The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore featured a segment on Black fatherhood to discuss the cultural shift of the Black family in America. The panel consisted of Charles M. Blow of The New York Times, founder of the Center for Urban Families Joe Jones, Nightly Show correspondent Mike Yard and Common (Lordt, he looks good), all of which who gave the “uh-oh” face once Wilmore asked them if “Black women were bossy?”
Based on their answers, Wilmore pulled out a number of teabags based on how real they kept it. Blow and Yard even had teacups in front of them. The question was a part of Wilmore’s “Keep It 100” segment and was asked based on an examination of the Black family dynamic, which according to statistics, 72 percent of Black children are born into out of wedlock families.
There was also a video of street commentary that included one New Yorker saying, “You just don’t see too many couples together anymore.” Wilmore bounced off that for “Keep It 100” and promptly asked, “We brought up the question of marriage and how a lot of people just aren’t marrying anymore.” And then he hit the panelists with, “Is it because Black women are too bossy?” Oooooooh! Here are the answers:
Jones: “Black women have opinions about everything.” He nervously laughed, and got one teabag.
Yard: “I love Black women! Give me my tea! I’m not getting involved with that!” He got a cool stack of bags.
Somehow Blow got caught up in rating the bossiness of Black women from 1-10. He refused. “I’m not doing that!” He got at least four bags.
For Common, Wilmore definitely wanted the tea and (not-so) subtly grilled his celebrity dating life:
“Which Black women are the bossiest? Professional athlete Black women? [think Serena Williams] Professional singing Black women [think Erykah Badu] Or professional actress Black women [think Taraji P. Henson]? And keep it 100! Which one! Which one!”
He said: “We’re going to have to go with…professional…singing Black women.” Common received a handful of teabags.
So obviously this segment had potential to be a little offensive. But we’ll be lying if we didn’t grin or chuckle a bit while watching these beautiful, successful Black men completely stammer at the confrontation of whether or not Black women should tone down their assertiveness. It appeared that the men wanted to elaborate more, but possibly felt that no matter what they said, even if constructive, it would’ve been ripped apart in analysis. You know Black Twitter would have had a field day. There was a sudden unity amongst them to keep it cute as opposed to real. While The Nightly Show airs on the always irreverent Comedy Central, America’s still not ready to understand the complex relationship of sisterhood and brotherhood within the Black community.
And the question presented a curve in the conversation too. In the beginning, the men who were raised by single Black mothers, like Jones were sympathetic of their loved one’s struggle to play the role of both parents and trying to maintain some stability in the household. By asking if Black women were “bossy,” the mood went from compassion to almost irritation.
The grievances that Black women have with Black men, as cliché as it sounds, is really an experience that only a woman of color could understand. And based on this episode, the same could be said for Black men towards us.
At the end of the episode, Wilmore took one for the team and announced, “I don’t know what our panelists think, but I love Black women!”
We’re sure they do love us. Behaving like a chicken about the question was great for comedic television, yet it would be nice of Black men to deliver and vocalize their love for Black women more regularly and more sincerely, off and on camera. Just sayin’!
What do you think beauties? Sound off in the comments below.