Vern’s Venting: Why I Hate the Word ‘Diva’

by Lavern Merriweather

Well, I actually don’t hate it so much as what it implies, and that is something very negative when it’s used to describe a black female singing star. We are all already fully aware that any personality trait seen as positive or sympathetic in a white person is automatically made negative when the person is black. Think about it. A white male celebrity or athlete who is full of himself is thought of as confident or self-assured yet a black male with the same traits is called arrogant or entitled. In the case of a black female, she is called a ‘diva’.

Now, I don’t know where exactly this word comes from or what it means necessarily. What I do know, however, is that when you hear that word associated with a black woman it’s never anything good, at least not any time white people in the media are using it, even when it’s used for the women they pretend to like such as Mariah Carey, Beyonce or Rhianna. There is always some underlining resentment lurking beneath the surface, and all they need is an opportunity to vilify her.

Lord knows they loved using that word to describe Whitney Houston. Just like they loved ripping her to pieces at every fucking opportunity, while at the same time showing compassion for the white female celebrities afflicted with her same problems. But that’s white folks in the media for you. Whenever they have a problem, there is always some bullshit excuse reason for it. Yet, when you are black, it’s your fault, because you are obviously too stupid and pathetic to get your shit together.

Whitney Houston

Some black folks have even had the nerve to tell me on the message boards that the reason Whitney was singled out was because of her funky attitude. Okay, first of all, if somebody was being blatantly and unabashedly racist towards me, then hell fucking yes; I would give them attitude in many cases ten times over. Secondly, I never heard ONE person who talked shit about her utter a peep that it was because she had a nasty temperament. No, they always criticized her for having the very same troubles as the white women they invited on their crappy ass program.

And for those who claim I’m just playing the race card, explain how in the hell are you going to give me grief for doing the exact same thing that many of your guests do. Their hatred for Whitney had nothing to do with anything else other than the fact that she was beautiful, black, talented, successful and thin, loved by many people. The white male media elite can’t stand any black woman who has everything and more. So, they look for any excuse, and I do mean any, to trash her.

I find it interesting that most of the people saying nasty things about Whitney were folks she probably never would have wasted one minute of her time on. By that, I mean that none of them actually knew her personally, and as we all know by now if you are a black celebrity and your private life isn’t shared with the media, then they will invent one for you. Many times, they made up of some of the worst lies created and even if they aren’t lies, your faults will not be seen with the same lens of understanding that they use for white folks, especially their most prized possession: white women.

Granted, some old school performers such as Liza Minelli and Barbara Streisand have also been called divas. However, the word has never been labeled across their forehead like some big Scarlett ‘A’ alerting everyone to just how much of an obnoxious pig she is and what a big ass pain she is to deal with, regardless if there are famous white women that demand Evian water to wash their hair. When a white woman is a jackass, most people in the media and public just roll their eyes, but let that be a Negress, and she’s called a bitch, along with every other word in the book.

Recently, A-list actress Reese Witherspoon and her husband were pulled over for a suspected DUI. Once they got out of the car, Reese turned into hell on wheels getting right in the cop’s face. She snapped at him, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”, and made many threats about having him fired. Obviously, little miss “Legally Blonde” didn’t like the law not working in her favor and being treated like everyone else. Yet, when many in the media spoke about her run-in with the law, they called her a badass, saying that she had gumption and she really told that cop off. Fucking spare me!

Reese Witherspoon

Please! She was acting like a spoiled little brat, and her ass should have at least spent a night in jail. How much of Bill Gates billions you want to bet that if that were a black female, if would be a much different story? This goes right back to that whole issue of privilege. When you are a second class citizen in America, you are not allowed to think highly of yourself no matter your looks, education or economic status. Your level of self–esteem should be solely determined by those who insist that they are above you and therefore, better than you. Apparently Mr. Jesse Jackson had it all wrong when he spoke the iconic words “I am somebody!” What he was supposed to say is that I’m whatever the white dominated powers-that-be tell me I am. And I better not say otherwise or have the gall to disagree, lest you face the same disgraceful treatment as most black women who are public figures.

White people in the media love to label black folks and keep score, because it makes them feel superior. They can’t stand it when someone, especially one who holds the lowest rung on the ladder, has the nerve to think more of herself and ruin their comfort level. It’s precisely why there are so many welcome and celebrated potshots being taken at the First Lady. And why some moronic butt-ugly cunt named Kathy Griffin thinks that being verbally aggressive with Arab men makes her a ‘strong black woman’. Memo to Ms. Griffin: you aren’t a strong black woman, just a very stupid white one.


32 thoughts on “Vern’s Venting: Why I Hate the Word ‘Diva’

  1. Good post Lavern. Yes it is a double standard where celebrities are concerned. And if a celebrity is a triple threat with good looks and talent and success, then whites hate them especially if it’s a black woman or man. You were on point.

