I’m no Keyshia Cole fan. Like any card-carrying member of the Beyhive, I gave up any hope I had for ever enjoying another Keyshia Cole track the moment she threw shade at Beyonce for “Bow Down.” (Not to mention the jabs she took at Destiny Child’s Michelle Williams during Bey’s infamous 2013 Superbowl performance.)
But as a fellow black girl, there are some things that I will always be able to appreciate about Keyshia Cole other than her two-tone weaves and the unique spelling of her name. And one of them is the ability to curse someone out in a way that only black girls can. Especially to anyone who attempts to take us back to the 1950s (the white 1950s, at least, because black women were working their asses off back then as well) by suggesting that pursuing a career is somehow a threat to a successful marriage.
During an interview with V103, interviewer Wanda Smith questioned Cole about her marriage and asked if she really thought she was “wifey material” because she was focused on her career. You can check out the audio here. You can also check out the transcript below.
Wanda: Do you feel like you were wifey material?
Keyshia: You know what? Y’all really f-ckin’ with my sh-t right now. I got some other sh-t going on. What y’all wanna talk about? Tell me now.
Wanda: You were so busy, you had your career popping off and you you were doing your thing. Then you had to phase out and start doing the wifey things, the cooking, taking care of the kids. Were you really ready for that or were you still trying to do your music thing?
Keyshia: So you trying to insinuate that I was one-dimensional?
Wanda: Don’t take it like that, I’m just asking because I know at a time in my life, I had to pull back my career and… like with Monica! Right now, she’s a little quiet and doing her thing.
Keyshia: Listen! Monica I’m sure is doing her thing. This isn’t ain’t no first rodeo for Monica. She’s been through the ringer, this, that and the other. But at the end of the day, we can handle all that! It’s a point of a man taking care of his business. Straight up on that. We good! We handle our sh-t. We do what we do! Period! I don’t know what to tell you about that.
Y0u need only watch 10 minutes of a Love & Hip Hop episode to witness how narratives about relationships within black popular culture can be a bit problematic, to say the least. And the storyline that gets my tits in the tightest twirl is the one that suggests that black women are only good partners when they sacrifice everything, including their careers, for the sake of their relationships. A recent example of this was when Gabrielle Union took responsibility for her partner Dwayne Wade cheating and getting someone else pregnant. As if Dwayne Wade didn’t expect his partner, a sought after actress, to be busy sometimes (just like he is during basketball season).
The sacrificial black woman is not a new trope, it’s just so outlandish. Black women are over-represented among poor people in America. And we never seem to forget that many are already holding down families on their own as single mothers. Like Keyshia said, “We can handle ALL of that!” While it might appeal to the patriarchal sensibilities of men who think that women should be solely responsible for childcare and domestic duties, it simply doesn’t represent the reality and complexities of black women’s lives.
Perhaps my feminist killjoy has taken over and I’m a bit bitter about how bleak my own budget is looking, but black women have bigger fish to fry. We can love, support, and compromise for our partners but our existence is not rooted in being anyone’s “wifey material.” And I am grateful that Keyshia resisted that “one-dimensional” barrier.
Sesali is wondering what the fuck “wifey material” means, anyway?