Monday, October 8, 2012

Sometimes I write things down and then forget about them

Today I found this and I just thought I'd share it:

When you have something as precious as this you don’t waste time with expectations that can’t ever feel like now, because they don’t exist here. They don’t exist now. If someone told you that underneath where you stood a diamond was forming from your perfect application of pressure, would you move because your foot fell asleep? When it’s like this, you remain still and let the love move. 

This is precious. This is present. This is us. This what we do. And I have no idea what it is. I can’t be comfortable here. But I can live with it and flourish from the energy. In that way, it’s real. And that’s all the certainty I need.


I have no idea when or why I wrote this.

Peace,
Sesali B.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Letter to Lupe Fiasco


Dear Lupe,
I adore and admire you. Your courage and light shine through in more ways than one. Even though we rep different "sides", we're from the same city. When I watched you cry on the couch with Sway, I knew what it was and I knew it was real. My cousin was killed in front of Parkway Gardens not even a month ago. He was 19 and he didn't make it out. Ashe.

You tweeted last night that you were heartbroken and that Food & Liquor 2 would probably be your last album. I would beg you to stay and tell you that we need you in that space but I guess you know, just as I do, that the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. The struggle is real and I hope you find the peace you deserve.

Immediately following that, you mentioned that literature was your first true love. It was, and still is, mine, too. So from this place
of mutual love I hope you can respect what it means that I am writing to you today and think critically about what follows. As man and woman, brother and sister, we need to talk about "Bitch Bad"....

As a writer, it would be sacrilegious for me to ignore the power of language. When you talk about the internalization of the word bitch by children, you remind us that our babies are always watching and listening and creating meaning for language we use. And in this regard, I appreciate verses 1 & 2 (Act I & II in the video) of "Bitch Bad".

But then you took a turn in verse 3 and that's what I'd like to talk to you about. Just when I thought you were going to send us off with a message about reconstructing beauty ideals; or reconsidering the imagery of Black men and women in hip hop and mainstream media; or even the hyper-sexualization of Black women, you don't. Instead you reiterate that Black women are hyper-sexual and suggest that it is our fault because we embraced the term bad bitch and it's association with fat asses, small waists, and long weaves. You actually suggest that while young brothers are living in reality, young sisters are caught up in an illusion.

Brother, it's not an illusion at all. That little boy might associate the word bitch with his mother but that doesn't mean he isn't going to grow up and demand that his female partner have a fat ass and light skin. It's very real that Black women and girls feel that the only chance they have to connect with Black men is when their ass is round and their hip to waist ratio is on point. And this isn't my theory, this is experience. I've heard my male friends and cousins and brothers, from various class backgrounds, talk about "bad bitches".
Contrary to the young brother in your verse 3, they absolutely want to fuck her. And date her, and show her around town, and be a proud husband when she also cooks, clean, and has an education. And these realities are not contingent on women being called "bad bitches" or "beautiful queens". They just are.

To suggest that young brothers are somehow interpreting the term differently than young sisters is a real misunderstanding. Furthermore, by considering young brothers to be the only ones who are able to re-appropriate the term to mean something outside of flamboyant sexuality (because they heard their mother say it) is a disservice and insult to women who have used or identify with the term. This blog is a perfect example of that.

"Bitch Bad" seemed to suggest that the blame was on women. It seemed that the blame was on mothers for using the term in front of their sons; on girls for accepting false imagery without question; and on young women for being sexual and ever having the audacity to refer to themselves as bitches, despite who else does. But dear Lupe, the word bitch (or whore, or any of the other words we use to demean women) was not created by a woman. Women did not make the term popular in a negative or affectionate way. Men (especially those in hip hop) did that.

The truth is that Black women should and do have the ability to define ourselves, for ourselves. This is true even as we struggle with our image. And for some of us that means using the language of the brothers we love and wish to connect with. I can and will call myself a bad
bitch if for me that means being educated, humble, sincere, connected, and loving. This is how we speak in a space where we have been silenced. This is how we insert ourselves into the conversations and bring ourselves back to the table.

Black women will still experience sexual assault whether we call ourselves bitches or queens.
Domestic violence will still happen whether we call ourselves bitches or queens.
We will still die in the streets, whether we call ourselves bitches or queens.
Sexism will still be poisoning our communities whether we call ourselves bitches or queens.
Girls that are too fat or too skinny will still be pushed away, whether they call themselves bitches or queens.
Our sons and daughters will not know love unless we teach them, whether we call ourselves bitches or queens.

