It was the slap heard around the entertainment world, and while there are a lot of things in play here that I’m not going to discuss, one angle of the event made me think.
So for the record, know 2 things:
- I am a singular individual expressing one opinion that stemmed from–but is not about–this singular event that in and of itself was taken out of context.
- I am looking from 1 viewpoint only–The defense of Black women (especially in romance).
I was not watching the Oscars and hadn’t even thought about it when the slap was broadcasted. When Twitter blew up. I just went to bed. Then, the next day I saw the clip of Will Smith and Chris Rock.
Romance novels and beta heroes
What played out on screen at the Oscars could have been a scene from the first novel in a series I’m writing. I didn’t even think about this at the time, but then I saw this tweet:
When I read it, I thought, I’ve actually just written this romance novel. Well, except the woman is Black and not an actress. And I loved that scene in the book. In fact, I laugh every time I tell someone, my MMC will punch someone out in EVERY book of this series so far. And he does it every time to defend his woman.
It’s not because she’s not capable of defending herself–in fact, she’s been defending herself for decades. But part of the reason why I wanted this damsel-in-distress type scene is because in real life, Black women so rarely have someone to rescue them … except other Black women.
Wanting to feel valued, needed, and as someone who should be protected, I imagine, is everyone’s wish–no matter how that manifests. But for Black women, so many of us have to fight our own battles, suffer others’ ridicule, and then are expected to save the world. No. That needs to stop. I for one am over it. For centuries, white women have been protected, coddled shielded from all the ills of society, while at the same time orchestrating what happens to it. So it’s no wonder why I saw several white women “embarrassed” and “disgusted” by what Will did. It’s because they’re just getting out from under that protective shell, and they like the view from out here. Especially when “out here” for white women means never having to feel the flames of backlash for their actions. You’re not vilified or labeled too aggressive for speaking your mind or standing up for yourself. And you haven’t been truly left alone when you’ve done so. Must be nice.
There was a lot wrong with the actual incident that sparked this conversation, and it’s been discussed ad nauseum. I don’t care to discuss that. That’s between those people.
My point here is the defense of Black women should be normalized in romance. We are not superwomen holding up the world. We’re humans that want someone standing up for us, too.