People who work in corporate positions have disciplinary hearings when there’s misconduct in the workplace. When you’re a self employed creative, misconduct on social media is addressed on Twitter. Receipts are produced and Twitter Court convenes to judge the veracity of the evidence and eventually hand down a sentence. After Mimi’s appearance on BKChat LDN’s latest episode, the people of Twitter, curious about the character of the new cast member, delved into Mimi’s Twitter history and uncovered a treasure trove of damning, racist tweets. The racism in her tweets was exclusively for black women. She tweeted repeatedly about black women having “bad hair”, ensuring to use the word in the pejorative sense, as the reason black men preferred women outside their race and other tweets full of hate specifically directed at black women. She issued an apology deleted her twitter history and made her account private. Ah, but this isn’t British Black Twitter’s first time at the rodeo and they had enough evidence to draw up charges.
While the initial tweets were offensive and racist, her behaviour and subsequent apology in the days after the tweets resurfaced further compounded the situation and highlighted that she actually wasn’t as apologetic as she seemed and didn’t understand what she was apologising for. Let me help make it clear for you.
By continually tweeting racist, disparaging remarks about black women, Mimi was perpetuating misogynoir. This is a specific kind of misogyny (hatred towards women) directed specifically towards black women. The term was coined by black feminist Moya Bailey. Misogynoir takes many forms, it can be explicit, like saying to someone “you black bitch” and in Mimi’s case, it can also be implicit and insidious like perpetuating the myth “I’ve actually met black men who don’t want black girls because they don’t want their kids to come out black or with bad hair etc”. There’s a misconception about racism, misogyny and in this case misogynoir that they have to take physical forms to be violent. The truth is, the violence first takes form in the words, in the rhetoric. Her idea that black hair is undesirable and further that it’s black women’s fault is a form of violence. A form of violence she was unafraid of sharing with her thousands of followers because she was directing it to black women. Black men were safe from her vitriol because black manhood is attractive and desirable to her, where black womanhood is “ugly” and to be ridiculed. Despite the age of her tweets, her inability to address black women specifically in her apology when it was us she offended and denigrated further highlighted that she wasn’t ready to truly take responsibility for her actions.
BKChat LDN raced to mitigate any damage the public Twitter Trial might do to their brand. In the case of British Black Twitter VS Mimi GeeGee, the Prosecution had found Mimi guilty and sentenced her to be removed from the show. BKChat bowed to the pressure and took swift action, releasing this statement announcing she would not be appear on any future episodes. Now was time for BKChat LDN’s time in court. British Black Twitter demanded answers in part due to the fact without their support and their social media power, BKChat would not be the force it is growing to become. The prosecution laid out their opening statements, now it was the defence’s turn.
I commend BKChat LDN for addressing the situation. The time and commitment it took to assemble some of the cast, film and edit a response so quickly is not to be taken lightly. When was the last time you saw a popular brand like that apologise so wholeheartedly for the actions of a cast member and dedicate so many resources to starting a discussion? Don’t worry I’ll wait. I heard some interesting ideas that need further discussion in their witty way. The idea that racism and in this case misogynoir is a “mental illness” coming from Ariete (shout out to my Dear Jesus cast member) is a myth that disallows the perpetrator accountability. Racism is a choice. Misogynoir is awilful decision by the ignorant and hateful who deem black people, and in this case black women specifically, inferior. You can unlearn these awful ideas. What I found most uncomfortable was Lucas’ inability and reluctance to call a spade a spade. He spoke with patience and calm about “the person I met” not being “a racist.” While he was not defending her explicitly, across social media I have seen black men and nonblack women defend Mimi, encourage her and it’s galling to be honest. This is how we see the galvanisation of misogynoir. Should Mimi have spoken so recklessly and disparagingly about Black Men, there would be a united front against her similar to that seen when black men are disproportionately targeted by police. But when it’s black women being targeted, the perpetrator is given more leniency and it’s unfair. The trial is ongoing but I am confident BKChat will recover from this blow.
British Black Twitter are unhappy because here we have a “half arabic half european” woman welcomed into a predominantly black space harbouring negative feelings towards black women, who she is happy to mimic, to appropriate with cane rows and gelled baby hairs, when that space could have been filled by an articulate black woman. It’s wonderful that black people are so open and sharing with their spaces, willing to have people from other races in our spaces when traditionally the same courtesy hasn’t been extended to us but this is a lesson learned more care has to be taken to interrogate the character of those we align ourselves with, ensuring they are not perpetrators of the societal ills we fight every day.
Click the heart below.
Jump in the comments and let me know what you think.
This is my last post for a bit. Follow me on Twitter in the meantime.