I hope you understand. Peace and much love 2 ya!

In solidarity,
Sesali (one of your fans, sisters, and a bad bitch)

P.S.- I was at your show at DePaul. It was awesome sauce!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Me on draws...



And that's all I have to say about that...

Dear Ty - and all that came before you...

I was reading your blog this morning. And as soon as I started listening to Frank Ocean (I still am as I write this) I thought about all of the wonderfully good music that I can accredit to you. Some other people might think this is trivial and unimportant. I know you don't. There is truly something to be said about sharing positive reactions to rhythms, beats, and their subsequent vibrations. Thank you for recognizing that. Even when we don't talk, I will hear a song, and you'll speak directly to me.

But there's more. So after I thought about how thankful I am for this music and for you, I couldn't stop. I'm glad that we connect through words and the gift of writing. I'm especially thankful for all of our mutual friends that keep us connected and brought us together in the first place--Jessica, Alicia, Aerian, Damillia, the list goes on. I guess gratitude is like that, it sees where it belongs. Mostly I'm just thankful that you and I are alive and here, at the same damn time. 

Love,
Sesali 

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Fluff... No. 1 I'm just pretty

Them: "You pretty for a big girl"

 Me: "You're smart for an idiot"

 I think that saying is equivalent to "no homo" and "not to be racist..." It basically reinforces fat-phobia and supports the norm that fat girls should not be desired. We are by the way.

 And really... it's ok... you don't have to disclaim the fact that I'm fine as hell. I just am.

 Furthermore, I know the days of the "pretty girl" are long gone (it's all about ass these days) but I'd think common courtesy would steer you away from blatantly suggesting that I'm unattractive everywhere outside of my 5 inches of face.

 I don't hear people saying "You have a nice body to be so ugly" You ever think about that? Why that might be rude? You should.

And the fact that I'm 24 and still reminding people of this is just laughable yet depressing. Good Day.




 The Fluff is about fat girls. Because fat bitches are bad bitches too.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Try this...

Pick a love song.

Now imagine that the love interest in the song is you.

Really listen to the lyrics and apply them to yourself.

Do this everyday.

Those love songs don't seem so ridiculous anymore, huh?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lessons on Love from a Short Term Lover

I take risks with love [Lesson 1. Risks are necessary]. Some people might think this is reckless and is the reason I'm always "single" (The term "single" is used to reinforce the idea that we should all have committed partners all the time. Not true. And when we don't have them, we're "single" a.k.a. only a.k.a. alone. Not true. "Single" also suggests that in this state you are somehow available and looking for a committed relationship, or should be. Also not true.) And yes, none of my relationships have ended in marital bliss. But how many do?  Hell, how many marriages end in marital bliss? [Lesson 2. Sometimes the shit don't work out. And sometimes its your own fault. But that's ok.]

As the days go on, I'm more and more sure that I'm not in "the game" looking for something that lasts forever. In fact, when I enter relationships, I try to make it a point to not say forever. Instead I stay as long as it works, as long as we both want to be in it. [Lesson 3. Don't stay a day longer. You're doing yourself and your partner a disservice if you do.] And I honestly don't think there's anything wrong with that.

I'm not afraid of heartbreak anymore [Lesson 4. Don't live in fear of things you have no control over]. It comes, it lingers, it leaves. When it didn't leave, It was because I was holding on. I now also understand that part of getting to know someone (prior to and within a relationship) is potentially finding out they're crazy, immature, insensitive, cheap, dishonest, etc. [<-- That was Lesson 5. Lesson 6 is that this says something about THEM and has pretty little to do with you.] That's why I don't look back on all my past relationships and say "what the hell is wrong with me" anymore.

Compatibility is not all divine and astrological (although that's some of it. I tried to date a Virgo once. God what a train wreck), it is up to us to set boundaries and own our own shit. [Lesson 7. You entered the relationship as an individual. It should stay that way.] Relationships, however brief, have changed my life, but they haven't changed me, although they've helped.

And if the shit isn't working, isn't healthy, or doesn't feel right (not to be confused with feeling good because that's not a constant in life), I bounce. And trust me, bouncing comes easy to me. Ask my past lovers. I'm unashamed and I embrace it. And I will not apologize. [Lesson 8. Relationships are a constant test of your own capacity to stay true to self in order to share that with someone else.] Follow suit.

