by Tonya McKenzie
Recently, a friend of mine has repeatedly said to anybody that speaks of BLACK GIRL MAGIC that they need to be corrected. “Black girls are not magical. We are human. We love. We bleed. We hurt. We cry. We are human and we are tired,” she would say in exhaustion. We don’t have wings and we are not bulletproof. This is a very tiring time for us. Every single time we look up, there is something else to cry about, be worried about, somebody else to cry for, somebody else that looks like us to hashtag. 2020 has been down-right exhausting. Now, I am tired of being tired.
As a Black woman, I am in a unique position to sit on the Police Community Engagement Board in my city. I remember recently telling the Captain that I don’t even care what happened and why. I am just tired of seeing Black people dead and a police officer being the cause. That was the most honest thing that I could say. I just want it to cease. I also cohost a podcast with a 20-plus year LA County Sherriff Lieutenant. She, a Black woman, has a very distinct way of helping me grasp a level of understanding for law enforcement, what they do and why things could have happened the way that they did. I ask a lot of questions because I want to understand how and why things are happening to be able to process it in a way that leads me to resolution in my mind and on my heart. Sometimes, she can help me understand. Sometimes, she too is left bewildered. One thing is for sure, perspective matters.
Let’s be clear. Breonna Taylor should not be dead. She should be alive, working, and enjoying the things that bring her love and laughter in life. However, she is gone, and I think that it’s time that we, as women, peel back the onion on the stinky reality of what really took her life.
All of the things that make us as women amazing, also makes us vulnerable to the wrong guy. We are nurturers, providers, and lovers. I have seen it with my myself, my own girlfriends and family members, we love and support the wrong man. We love, support, and give to men that put us in danger, risk our lives, lie to us, and sometimes violate us. They violate our trust, our safety, and our well-being. It is obvious that over the years, Ms. Taylor has loved a man that did not prioritize her safety and wellbeing. Whatever he had going on, he never considered how the woman that he had loving on him would end up. Many times, it’s not even a second thought, simply no consideration. Selfishness, that’s what I would call it. Plain and simple, he was only thinking about himself, what he wanted, and what he wanted to do.
Once I read that article, my heart hurt so much for her. It hit close to home and broke my heart. In my memoir, A Child’s Memories of Cartoons & Murder, I vividly describe at the age of 5 watching my pregnant mother get shot and watching her boyfriend be murdered on a Saturday morning. I would find out later that her boyfriend was into some things in the streets that brought this level of violence into our home. I would also find out that my mother knew about his drugs and weapons lifestyle but never thought that it would come blazing into her home. I was an innocent child. I had nothing to do with any of that. However, when you live that street life and play with fire, you do not get to decide who gets burned and how. So many lives were ruined, so much damage has lasted for decades.
My heart hurt for Breonna, not because of the murder, but for the same reasons that my heart hurt for my mother. What is it about these men that made them feel like their life wasn’t worth more? Why are they loving on men that put them, their family, and their future at risk?
What can we do to uplift our sisters in a way that lets them know that we are not judging them but that we know they deserve better? I want to say the same things to Ms. Taylor that I wanted to say to my mom, “You deserve better! There is a man out there that can love you the way that your whole heart deserves to be loved!” However, I will never be able to say that to either of them because like Breonna, my mother has also been taken away by street life.
Now, many will say that street life did not take Breonna, cops did. Let’s be honest, had she not been with Jamarcus Glover, this would have never happened. When you get some time, read up on the FELONY MURDER RULE. Jamarcus should actually be charged with Breonna’s death. Also knowing that the police did not do everything right, there should be some negligence charges and some firing taking place but at the end of the day, let’s take a look at how this ball got rolling.
This is not an isolated situation. We all have girlfriends, sister, aunties and cousins that are attracted to the bad boys, the drug dealers, the rough necks. It’s human nature to love and want to be loved. My mother, before she passed, had told me that there are only 2 ways that the fast life ends, dead or in jail. She also said that you don’t get to decide. It’s decided for you. That goes for those of us that entertain that lifestyle. Again, it breaks my heart because our deeper conversations would reveal her deep desire to be loved and needed. We would talk about her depression and unresolved traumas. As the daughter, I wanted to hug her and make it better, but I couldn’t. In the end, it would lead to her demise.
As women, we have to foster authentic relationships with our sister-friends and family members. They must know that we are giving them advice out of love and a desire to see them live a higher quality of life filled with a greater love. The fast life never ends well. I would challenge you to show me one happy ending that started with drugs, guns, crime, and violence. If you live through it, there is so many traumatic moments and scars that linger on forever. We have to wrap our arms around the women in our lives and tell them how dope they are, how deserving of a selfless love they are, how uncompromising they can be in their pursuit of real love… and it’s all ok. If I could, I would tell Breonna Taylor that her heart, her body, and her mind deserved the kind of love and care that encourages, comforts, and protects her life. We have to do better. I will always believe that we are better together.
RIP Breonna Taylor
RIP Patricia A. Watts