Comedian Leslie Jones’ path to stardom has been a long and arduous one. However, she has learned in recent months that with greater exposure comes greater scrutiny, and greater disdain as well.
When it was announced that she would star in the all-woman re-imagining of Ghostbusters, the nerd realm was rife with consternation. Many thought it was because the cast was female. But I believed it was simply because Jones was a black woman whose aesthetics were counter to the accepted version of American beauty that tends to get promoted in film and television.
Standing at about six feet tall, the former collegiate basketball player’s non-traditional beauty is seen as a threat to the status quo.
After deleting her Twitter account after a barrage of racist drivel chased her from social media, due in large part to the nefarious efforts of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, Jones was showered with love from supporters and was even invited to cover the Summer Olympics in Rio after a few very funny Tweets. But if the Star Wars trilogy has taught us anything, it’s that evil never stays down for the count.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Jones’ website had been hacked and personal information was posted, including nude photos of the Saturday Night Live star. And, just in case you might have thought it wasn’t racist intent, they placed a photo of Harrambe the gorilla on the front page of www.lesliejones.com.
The FBI has been called in to investigate this serious violation of dignity and respect in what is suppose to be a democratic society. I couldn’t help but notice the silence of many “brothers” of African descent. Sure, Jones’ SNL buddies and their immediate circles have come out to defend her, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve heard any black man stepping in to defend a woman that looks like their mother, sister or cousin.
While racism is the obvious sin in this scenario, perhaps colorism and the specter of self-hate and anti-Africanism that flows in the hearts of a silent but large minority of African-Americans is the reason why so many white racists feel emboldened to come at Jones so hard simply based upon the choices of women whose features are promoted in our community, and those that are deemed undesirable.
Nobody will ever say it, but every music video, video vixen or actress who self-identifies as being black is usually celebrated for mocha complexions rather than dark chocolate.
But on Friday a new hashtag appeared on Twitter in support of Jones, #BlackMenSupportLeslie. It is showing love for one clearly created in our own images and is growing exponentially. Every time the haters think that they can step up and knock someone down based upon race and class via social media, it seems there are an increasing number of individuals stepping to the forefront.
While I’m proud of the hashtag, which was created by @BlakeDon’tCrack, black men should have been the first ones to step up and not Katy Perry, bless her heart.