I have loved. I am not afraid to love [Lesson 9. Do NOT be afraid to love]. But I also understand that love, by itself, is never enough. [Lesson 10. I repeat. Love, by itself is never enough]. Relationships require hard work, compromise, understanding, communication on an EQUAL level from all parties. [Lesson 11. Love is not about power].

So yea, I love em and leave em. All of my brief (under a year)  relationships have been more fulfilling than the one long term (on and off for 8 years) relationship I had. Mainly because I love me and am the master(teacher) of my own destiny. And that pretty much sums it up.

In search of all things real [<--- Lesson 12!],

Sesali B.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Guest Post EVER: It All Belongs to Me


Who would have thought that this would resonate so well with me today. Thank you Sista Porshe. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For weeks I have tried to figure out why the new single of R and B singers Brandy and Monica “It All Belongs to Me” resonated with me so much. Like literally I have played this song at least seventy times since it first came out. Today, while driving down 57 to attend a baby shower of a college friend, it hit me why I enjoyed this song so much. I realized it was not the melodies or harmonies created by the voices of these women or the instruments used. No, it was not even because of my excitement to have these two vocalists back on the scene. I love this song because it resonates Ntozake Shange’s words of the lady in green from the choreopoem For Colored Girls.
The lady in green so eloquently states,
Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

In the chorus of “It all Belongs to Me” Brandy and Monica name physical personal items that they have sewed into relationships that they want back. They state,

I know you mad/Cant take no more, but put that back/ that ain’t yours/have a fit, /slam the door/ but leave them bags on the floor/that sh*t belongs to me/those clothes those cars those rings/yeah/ and that macbook/that sh*t belongs to me/ so log off your facebook/It all belongs to me

This chorus is speaking directly to the lady in green’s words by adding tangible effect to the word “stuff.” The Lady in Green also gives tangibles to the word “stuff” when she claims it as, “the kick and sway of it the perfect ass for my man…my love my toes…my rhythms and my voice…” While the song gives more tangible items that can be brought, Shange’s lady in green talks about the things taken from her that one can not purchase or return for example voice. We build these relationships with people who mean us no good but to run off with all of our “stuff”. We pour into them and they give us nothing in return. They even steal our voice, which is the most powerful thing we have. 

The illustrious poet, Audre Lorde tells us “that what is most important must be spoken, made, verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” The difference in my reading of For Colored Girls and It All Belongs to Me is that the Lady in Green seems to be speaking to a man or person whom she did not have the opportunity to tell because they had already walked off with her “stuff” whereas Brandy and Monica are speaking to the person before they get the chance to leave completely. Although I believe it is good to find your voice period, I believe Audre Lorde would urge us to speak before people have the chance to walk out and off with all of our “stuff”. She tells us “[y]our silence will not protect you…so it is better to speak knowing you were never meant to survive.”

I agree with Lorde and I am learning to do just that. It takes daily practice and reflection and while both pieces speak directly to women’s relationships with men, I think this is the principle we should apply to all facets of our lives including relationships, friendships, family, partnerships, etc. Find the voice and courage to tell these people to give you your “stuff” back before it is to late.

I urge myself and you all to “go and get yo sh*t back”




Porshe a.k.a. Pretty Black a.k.a. Sista Po Po is one of my homegirls from college. She's a writer, scholar, and Black girl. Much love.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Namaste: Fat Bitch, bad bitch?

In a nutshell, yes.

This idea is at the foundation of this blog. I just haven't put it in your face yet. Coming soon.....

But for now know this:

I'm fat and I'm bad.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rule for Women

If you are in an abusive or any other kind of unhealthy relationship and your friend calls you stupid, claims that they will de-friend, or does not support you in the healthy ways that you need to be supported...

Hang up the phone, walk away, put them out. They are not your friend.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A list of things I'm missing

1. Removing myself from twitter. And twitter from myself.
2. Writing
3. Riding a bike
4. Writing
5. Removing the excess
6. Writing
7. Unlearning
8. Writing.
9. Being gentle with myself.
10. Writing
11. Reading
12. Writing
13.Meditating
14. Writing
15. Staying in contact with people I love and thus need
16. Writing
17. Being honest (sans this list)
18. Writing
19. Being patient
20. Writing

Friday, February 17, 2012

What I wish Too $hort would have said

Earlier this week, XXL Magazine's online magazine published a video featuring rapper Too $hort giving advice to young men on how to "turn girls out" and manipulate them mentally. In a nutshell, he encouraged them aggressively pin girls that they are interested in on a wall, go under their clothing, and rub their vaginas.

