Toxicity vs. Vulnerability: Which One Was It?

Well, Twitter was an interesting place to be the other day….lol.

Social media as a whole has been….difficult to say the least lately. These days, I am more or less trying to stay current, even though most of the news I’m seeing is either numbing, disappointing or basically bringing me to tears. Just the other day, I saw that J. Cole (who is one of my favorite artists) dropped a single last night called “Snow in the Bluff”. I went and listened to the song and thought, “ok, sounds pretty good,” but that was just my first listen, and I knew I would be going back to listen again (I typically listen to a song about three times before I make a decision unless it’s just that good on the first round). After I gave it a few listens, I saw on Twitter what appeared to be a war on the lyrics of the song in general (one particular part I will share below), and criticism about the song and its context. Basically, people were PISSEDT. Here are the lyrics in question that have sparked debate:

I did some digging on Twitter and found out that a tweet was made by @noname and deleted, but i managed to find an image that quoted what she said:

So, with J.Cole dropping his single, it was clear that the message within it was directed at her and her comments. Also, J. Cole posted the following statement on his Twitter:

Well, Twitter went ablaze with their opinions on how he conveyed his point, the timing of him releasing the single, and even going as far as to state he was spreading the all too common “toxic masculinity” and even called him a misogynistic piece of shit. I saw one side hating J. Cole and bashing him for “not reading” (which was not what he said), and the other side went to praising him for his words and opinion.

Some people feel like Cole didn’t read the room; I disagree. Some feel that Cole made himself look like an idiot; I consider it him being honest and vulnerable. I think what he was really trying to say went over a lot of peoples heads, and when a man is honest enough to own up to where he falls short, and states that maybe instead of bashing people who don’t know, how about share the wealth of knowledge? Or at least tell him to Google something….instead of saying whatever he’s doing isn’t enough. This may be an unpopular opinion amongst most, but I have to side with the song making sense.

A celebrity putting a tweet on Twitter in response to the Black Lives Matter movement rings hollow to me. I feel like the saying “actions speak louder than words” was a little lost in her comment. A celebrity is another human being just like anyone else, and they have the right to either respond or not respond to something happening. Just like we allow people to process their feelings, we should allow celebrities the same courtesy. I understand that they are in a position and have a platform to elevate the issues at hand; however, I’d much rather see images of them out there actually doing the work, which is what I’ve seen from J. Cole. I don’t care if he tweets about the movement, because he’s in the movement. And even if he wasn’t, is a persons level of concern or involvement measured by their frequency of them posting about it on social media?

The way I interpret the lyrics is that Cole is saying that just because this young woman is far more versed in the area of the times we are currently in, doesn’t mean she needs to use her platform to criticize others and celebrities who are not. Everyone has something to learn, and I think this is a time to spread knowledge amongst each other, and not criticize for what someone doesn’t know. And I get it, no one is here to be a grown persons teacher, but sharing information does not mean you have to spoon-feed it to him either. Now, should Cole be reading more? Absolutely. Should it be Noname’s job to “teach” Cole? Absolutely not. But I don’t think Cole’s intent was to tell Noname to give him the answers; my comprehension of it was to remember that not everyone is on the same level as another person in the journey and to remember we’re all learning, and if we have something to contribute to another, let’s do that instead of tearing someone down for what they haven’t yet learned or achieved.

The world is moving at lightening speed right now. There is so much knowledge, so many books, articles, think pieces, movies, documentaries, and things happening by the minute in this country, that a lot of times it’s hard to catch up. Instead of people putting down other people who may not have done the reading, or may not have the most current information on hand to discuss or debate with, why not take the time to educate, share resources and have conversations about where the gaps are? Instead of telling someone they are not doing enough, isn’t this the time to empower one another and make sure we all have the knowledge to become a united front against this?

I’m also not saying that it is a Black womans responsibility to educate a Black man and vice versa; but what I am saying is that I don’t think that prohibits someone from having an opinion on something. Some of the things happening you can ascertain an opinion just from what you see or what is heard on the news. That doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong. People form opinions about things in which they have not done the research on every day. But it’s not up to us to tear people down about their opinion; if the person is open enough, hopefully it sparks a conversation where they can be further enlightened. Thoughts and perspectives can change everyday, but this culture that we are in will “cancel” you if you have the slightest indifference, instead of allowing a person to change their perspective and overall viewpoint of someone.

It is just like the movement as a whole. I’ve seen so many people cancelled for their opinions, because they are not up to the standards of whatever majority we are working with at the time (which I apologize, but it is bull). I believe that true unity comes from a little grace and understanding. Not everyone was this radical 5, 10 or even 15 years ago. Black Lives Matter may not hit everyone the same at the same time; and it is no one’s fault on how these things are processed. What I do believe is that in 2020, you cannot be vulnerable enough to share with the world that you are not as knowledgeable on things as you would want to be, or may not have done as much reading as another person has because the ultimate consequence is to be judged harshly by your peers. But, if we’re all supposed to be sticking together, shouldn’t we be holding one another accountable, but ALSO equipping another with knowledge? If I hold the key to a solution, and my fellow brother or sister is in need, do I criticize them for not having it, or do I spread the knowledge that I have because there is POWER IN NUMBERS.

There is no harm in leading a horse to water; it is still up to them to drink.

Well, that’s really all I have to say about that….✌🏾