt while his wife maintained her composure on the podium. The sight of it all broke my heart, but some people had the nerve to say that she clearly wasn’t a good mother because she should have been consoling her son instead of worrying about doing a speech.
Unless you have experienced the burden of a loved one being murdered by the police, you have no right to give advice on how someone should conduct themselves. I can’t even imagine all of the pain she continues to go through. Every time I see a hashtag with the name of another person of color taken by individuals abusing their position of power, I refer to this powerful statement created by Weiden + Kennedy. All of the rage that builds up inside you is so exhausting that, after a while, you become desensitized to it. In an essay published on NOISEY in 2014, Kayla Phillips discusses how the “angry black woman” stereotype intersects within white-washed subcultures. She writes:
Solidarity isn’t white guilt and apologies for being white. No one is asking for that. Solidarity is awareness, and the ability to listen if you say you’re going to. It’s standing beside me or behind me, not in front of me. It’s the ability to look at oneself and break down internalized issues, instead of tokenizing someone. It’s realizing that not all spaces and conversations are about you personally.
In a way, I think that this song conveys all of these feelings.
Taylor: “You have a right to be mad” is the line that every black person needs to hear. Now, what you choose to do with that anger and how you channel it—and hopefully, eventually, release it—is up to you. Like Sydney said, the “angry black woman” is a trope that many black women get saddled with. Nothing’s worse than telling a person how they feel or are supposed to feel. But as Solange speak-sings, “I got a lot to be mad about.” Black people, as a whole, have a lot to be mad about, the key is to not hold on to that anger and “let it go, let it go, let it go.”
Tina: I couldn’t agree more with what Sydney and Taylor said. This year alone, I have had to tell so many friends of mine—who kept sending me yoga routines to manifest peace, or whatever—that I appreciated their sentiment, but that I also had every right to be angry with the current state of affairs; that when I was ready to “breathe out peace and love,” I would let them know. And, in the meantime, maybe they should stop trying to tell their black and POC friends how to feel and wrestle with their own discomfort with others’ outrage. Eventually, my rage simmered and I was able to channel my experience and my anger in a creative way. That’s not everyone’s journey, however, and I respect deeply the varying paths it takes for folks to get to where they’re headed.