Pop Culture The Word 4 minute read

Mariah Carey’s Black Card — Membership Approved


Look, I know the Black Card Commission just finalized the books for 2016, following a tough and long year (the last-minute suspension of Kanye West and Jim Brown; the hung jury on Cam Newton, the permanent expulsion of Azalea Banks); but we need to have an emergency meeting.  Some of ya’ll have been as slow as your cousin paying you back after getting his tax refund check in giving Mariah Carey her Black card.

Now, I know that at first glance, Mariah’s looks don’t scream “Sista”; but we all know that the beauty of us is that we come in all hues, eye colors or curl patterns.  There is not one definition of our look.

I also realize that when she dropped “Vision of Love” in 1990 she didn’t actually advertise that she was indeed amongst the “melanated”; but it seems that by 1995, hits with Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Boys to Men made her realize that in the entertainment business (unlike most businesses in America) being Black ain’t whack.  So, she had her coming out, her Black Cotillion of sorts on Oprah (what better place to have it).  Her momma announced the Mariah’s daddy was indeed a brotha (like we didn’t already know that there was some Black somewhere in her DNA wit dem pipes!).

At that moment, she became biologically ours; but I realize that many of you have still held out on laminating her Black Card.  It’s time, my sistas and brothas.  Mariah’s behavior at and after the fiasco at Dick Clark’s New Year Rockin’ Eve has proven that she is indeed a bona fide, sassy-Sista.

Let’s analyze the tape—shall we?

First — Mariah is EXTRA

Mariah makes her entrance wearing a sequined leotard with a feather robe/moo moo surrounded by a halo of white peacock feathers held by her all-male dancers.  Now you know that is some sista-diva ish.  Our folks find ways to be different, to make an entrance.  White people use feathers to stuff pillows, we use them to accessorize: our shoes, clothes, hair and our eyelashes.  Be honest, you know if you saw one of your girlfriends with some feather tips on her nails or some feathers weaved intricately throughout a hairstyle, you wouldn’t be shocked.

Second — Mariah put the issue on Front Street

Within 5 seconds of starting her performance, Mariah tells the crowd that she and her dancers can’t hear the music.  She lets eeeeerbody know that there is an issue and it ain’t hers.

Third  – “The Pose”

She then places her hand on her hip and stands there.

This is classic, Black woman sign language for “get your shit together.”

Fourth — She touts her accomplishments mid-fiasco

As the show is essentially falling apart, she reminds folks that the song is indeed the fi-ah. “It went to #1.”  Basically letting everyone know that while she can’t perform the song well that night, it’s a bomb-ass song.  In other words—“Don’t get it twisted, Boo.”

Fifth – “It is What it Is”

There is a clear point where you can tell Mariah isn’t mad, isn’t bothered; but just accepts that the situation is whack —it is what it is.

Sixth — She leaves. Bye Felicia

Eventually, whether it be a job, a man or a friendship, when things go bad long enough, Black women will throw up their hands and say, “Fuck this shit” and walk out.

Seventh — The Next Day, she’s unbothered

Mariah brushed her shoulders off and calmly responded to people’s hysterics about the performance, “Shit happens.”

Eighth “She done spilt the tea”

A Black woman will try to be cool until you push her.  At that point, she’s got to go rogue on your ass.  We know this. Had ABC had a knowledgeable Black person on their PR team, they would’ve advised the team to chill and let the fiasco end with Mariah’s neutral comment of “shit happens”.  Instead, they came back swinging, which has caused Mariah to spill all the tea on their production raggedy-assness.

Could Mariah have handled things more professionally?  Absolutely.  And oftentimes, we Sistas do just that.  But sometimes, we just ain’t feelin’ the BS.  Mariah, in all of her sisterdom wasn’t havin’ it on New Year’s Eve and ya’ll know that is some true Sister-ISH right there.


My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more


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