In case you are unsure... The scene I just described IS sexual assault. I'll give you a minute to take that in because I need a minute myself..... [breathes and sends out a quick prayer]

There are so many things I could get into right now. I could discuss the problematic nature of "$hort mode" which he claims (in his apology) to have been in when he gave out this "advice." (How can you be comfortable in any mode that promotes the disrespect of our girls?) I could discuss the racial politics and symbolism behind the fact that the magazine, which targets Black youth and hip hop culture, has a white female Editor In Chief. (I can't help but wonder how the public would react if she, or white middle school girl, were treated in this way.) I could even, and I probably will at a later time, explore the reasons that Black men feel the need to "mentally manipulate" women in the first place.

But instead what I want to focus on is the very real shit that is happening to Black girls everywhere, all the time.  Our bodies have never been our own. I'm going to say this again so you can really hear and feel me:

OUR BODIES HAVE NEVER BEEN OUR OWN


And this is supported by ideas like $hort's, that suggests that all women will submit if men can just reach their pussies. It doesn't matter how they get there--force, coercion, manipulation, and aggression are all fair game--just as long as they do. And we will support them in their efforts. Only 1 out of 16 rapists will serve a day in jail for their crime. And before he does, we have to prove her innocent first. (What were you wearing? Did you look at him a certain way? Wasn't he your boyfriend? Why did you invite him over? Why did you kiss him? Why didn't you scream? Why didn't you run?)

We have a responsibility to teach our sons and brothers and fathers and homeboys and nephews and boyfriends and husbands NOT to rape. We have to teach that women's bodies are NOT theirs for the taking. And I am going to give you an example of exactly what happens when we do not:

When we do not teach our men and boys that "no" means NO, even if we've suggested yes before, we raise men (like the one who sexually assaulted me a few years ago) who learn how to tune out words like "stop, leave, get out, and no" simply because earlier, a woman flirted with them. And instead of retreating when sex is not the goal, they try harder to accomplish submission.

And when we do not teach our men/boys that this "additional effort" is considered sexual assault, illegal, and a violation of a woman's body and rights, then we raise men (like the one who told all of the neighbors that I was a liar and crazy) who, even though they may participate in sexual assault, disassociate themselves with "rape"; and not solely because they are interested in respecting women, but because they associate rape with jail.

And when we do not teach our men AND women that just because there was no struggle, no screams, no tears, no police reports, no prior reason to suspect that sexual assault actually happened, doesn't mean that it did not occur, then we raise men and women (like the family friend who was asleep in the next room when I was sexually assaulted) who do not believe or support survivors.

When we do not teach these things, we are supporting sexual violence. So hear is what I wish Too $hort would have said:

I wish that Too $hort would have asked young boys to get to know the girls they were interested in and find out if the feeling was mutual. I wish he would have told young boys that if she was not interested, then they should stop pursuing her.

I wish he would have told young boys build some type of relationship with girls who were mutually interested and have a conversation about sex before they attempted anything physical. I REALLY wish he would have told them that if she was not interested in anything sexual, then do press the issue any further with her.

I wish that Too $hort would have told young boys, especially, Black boys, to be brave enough to be themselves and trust that it's enough to earn love and respect.

I wish Too $hort would have told young boys to respect women and their bodies. I wish he would have told them that they do not have rights to women's bodies or sex from women.

But he was in "$hort mode", so he couldn't. As much as I love "Shake That Monkey", I can't get down with that shit....

Monday, February 13, 2012

On Nicki Minaj... Again

My relationship with Nicki Minaj has been rocky. Like Chris Brown & Rihanna rocky. I loved her, then I hated her, then I tried to go back, that didn't work out, so now we're off again. But last night after her Grammy performance I had a deep convo with a couple of my homegirls and I feel the need to break some shit down about "the Mistress".

After the performance, as I tweeted in disgust my homegirls were declaring that Nicki Minaj is "still a black girl" and is "breaking down and creating dialougue about black girl sexuality, respect, and identity politics in her performance and overall presentation." On the surface, I can rock with that claim. She is definitely not a representation of "traditional sexy" and is willing to LITERALLY (note Roman) be different people. But among those colorful, tall wigs and dresses made of Hello Kitty dolls did we forget that this is the same woman who continuously wraps her fake ass in the tightest neon spandex she can find? Did we forget that she, too, rocks the leotards and swimsuits as "outfits"? Have we not seen an equal amount of cleavage from her as we have from her rapping fore mothers? And I ain't mad at it. I'm just trying to be critical about this "progressive" pedestal she's on.

