“You know it makes me unhappy (what’s that)
When brothas make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy
And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can’t make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you’re fed up ladies, but please keep your head up”
Tupac Shakur- Keep ya Head Up
Despite the continuous misogyny in hip-hop videos in which some rappers depict you as expletives, HIV becoming the leading cause of death for those of you ages 25-34, and the 3 million of you that are single and trying to raise your kids alone – you’ve kept your heads up to the sky!
Your population is 20 million strong (50% of the total black population) and there are 4.5 million of you in the critical 18-34 age group. While the 500,000 plus young black males are “keeping it gangsta” in America’s prison system (compared to 28,000 imprisoned black women), you’ve shown that being “gangsta” is not about wearing baggy pants, air force ones, selling drugs, and packing heat, but really about graduating from college, starting a business, raising a family and making money.
Black Women in Education
In the fall of 2005 there were reportedly 1.5 million black females enrolled in college, and unfortunately only 895,000 black males. Amazingly, black women also make up 65 percent of all Black American college graduates. I think black women have really figured it out and understand that if you are going to work for someone else and sell your labor to a corporation, the only way to make decent money and climb the corporate ladder is to improve your labor skills – and you improve them with education and/or experience. However, ambitious black women also know that the glass ceiling in Corporate America is real and many have decided to move on and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
Black Women in Business
In 2007, there were roughly 1.5 million Black American owned businesses in which 48 percent were owned by black women. The businesses owned by black women produced about $30 billion in sales. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, between 1997 and 2006 black women owned businesses increased 147 percent, the fastest and largest increase of any other ethnic group – I ain’t mad at cha.
What’s fueling the entrepreneurial ambitions of Black American women? “They have growing levels of education, of work experience and, increasingly, management and sales experience, so entrepreneurship is the next frontier,” explains Julie Weeks, executive director of the National Women’s Business Council. She remarked, “When they butt up against the glass ceiling, if they aren’t going any further, they think, why not do it for myself?” Most black women owned businesses start out part-time and grow after only a few years.
Single Black Mothers
In 2003, the 3.1 million single Black mothers in America headed more than 30 percent of all black families. About 18 percent did not graduate high school, 37 percent received a high school diploma, 34 percent had some college and roughly 10 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Their lack of education clearly explains why 40 percent of them live in poverty, however the majority of single black mothers (58 percent) were at or above the 2003 U.S. poverty line. Many single black mothers say they struggle because they cannot find affordable quality childcare and were recently victims of domestic violence.
Black Women & Domestic Violence
According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, married and unmarried Black American women have the highest prevalence of being beaten (67 percent), compared to White and Mexican American women. It’s a shame that some brothas feel like they have to beat a black woman, I think it’s mainly because they feel they have been conquered mentally and don’t know how to express themselves any other way or they have seen other black men do it and think it’s acceptable. If you have been a victim of domestic violence please get help.
Kelly Williams, motivational speaker and parent educator, is the founder of http://www.singlemamahood.com and offers the following free advice to single black mothers, “don’t argue with the father in front of the children or on the phone with the children nearby; count to ten or write it down for later if you have to.” And about absent fathers she remarked, “let your kids keep pictures and mementos from their relationship with their father; don’t make them choose between you and their dad.” For more single black mother tips and coping strategies please visit her website mentioned above.
Black Women & Interracial Dating
A 2006 Essence.com poll found that 81% of participants approved of black women dating non-black men. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report in 2000, 95,000 black women were married to white men and in 2005, the numbers increased to 134,000.
In 2007, a CNN.com study reported “They’re taking cues from their favorite stars — from actress Shar Jackson to tennis pro Venus Williams — as well as support blogs, how-to books, interracially themed novels, and movies like Something New, starring Sanaa Lathan, telling them it’s OK to “date out.”
What other reasons force “sista’s” to think Mr. Right could be white? Well, maybe it’s the fact that 2.5% of all black men were in prison in 2006, they’re twice as likely to be unemployed compared to white men, and there’s an apparent lack of “professional brothas” in America. In 2005, Black females 25 years or older who had a Bachelors degree or higher outnumbered Black males 2 to 1.
Another reason for the lack of “professional brothas,” grumble many black women is because many successful black men are choosing white women. For some, they argue, white wives are the ultimate status symbol. In 2006, nearly 75 percent of the 400,000 black-white households involved black husbands.
A message to the Brothas
Well brothas, like Jay-Z said, what more can I say? Our black women are not waiting for us to deal with our egos, pride, and immaturity. We must get educated and financially prepare ourselves for the new digital economy. We also must rid ourselves of the mentality that promotes “pimpin” and “thuggin”, smoking weed and drinking all day, not worrying about a job, thinking its cool to still live with our mommas, and engaging in criminal activity. And we have the nerve to call ourselves “hustlas” and “gangstas?”
We have been focused on exploiting everybody so much that we have lost respect for the only people that have stood by our side since slavery, civil rights, 80’s crack era and hip-hop degradation in this white man’s world – Black women! Are we really grown men? Or just oversized boys still unable to control ourselves and only worried about satisfying our sexual desires, watching videos, playing Play Station, Xbox, and Wii’s.
How many mafia figures have you seen watching videos all day and palying video games? Not Meyer Lansky, Johnny Torrio or Carlo Gambino; the greatest mobsters you’ve never heard about who mentored Al Capone, and Lucky Luciano. Amazingly, they all successfully retired, took care of their families, respected their wives and died of natural causes — Now thats “gangsta.” Come on brothas, we supposed to be grown men! Create Wealth, Enjoy Life!
James “Bird” Guess
President & Founder