If I know anything in this world it’s that Niecy Nash is one of the baaadest Black women on the planet.
She’s a versatile actress who can give you comedy with the best of them like she did on Reno 911 and can flex her dramatic chops and bring you to tears like she did in Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us. If you want both, she can do that too. Just watch any episode of TNT’s Claws.
Nash is beautiful, relatable AF and has one of the most snatched waists I’ve seen in Hollywood. She is the most coveted prize, a gift and a beautiful Black woman who is worthy of happiness, joy, and fidelity.
So imagine my surprise, when I read an article on xenecole.com that during the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon the three-time Emmy nominee bravely admitted that when she divorced her second husband that her family told her she better hold on to him at all costs. Why? Because despite everything Nash has going for her, she wasn’t anything without that “good man.”
“When I owned we were better friends than life partners, my family was quick to say, ‘But you all look so good together.’ And, ‘Well, if the man ain’t beating you, what you leaving for?’ The one that made me laugh the most was an ode to him being attractive. [They said,] ‘Well, you never had to put a sack on his head to sleep with him.’”
“And I replied, ‘What about my happiness?’ The untethering from my family’s beliefs, the internet’s expectations and my marriage ending caused me so much pain. Pain is putting things in a necessary order. You’ve got to acknowledge how you feel. Trust that it is so much easier to walk in your shoes than it is run towards a lie.”
She went on to say that her making the choice for herself to walk away was also about breaking the generational curse that so many Black women are under.
“There was a huge myth I inherited from the women in my family which is, ‘You are nothing without a man. Get one and keep one no matter what.’ This long line of women that I come from had never been taught what choosing yourself looks like.”
In the end, she told the crowd that by choosing herself and living in her truth, she is better for it and is setting a strong example for her daughter.
“You’ve got to own the part you play. I encourage you to walk in your truth, live your trauma and live your best damn life. I am the most grateful because I now know myself much better than before. I let my daughters watch me walk through the whole thing. Because I want them to get up every single day and choose themselves. I realize I did right when my daughter said to me, ‘I am so proud of you, and I want to be just like you when I grow up.’ [My] generational curse is broken!”
Listen…I’m not going to lie, reading her words gave me chills, because we can all relate. This isn’t just about Niecy.
While, I’m lucky that my parents don’t necessarily subscribe to this idea that because I’m single, I am less than, that doesn’t mean others around me haven’t. I think to all the cookouts, family gatherings and just even conversations with other Black women, especially older ones, where my accomplishments—award-winning journalist and filmmaker, Ivy League Master’s Degree and overall happiness—doesn’t really matter because I am unmarried and God forbid, childless. Even worse, I have been made horrible about myself because I am ambitious, don’t believe in being submissive to a man (I prefer a true partnership where we both lead side by side) and am an independent person that I chase away “good Black kings.”
I want to choose a life where I’m an equal and if I don’t have that, I can’t be happy. So I choose me.
But I also think of sistas in my life who have spent years listening to folks tell them that they have to do anything and to accept anything to keep that man in their life. The years of exhaustion and unhappiness of being a ride or die, to sticking it out, to being disrespected and having to turn a blind eye. It can’t be worth all that, can it?
Be clear: This isn’t to say that love and companionship don’t matter because it does. We’re human. We need love, touch, conversation, intimacy and sex in our lives. We just do. But why is it that when it comes to Black women, we’re told to not have standards, to stick it out to make him a better man or to not have the power to make the best choices for ourselves?
Just look at how bad Ciara’s name had been dragged in the mud for refusing to accept the mess that her ex-fiance Future put her through. She chose herself and her child and look at the divine love that choice brought into her life down the road. But there are still people out there mad at her, for doing what they hate to see: A free Black woman.
That’s what this is about, being free. Free to love who we want; refuse what and who we want; and reject these tired old sexist ideas that because we’re Black women, we are nothing without a man. Niecy showed us that it’s time to break free from those chains. Hopefully, more of us are paying attention.
Niecy, You’re Absolutely Right. It’s Time We Stop Believing Our Worth Is Wrapped Up In A Man was originally published on hellobeautiful.com