Lyrically, Nicki Minaj is a BEAST. This chick can rap her ass off! I haven't and never will doubt that fact. Additionally, she's not afraid to be self reflective and encouraging to other women in her rhymes. But on the flip side, she indulges in alot of the same shit that most rappers do: materialism, glorification of a specific body type, and all the other shit we love? about rap music these days. Also, she has a habit of flaunting her newfound wealth and coming down pretty hard on "broke bitches" who "disgust her". I wonder if she's referring to all the poor and working class women who consume her music and do indeed have to look at the price tag first.

As an artist, her "image" is of importance. And while her stunts and antics definitely do not fit inside black girls' traditional boxes, there is still nothing original about her. One of my homegirls said that people are mad because Nicki Minaj is on some "Lady Gaga shit" and that we loved her when she was on "that Lil Kim shit". And then of course there was the all too famous line "Why we mad because she gettin money?" I have several points about this because it nicely sums up alot of the key dialogue around Nicki Minaj and female entertainers in general.

1.) One of Nicki's breakthroughs was when she paid homage to Lil' Kim with her "Lollipop picture", but during the remainder of her time as an underground artist (think Gucci Mane's "Slumber Party" or "Failure", she's featured on both), very little of her persona mimicked Lil Kim. It was actually just a little before "5 Star Bitch" and other more commercial hits were released that we began to witness her hair color change and she started repping for the Barbies (a saying also used by Kim first). Prior to that, she was simply a chick from  Queens via Trinidad, and referred to herself as the Mistress. The point here is that Nicki Minaj could have still "made money" riding the Lil' Kim train. America loves a sleeze (no shade), especially one of color.

2.)  As an artist, fans are duped when you rip off another artist's swag. So, as an artist, moving from Lil' Kim's swag to Lady Gaga's swag was not a step forward for Nicki Minaj. Why? Because she's not Lil Kim OR Lady Gaga. So the important question becomes... Why are Gaga knock offs prioritized and more accepted than Lil Kim knock offs? A Black girl mimicking a white girl rebel doesn't get a pass just because she's a Black girl doing it. It seems to me that we are still afraid of Lil' Kim, her sexuality, and what that type of "bad exposure" means for Black women. Yes, we need to be critical about representations of Black women as hoes and sluts, but if one of our goals is to validate women who do indeed like to "hoe around" (respectfully of course), why are we so pleased that Nicki has "taken a different route"? P.S.- Have ya'll listened to Gaga's lyrics? I'm a fan and I have. She got some freak in her, too.
And while we're on the topic of sexual politics, how many of you remember the Nicki Minaj that was openly bisexual? No? Probably because she didn't stick around long. As she grew in popularity, she denied that she slept with women, then, when challenged on the denial, she suggested that all of us common folk were just too shallow to understand what she ever meant anyway. And now we all her love her apparently heterosexual self. Go Nicki.

3.)"Why are we mad that Nicki Minaj getting money?" Well, why are we mad that Nike makes money by exploiting women in third world countries for cheap labor? Why are we mad that Walmart is making money by mistreating their employees? Why are we mad that white music exec are making money off of Black rappers and leaving them broke when the contracts are up? Why are we mad that slavemasters were making money off the slaves? Making money is not the end all, be all. If the shit ain't right, it ain't right. We still have to hold people accountable for their actions. Period.

I can respect that Nicki Minaj is willing to take risks, be criticized, defy the politics of respectability (kind of), and make sucky pseudo pop music then call it rap expand the hip hop genre to different groups in order to set herself apart in the game. And yes, she definitely creates conversation (hence this long ass post). But as a consumer, what I thought I was getting was a female rapper. Not a pop singer with no vocal ability and a completely unoriginal gimmick. Plus pseudo pop has never suited me. And don't get me wrong, her image as "the Mistress" was problematic as well (Black women can not, under ANY circumstances, be separated from their pussy, right?), but I felt like I was seeing a real, talented rapstress.

