Today started like any other Monday; a drone trudge towards the office, bones weary of another week and its growing list of tasks. See, after the terrorist attack at The Ariana Grande concert in Manchester earlier this year, I thought it wise to turn off my news notifications on my phone. I’d grown tired of the only news alerts being bombings, stabbings and mass shootings. It wasn’t until Biz Pears liked tweets we’d sent each other last year that I realised something very important was going on. Prince Harry had proposed to Meghan Markle. The announcement of the impending Royal Wedding was just the grease needed to get my cogs into action. The race was on! Thinking of witty yet nuanced hot takes is an art and it was early enough in the morning our American friends weren’t yet awake to wield their more imposing Twitter presence. The field was open for Black British Twitter™ to stake their claim on news that was both heart-warming and brim-full of meme worthy content.
On December 9th 2015, Twitter user @IAmSuperVillain posted a photo of Prince Harry in the audience at an event with his eyes keenly trained on a black woman, the caption reads “When your girl texts you about the salad she made for dinner but you can see Jollof rice in your future.” The tweet was succinct and sharp, capturing the imaginations of those hopeful someone in the Royal Family would spice it up and swirl to their heart’s content and that someone would be Prince Harry. In a 2016 episode of Buzzfeed’s Another Round with Heben & Tracey, Bim Adewunmi was a featured guest when Tracey asked “Do you think there will ever be a time when there’s a royal baby named DuQuan?” To which Bim, in her infinite wisdom and grace mused casually that Prince Harry could very well go on to “marry a British Nigerian called Bisi...” elaborating that despite his past wayward nonsenses many a black British woman, while loath to declare so publicly, did recognise him as a “fine ginger man.” She is prophetic as she goes on to say “I have a feeling…if I were to smile at Prince Harry, he would smile back. That’s the beginning of what could be a very different Royal Family.” And where did Sister Bim lie, please? Her comments reminded me of Super Villain’s meme and for a long time afterwards every time I’d hear news of Prince Harry, I’d remember that picture.
Lo and behold in October 2016, rumours began circulating that the prince was dating Meghan Markle, self-proclaimed biracial woman- you must read her “I’m More Than ‘Other" piece in Elle. Then on November 8th 2016, days after Biz and I had been reminding each other of our shared understanding of Harry’s penchant for melanin, a royal statement was released declaring Meghan Markle as Harry’s girlfriend while simultaneously denouncing the misogynoir she faced in the media. I mean, of course they didn’t call it misogynoir, but they recognised and named “the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls.” It was a moment. We revelled in seeing this Monarch do what we encourage white people to do regularly, speak to your people about racism. It was as exciting as it was complex. I believe it was the worry expressed “about Ms. Markle’s safety” and his deep disappointment “that he has not been able to protect her” that allowed their relationship to continue unimpeded, under the radar for the last year. I think it was a conscious decision to remind all those interfering his mother Princess Diana died because of the unfettered, crazed desperation to know everything about people in the spotlight and this choice, while revisiting a wound, afforded the couple some respite allowing their relationship to grow away from the glare of the media.
In the hours following the announcement tweets shot back and forth across the globe celebrating with unrestrained glee the forthcoming introduction of melanin to the Monarchy. Yes, people of all races added to the banter, Joe.co.uk’s Nooruddean Choudry’s headline read “Successful actress Meghan to wed former solider” and Technically Ron mocked up a Daily Mail website cover story with actual comments as headlines, but this moment in Twitter history belonged to Black Twitter™. Users shared their ideas of what music they’d play, what would be eaten or left over, and how we’d arrive at the wedding, it was a free for all. It was one of those rare moments on twitter when we are all of one accord. Tweeting with the same purpose, to outdo the tweet we just saw- a battle of wits. Another time Twitter was this fun was #AskRachel.
The racists were all but foaming at the mouth, witnessing the outpouring of joy. Right on time like the Taylor Swift number one album she bought, racists dressed as journalists fixed their twitter fingers to issue a reminder, while Meghan Markle might be affianced to the Prince, she is “unsuitable”, her children “won’t be princes or princesses” and my personal favourite by a writer Tatler want us to believe is a real person, Sophia Money-Coutts, “for a lot of British chaps, it is easier to go out with a foreigner than to find a girl from home with the “right” background.”
The Spectator’s article, (which I’m assuming theorises Markle’s suitability because of her status as a divorcee and Harry’s connection to the Church of England, an assumption based on their tweet and one I cannot verify as I won’t pay to consume thinly veiled racist diatribe) forgets the very first thing all children in Year 7 are taught is Henry VIII, Supreme Fuck Head, so desperate for an heir to the throne, he had eight whole wives, establishing the Church of England to do so. Any and all attempts to derail the fun were futile because we’ve long peeped your game. We understand the function of racism is to distract us from doing our work and today our work was having the most fun.
We’re not stupid. We know Harry tarried with stupid back in 2004 when he was photographed wearing a swastika. We were all there when the pictures were released and the world rightly criticised him. We also understand Meghan Markle’s racial ambiguity, and so does she when she writes for Elle “Sorry, world, this is not Lost and I am not one of The Others. I am enough exactly as I am.'” So, to those who thought this a good hill to die on, desperate to dampen the moods of those who saw this as a moment celebration with your luke warm takes, I pity your inability to just let go and join us in our reverie; ignoring the violent, oppression history of the British Monarchy and taking a swim with us in white tears spilled for reverse gentrifying of their beloved Royal Family.
And because God doesn’t sleep, news broke today Katie Hopkins lost her Daily Mail column, a platform she used to spread evil; marking today as something truly special- one for the history books. There’s time to fight white supremacy, and while I can multitask, today I chose to find happiness in this moment. There’s so little to go around.
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