  2. Lavern,

    Thank you for writing this brilliant article. There’s a double standard when it comes to treatment of Black and White celebrity women. Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle, Diana Ross, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, and Beyonce get tarried by the white supremacist media while White female celebrities such as Miley, Reese, Scarlett gets of scot-free.

    Oh, racist bigot Bill O’Reilly is on a crusade to destroy Beyonce’s reputation. He’s mad that she gets more attention and admiration than he.

    Ladies and gentlemen, those are racist double standards toward celebrities. There’s no way getting around it.

    S B

    1. I heard all that crap he was spewing about B and I wrote a post on it. Funny how a sleazy old pervert like him worries so much about female empowerment.

  3. I’m sorry to burst Lavern’s bubble, but genuine white Supremacists give none of this diatribe any thought. It would be better for her to understand that she is at best dealing with corrupted “white” liberationists. <– These are the only ones that give any thought to the likes of the Whitney Houstons and/or Reese Witherspoons of the world.

      1. Because the “double standard” as referenced below has a particular source that is not truthfully recognized…

      2. The “white” liberationists that dominate the media…

        There are no genuine white Supremacists in the media. None. To claim the “double-standard” is due to a “white supremacist” media is laughable, but also a clearly purposeful false accusation.

      3. Like I said, Lavern has never mentioned once in her essay about there being a white supremacist (no need for it starting with a capital letter) media. However, it is evident that almost all media in the West is under the control of white men. The handful of major media corporations that control 90% of visual media are owned by white men. Even if most of them are liberal in a sense as opposed to conservative media, it matters not which side of the political aisle they are. They still shows largely racially biased views of POC on a daily basis. It has been documented for years.

    1. So because the black women I mentioned are famous means I shouldn’t care when they are treated with racist bullshit attitudes? Hate to burst your bubble but Whitney was just as much a part of suffering from white supremacy as any other black person. And in some cases more so.

      1. This is false… I grew up when Whitney Houston was on top of the world. She was relentlessly lauded and praised by the media. She was one of the top entertainment stars of the 90’s. Only when she met up with Bobby Brown and fell deep into drugs did the perception of her stardom change. Even then, she was regularly given the benefit of the doubt and all blame went towards Bobby Brown. In fact, before the deep drug addiction, I don’t ever recall her being slighted by the “diva” meme that you allude to.

    2. From where I sit liberal AND conservative have the same racist mindset. The only difference is that the liberals try to hide it.

    3. Please you mean to tell me that you never heard all the snide, cruel, mean spirited comments directed at her mostly by the white males of latenight? Whitney was targeted by many in the comedy world black and white alike. I have a feeling it was because of her stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. After that she became persona non grata with the media. Many of whom were very sympathetic to white women that are drug addicts. Two white male shock jock assholes even called her a ‘crack whore’ after she died.

  4. Reblogged this on Steph's Blog and commented:
    This brilliant blog article by Lavern Merriweather at Brotha Wolf talks about the treatment and double standards of Black and White female celebrities. Yes, there is a double standard. Witness the treatment of Rihanna, Star Jones, Whitney Houston a couple years ago and the ongoing crusade to trash Beyonce’s reputation by bigot Bill O’Reilly.
    It’s sad but it’s all in the name of preserving the “white woman pedestal”.

  5. @ Lavern,

    “The white male media elite can’t stand any black woman who has everything and more.”

    This applies to black men as well, even moreso. Look at how they vilified Richard Sherman, Magic Johnson, Kanye, and many others. I know you are focusing on the maltreatment of black women in entertainment, but it’s really towards both genders.

    The thing about our society is that it roots for people as they are going to the top and once they reach a certain level of success, the backlash hits and everyone is trying to bring you down. And that goes double for celebrities of color. The “white male media elite” has put whomever they want on top, black, brown, red or yellow, and then turns against them. It is how they operate.

    1. I agree black men getting it twice as hard but that’s more because we women don’t exist to them except to hate on. I have written many posts and comments about double standards regarding black men especially Michael.

  6. For white people, the term diva gives them illusions of grandeur that white women are “the epitome of beauty” and “white womanhood is the most sacred.” In actuality, the original black woman is the epitome of beauty and womanhood despite what many believe due to hundreds of years of white supremacy braintrashing. This is a fact that no amount of white supremacy braintrashing and delusions of white superiority/black inferiority will change.

  7. Not one lie in this article. Cowards attack black women because they know we have no protection.
    ”The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman, the most unprotected person in America is the Black woman, the most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
    — El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

    1. Unfortunately sometimes not even among each other as witnessed by the foolishness on Real Housewives Atlanta. But yeah we are the lowest rung and therefore more expendable.

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