“Black Girl Stuff” is back after a two-week hiatus! In this week’s episode, hosts Akilah Ffriend, Brii Renee, Demetria Obilor, Tori Brixx and resident correspondent Kennedy Rue talked body dysmorphia and social media’s role in it, code-switching, gatekeeping Black slang, and more. As far as interviews, Tyler James Williams, Kenan Thompson, and Tyler Perry made appearances. Ja Rule also took some time to chat about Murder Inc., the record label’s recent docuseries, and Ashanti vs. Irv Gotti. And of course, there were the BG Bosses of the Week. We know you’ve missed the show, so sit down, relax, and get into this recap.
As always, you can catch “Black Girl Stuff” every Tuesday on REVOLT at 9 p.m. ET as well as every Wednesday on our website, YouTube channel, and app. Watch the latest episode here.
1. A Case of Body Dysmorphia
Mayo Clinic defines body dysmorphia as “a mental illness involving an obsession, focus on a perceived flaw in appearance. The flaw may be minor or even imagined. The person may spend hours a day trying to fix it. And the person may try many cosmetic procedures or exercise to excessiveness.” In today’s segment of “In The Comments,” the girls discuss social media and whether it contributes to the phenomenon. Obilor said, “I don’t think it’s the only thing that can cause body dysmorphia, but I think it legitimately compounds it — and even Facebook and Instagram know this. Just last year, it was The Wall Street Journal that unveiled a study, an internal study done by Facebook, about how social media is negatively impacting its users. Talking about how one out of every five teens felt worse after being on social media.” The ladies discussed the new era of social media, the constant comparison game that comes along with it, the emphasis it places on women’s bodies and how it makes the illness worse.
2. Pimp Decisions
One Twitter user (@fkalexbelike) recently posted, “Forgot to code switch in a meeting on Thursday and said, ‘Spin the block.’ My face immediately got hot from embarrassment, but they ate it TF up. Now they keep using it in the wrong context. I failed to gatekeep. I’m sorry to my community.” She went on to recall instances when her co-workers used the phrase in the wrong context, for example: “The coffee went cold and a new batch needed to be made, so someone excitedly announced that they spun the block on a new batch of coffee if anyone was interested.”
Now, even though the thread was made in good fun, she does bring up a good point. Are some things in Black culture worth gatekeeping? Renee said, “I feel like we definitely have to gatekeep some of our swag, our sauce. Like, you can’t be giving it to everybody because, again, they don’t even know what to do with it. They’re using it wrong.” Another Twitter user (@Reaux_FDS) shared, “I once told an exec it was time to make some ‘pimp decisions,’ so sis this is light work.” Obilor posed the question, “Is code-switching necessary to protect Black vernacular?” and the girls overwhelming agreed yet still acknowledged the consequences of doing so.
3. The Kennedy Chronicles
Kennedy Rue sat down with Kenan Thompson to celebrate his run as the longest-running cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” One of the highlights of their conversation was Thompson sharing how he’s always refused to play Black women on the show so that “SNL” would hire more Black women. In the series’ 44-year run, there have only been seven Black women on the series. When asked if “SNL” has made enough progress since his stance over a decade ago, Thompson responded, “Probably not. I did it personally because I felt like I might have been in the way of actual Black women’s opportunities to join the show because it was such an easy laugh or a laugh you can count on time and time again.”
Next, Rue sat down with Tyler James Williams to discuss the approach he took for his “Abbott Elementary” role while representing Black men in education. Williams said, “The script was really good. Quinta had a great idea and thought that the show was going to be successful, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs me. And when I heard that, part of my mission statement — if I had to have one as a creative — was to give creativity to the average Black male voice. And to hear that it was so unrepresented, to me, that’s just a group of people we forgot about … I hope that, that two percent feels super seen.”
Lastly, Rue sat down with Tyler Perry to talk about his latest film, A Jazzman’s Blues. It’s far from your typical Tyler Perry movie, being set in the Jim Crow era and dealing with some of that time period’s most rampant issues. When asked how he felt about the lack of progress since then, Perry said, “It’s shocking to me, and that’s part of the reason I wanted to do it. Watching certain political figures warn to hegemonize the history of Black people in this country or make it palatable for young white kids to learn rather than telling it in the brutality of what it is … I’m also shocked to see young Black kids say, ‘Oh, we don’t want to talk about that. Where’s the Black joy?’ What do you mean? We’ve got to realize, recognize the knowledge, the history of the people who paved the way so that we can love and be free.”
4. Rule 3:36
The rap legend with over two decades in the game, the man who shifted the genres of hip hop and R&B in a major way, the one and only Ja Rule joined the girls to talk a bit about the recent Murder Inc. docuseries, Irv Gotti and Ashanti, and plenty more. Ja co-executive produced the project and when asked about his quote, “One day you can be on top of the world and the next day, the world can be on top of you” and what it meant, Ja said, “Music is subjective. You don’t have to like Ja Rule. You don’t have to like whoever. So, it was like a big culture shock to me. Even my success was the same thing. It was like one day, I was just a kid from Hollis, Queens in the hood and a week later, I was a huge star.” “The Murder Inc. Story” is critically acclaimed as one of the best hip hop docuseries to come out in years.
5. The Woman King and a New Ariel
Viola Davis is the star of the new blockbuster film, The Woman King, and one of this week’s BG Bosses of the Week. Her list of accomplishments is long, and she’s very decorated as she’s won Emmy, Tony, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards, plus plenty more. Her dedication to telling Black stories and making sure Black voices are heard is why she’s one of this week’s BG Bosses!
If you haven’t heard of Halle Bailey yet, that’s certainly about to change. She just finished shooting Disney’s The Little Mermaid and went viral for her upcoming role in the live-action remake as Ariel, who was formerly portrayed as white. But don’t get it confused — she’s been on the scene for a while now. The young superstar started off on YouTube, making singing videos with her fabulous sister, Chloe Bailey. The two are currently signed to Beyoncé’s management company, so it’s clear they’re receiving guidance from the very best. We’re wishing tons of success to Disney’s Black mermaid princess.