Celebrities

DL Hughley Responds to the Angry Black Women Who Were Offended by His Remarks

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Comedian DL Hughley has found himself living a nightmare after putting his foot in his mouth with his recent comments about black women.  In an NPR interview with Michel Martin, Hughley went in on women of color, stating that he’s “never met an angrier group of people.”  Hughley then went on to say that black women seem to be angry all the time and carry an internal need to dominate everything and everyone around them.

Like black women are angry just in general. Angry all the time. My assessment, out of, just in my judgment, you either are in charge or they’re in charge, so there’s no kind of day that you get to rest(ph).

Not a good look for a brother who depends on these very same women to support his career.

Hughley was once part of the “Kings of Comedy” tour with Steve Harvey, another man who has been able to ride the black female demographic to the land of the rich and famous.  Steve’s “Think Like a Man” franchise is easily worth $50 – $100 million dollars, and it’s not because he’s selling books and tickets to Asians.  I’m willing to bet that the next time Harvey searches for a comedian to join him on tour, he won’t be bringing along DL.

I have no idea why DL made these comments, since they can’t be good for business.  Comedians build their careers from feel-good popularity, not by p*ssing off their key demographic.  At the same time, one could criticize the comedian for the kind of gross, blatant generalization that is generated in a society that celebrates one-syllable thinking.

Making matters worse, Hughley went to Twitter to further insult black women: “Funny how ur response 2 bein called angry as 2 gt angry.  That’s like bully showing that he’s nt 1 by threatening to kick ur ass.  If the shoe fits.”

The hole gets deeper and deeper.

Are black women angry?  Some of them are.  There are also angry white men, Asian women, and black men too.  Even if one believes that black women have a greater cultural capacity for anger than other groups of people, it’s tough to get away with such an irresponsible blanket characterization.

Hughley also failed to mention any of the experiences of black women that might serve to justify some of this anger:  they live in a world where they are constantly faced with the duel challenges of racism and sexism;  hip-hop artists regularly refer to them as b*tches, hoes and hoochie mamas; many of them come from broken homes, where abuse runs rampant; the men they are supposed to be marrying are incarcerated and marginalize en masse by the War on Drugs.  It’s not easy to be a black woman in America, and I live this experience through the eyes of my mother, sister and daughters.

In many cases, the anger of a black woman is rooted in the behavior of some black man, possibly starting with the absentee father.  My father abandoned me as a child, but raised a girl and boy who were unfortunate enough to depend on him as their primary (and highly inadequate) provider.  The first thing my estranged sister said to me when describing the experience of growing up with my biological father was “when I was four years old, I realized that he was a bum.”

Yes, my sister was angry, and she had good reason to be.  A lot of black women are made legitimately angry by the bums that we’ve created in our society, some due to the pressure of systemic obstacles designed to destroy the black man in America, and others from the decisions of some black men to engage in the act of perpetual self-destruction.  Either way, we’re all part of the damaged sociological ecosystem that has come to define some parts of the black community.

The one reason that I don’t spend too much time criticizing Tyler Perry movies is because the comedy of Madea opens the door for black women to address the latent pain that might serve as the source of their anger.  We’d be foolish not to admit that there are some behavioral abnormalities exhibited by many of the women in our community and that these problems are inter-generational.  The cycles of addiction and abuse are nothing less than devastating, and this dysfunction often leads to the breakdown of many of our families and relationships.

Those women who fit into the “angry black woman” category might have a legitimate justification for feeling this anger, while at the same time, there is no justification for never addressing it.  Perhaps if DL had presented his analysis in a loving and empathetic way, he might have gotten a more favorable response from his prize demographic.
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  But by being so simple-minded in his reflection, he got the very anger that he was complaining about in the first place.  Black women are tired of being insulted, but some are mature enough to accept the idea of being constructively criticized.

DL really messed up on this one.  I’m curious to see how it ends.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. He is also the creator of the Building Outstanding Men and Boys Family Empowerment Series. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.