I think the rap game needs a Black woman who speaks truth to power and is simply herself, creatively. But I don't think the industry, or it's consumers who are equally compelled to be anything but themselves, are ready for that. And they probably won't be for a real long time.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

List yourself... (Book Recommendation)

I found this really great book in the bargain section at Barne's & Noble called List Your Self: Listmaking as the Way to Self-Discovery by Ilene Segalove (what a cool ass last name. I love Sega too! I still have one!) and Paul Bob Velick. As the title suggests, the book is full of lists that require you to be honest, critical, and do some serious reflecting. 

Example (this is one of my lists):

List all those risks you'd like to take but are afraid to
-Moving out of the country
-Big Chop
-Wearing high waist jeans and a midriff top
-Going to a treatment facility

It was really hard to put those things on paper and make them permanent. But reading them, none of them seem as risky as before. I would suggest everyone do some these lists. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I am from...

I did this exercise at a YP4 training in October. I thought it was a excellent opportunity to be reflective, honest, and creative. I want to share my responses with you and encourage you to complete one yourself. Most of my responses are homage to Chicago and the women that have been instrumental in my life.

You answer each prompt with "I am from..." (Feel free to add your own prompts as well.)

Familiar sights, sounds, and smells from your home or neighborhood growing up.
I am from...
forks, fives, ad frustrated parents... From rumbling trains and activated bullets. 
I am from "the lake" and a descendant of the most beautiful skyline. I am from the bleeding heart of America.

Familiar foods, especially those associated with family gatherings or special occasions.
I am from...
the sweetest things, sugary and tempting... with the secretive promise of pleasure and the subtlest hint of lust.
I am from mild sauce as the perfect accessory.

Familiar sayings heard repeatedly as you were growing up.
I am from...
irresponsibility, giiiirls, let em tell you's, what you doin?'s. tea pouring, and aw... ok.
I am from... before I tell you, where yo bawse at?

Familiar experiences that have challenged or shaped your identity.
I am from...
resistance. Necessary lies. Stifled cries. 
I'm from self hate and self love in infancy.
I am from resilience manifested.
I am from silece speaking louder than words and me speaking louder than them.

Familiar people - family members, friends, ancestors, important people from your past.
I am from...
best friends, baby mamas, master teachers, other mothers,
partners in bliss, motivators, challengers,
and guardian angels.


Thanks for listening. FYI: YP4 is an amazing organization that helps young leaders develop their progressive campaigns and activism. Check them out and nominate yourself (or someone else) for their fellowship program here!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why Can't We Trust Women?

Apparently people (read men and other people who are influenced by patriarchy) are upset about Vanessa Bryant being the recipient of $75 million after her divorce with Kobe finalizes. I’ve heard people say that she has “hit the lottery”, that she “got his ass”, etc. as if she plotted against him in the pursuit of a fortune. One of my twitter followers even went so far as to say “Vanessa Bryant, MJ & Tigers ex wives, symbolize everything wrong with our society & judicial system. I’m seriously upset”

Not only does this rhetoric demonize women, it also undermines the principles of marriage. Which in my opinion, are embarking on a life journey together, sharing lives, loving one another, etc. And in the event that the marriage ends, you split the life you had together (unless you signed a prenuptial agreement, which is another conversation in itself), and go your separate ways. One person’s success within a marriage should not alter this process. Nor does it make one party, who was not as successful, a villain or user.

When we subscribe to this rhetoric, we do not acknowledge the years that Vanessa and other women put into their marriages. Supporting and loving him during times of infidelity, raising their children, time away from home and abroad, rape accusations, scandal, etc. are worth noting. She did not just sit on her ass and ignore Kobe while he made millions. And now, she no longer wants to be married to a cheater, so she left. And she deserves the money she is about to receive, because Kobe Bryant made money for his family, which she was once a part of.

If I can dig into the root of the issue, I think that we, as a patriarchal society, do not like to see women self empowered, regardless of circumstance. Vanessa Bryant had access to the entire $150 million when she was married to Kobe, and we did not consider her a gold digger or some plotting leech then. In fact, when Kobe was cheating on her, we thought she was the pinnacle of a “down ass bitch”. But now that she is an independent agent, with access to only half of that, she is somehow wrong. Kobe Bryant will STILL be a millionaire when this divorce is over, and will have the opportunity to make even MORE money. He was cheating on his wife for the majority of their 10 years (which is longer than I would have put up with that bullshit). He is NOT a victim.

Let us please get our panties out of this bunch. There are much bigger fish to fry, especially in our “judicial system”, than a rich man who is paying his dues in a divorce settlement.