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The Angry Black Woman Stereotype in Solange’s song “Mad”

¬†Some people are oblivious to what goes on in the world. Some people know what is going on but choose to ignore. Some people want to sweep issues under the rug so bad, that some of those same people actually ask you “Why are you so mad?” The misguided “angry Black woman” trope has been around for years, yet some people still wonder what exactly we all are mad about. Which is why it’s great that Solange shed some wisdom on this topic with her illustrious and influential lyrics in her song “Mad” on her album A Seat at the Table.¬†
“I got a lot to be mad about,” sings Solange. And she is right. The 2016 presidential election is a prime example of something to be mad about. The fact that women are still paid less for doing the same job as men is something to be mad about. How about in some countries it is still legal to batter your wife? Michelle Obama had to begin “Let Girls Learn”, which is a program she created to help adolescent girls gain an education to increase their value in society. How about all the daughters who won’t grow up with a father who could demonstrate how she should be loved? How about the list of ways to protect ourselves that we are always reminded of before we walk out the door? A list that includes where not to park, what not to wear so we don’t receive any unwanted attention, different weapons (pepper spray, mace), and places we shouldn’t go. That list is told to us in a way that would not be told to a man. What about slut shaming and other forms of gender based violence? What about all the stereotypes about women? For example, “we are too emotional to make certain decisions.” How about the fact that we are constantly judged by what we wear?
And don’t get me started on what Black women have to endure. Black women are often depicted to be “that ghetto baby mama” or “a hood chick with an attitude” in pop culture. We see it so often as if that is a perfect representation of all black women. There is a ban in the south on dread locks in the office!! More than a quarter of black women live in poverty. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Black people constitute almost 72% of the 1.5 million people incarcerated. How about the fact that we are losing our husbands to incarcerations which may result in us losing our sons? How about the fact that we actually have to remind people that our lives matter? According to a recent CDC report, black women are the most prone to HIV and STD infection. Black women receive the lowest income and are usually burdened with child care. Some people treat our hair as if we have an alien sitting on top of our heads and repeatedly ask to touch it. When we speak proper English then we “talk white”. And the big one, how about the fact that many Black women feel as if they are not meant to be successful in this world today. Imagine constantly feeling as if society has chains on your life, leaving you wondering if you will ever reach your full potential? Women face more scrutiny, and endure more restriction to certain things in society, and don’t ask me to continue to talk about what Black women go through.
“But I’m not really allowed to be mad,” sings Solange. Are we supposed to simply slap band-aids on these wounds. We’re tired of society scarring us. I only named a few, but the list of problems women go through is elaborate. Sometimes we may forget these issues, but they are very much prevalent. So if you have ever been made to feel as if you don’t have anything to be mad about, this is me reminding you that you have reasons to feel the way you do. This is also me reminding you that things only get better with change. Are you going to be apart of that change, or are you simply going to continue to be mad?

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