Annie, are you okay? Are you okay, Annie?

About four weeks ago, Saudi Arabia passed a law to “allow” women to drive. Four weeks ago. A country. Passed a law. To allow women. To drive. You hear that? Does that mean women had the right to do so before and it was stripped of them? No. Up until September 27th 2017, women were not able to legally drive in Saudi Arabia. Now that the law is passed, it’s all good now? Right? Yeah right. As a Black man in America, I know all about how many things seem great on paper but in reality, there’re loop holes and hell around the corner. In fact, women will still FIRST have to get PERMISSION from a male guardian just to apply for a driver’s license. But some will tell you they’re making progress and to take this as a victory. Those same fools will tell me this country isn’t that bad for a Black people. The homie Henok said “If someone took air from you, and gave it back, would you celebrate them? Would you parade around for getting something that was yours or should be yours without fight?” Stop treasuring garbage and accepting hush tickets. Managers give women employees’ money and incentives to shut up and remain silent. They’ll dangle raises and promotions and titles around if they promise not speak up about sexual harassment or verbal abuse. Society hates women who challenges the status quo. Society gives women a coloring book and demand them to stay in the lines. If you color outside, you’ll get shunned and shamed. If you dare make your own line, that’s your job, career, livelihood, house, apartment, rights, freedom or life.

We’ve seen countless number of women silenced by society when they speak their mind, ask for equality, quality and fairness. We’ve seen countless number of women shamed for correcting their incorrect husband or singing a song that isn’t “lady like”. Women get called bitches for doing the same thing a “strong confident man who don’t take mess from anyone” does. When I say society, I’m talking about men.

Most men do not want or like women to have the same rights they possess. It isn’t right, but it’s true. Most men don’t want women with the same liberty, rights, money, life that they have. And it’s a sad sight to see having predominantly men make laws in this world. This is far from the bigger picture but an example. Men… ask yourself: How would you feel if your lady made more money than you at the peak of each respected careers? Most men low-key will be embarrassed and won’t tell a soul. Why? In what rulebook does it say “Men have to make more money than women”?? Men hate confident women. Women who have a voice for themselves and knows what they will tolerate and won’t, naw. Stuck up. Men tell women to listen to the chorus on that Kendrick Lamar song and be humble. Too high of standards. Won’t ever get a man. Etc. There are tons of men who are intimidated by women who have a creative, boss, leadership mentality. And please don’t be beautiful while being a vocal leader. Women aren’t supposed to be both, apparently. Beautiful women aren’t supposed to think and speak out, apparently. They’re supposed to be mannequins. Even when you’re AT YOUR JOB, don’t do your job. Look at Cam Newton. Reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue, asked him a question three weeks ago about one of his receivers truck sticking people on the field to which he responded with a sarcastic grin, “it’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.” It’s funny for women to work? No. It’s humorous to men seeing women have jobs and actually doing their job that society (men) deems a man job. It’s funny to a lot of men when women talk about sports. When women fumble over terms and facts, we scold them. But when women DO know about sports, we laugh and belittle them. “Aww. Look at you.” Men, we gotta do better.

Men don’t want women to be sexually liberated. Men publicly talk about sex. When men hear women talk about it, it’s like they just heard someone cuss their momma out. Men talk about having a “wild weekend” that consisted of twins or having sex with multiple women in three days while on vacation. Women? Those same men put halos on and throw rocks while living in glass houses at women who think of doing the same. Women who even FANTASIZE about that are hos and can’t be wifed. Men can have 10 bodies by the age of 25. That’s regular, apparently. A woman with 5 bodies at 25 is nasty. Can’t bring her home to moms. But you? You’re a saint huh. Who you think the women you’re having sex with, is having sex with? And some of these men have kids. Some of these men will teach their sons how to be sexist. They will teach their daughter to be second class. Teach their daughter to be a nun. Like sex isn’t natural. It’s natural for their father, that’s partly how the daughter came. But when they have “the talk” with their sons and daughter, totally different. We easily talk about how some old racist idiots teach their kids their ways and we see how horrible they’ll be when they grow up. These “men” are teaching their children how to think of women as maids and inferior beings. Some men in relationships go to clubs and dance all night with women. That’s it. Dance. But the issue comes when those men rebuke the grown responsible lady they’re in a relationship with for doing the same. Some men, a lot of men, secretly lack self confidence when it comes to their bodies. They don’t like when women love everything about their body. Don’t hate bruh. They don’t seek attention like you think they do. All those “IG models” getting paid on the side are doing their thing. You wish you had a side hustle. You wish you had the juice. When nudes get leaked, women are sluts. When you beg for nudes on the late night, she ain’t a slut then. Who do you think you are? When you miss the shot you shot, she’s a b*tch. You really think that’s the conversation they have after we walk away?

Which leads me to believe this: All men have, in one point of time in their lives, 1) physically, 2) emotionally, 3) financially, 4) verbally, or 5) mentally scarred or abused a woman. Whether it be your sister, your lady, ex wife, teacher, manager, coworker, employee, receptionist or mother. You don’t have to be Ike Turner or Harvey Weinstein to take advantage of women. Dictatorship in relationships equates to emotional and mental abuse. CONSTANTLY criticizing dress, size, personality, friends is emotional abuse, bruh. Having her come over only at night. Don’t even have to have sex but only linking at night, staying in, REFUSING TO DATE BUT WANTING EVERYTHING THAT GOES WITH DATING is mentally scarring. How is one supposed to feel? Being an absent father. Your killing your daughters whole confidence and mentality before she’s a teen by not being there. Yelling and using your deeper voice and manly figure is savage. Physically intimidating as well. When she makes more money than you and you know it but you’re too embarrassed about it so you tell the homies “she does whatever I say. Buys whatever I want. Last week she copped tickets to the Cole concert.” Guess what… She’s doing it because she loves you and wants you to be happy. You’re taking advantage of her becauuuuussseee?? Most men truly believe if they have not beat a woman up, then they have never abused a woman. The bar has been set so low for men. And we then accept it. We don’t push ourselves to be better. If men played limbo, we would have to crawl under.

Men, we have privilege. Know that. Understand it. I was in Barcelona last Saturday at this restaurant with my family. Three women (two adults, one child) and three guys (two adults, one child). The server handed me a menu and then one to my pops. He skipped over his wife to hand a menu to a eight year old boy then went to give a menu to his mother and sister. My dad and his wife were sitting next to each other. Why not hand her a menu first or right after? Well because she’s a she. Women don’t get that type of respect. Silly of me to think this is just an amerikkkan problem. Subtle actions like these show what type of home training you had. We tell on ourselves. It’s like people think if one doesn’t blatantly yell NIGGER, they aren’t racist and everything I call out, I’m doing the most or overreacting. Subtle sexism and bias occurs daily. Check yourself. We got #ForThePChallenge by grown boys but ain’t nobody challenging themselves.

RESPECT ALL WOMEN. OF ALL SIZES. OF ALL OCCUPATIONS. So many whack dudes only show love and respect to women who are attractive and have a “respectable job.” So many men ONLY respect women who are funny. Or women who go to school. So many dudes respect women who look and reflect their lifestyle. “She works out and makes decent money? Me too!! Oh but her? She’s not the weight I like and she doesn’t go to school. I don’t need to show love.” Men. YOU NEED TO DO BETTER. WE NEED TO DO BETTER. Respect doesn’t cost you anything. You don’t have to compromise anything to show love. You don’t lose out on anything. There’s no political party involved.

Men always strive to be better employees (employees, not owners) to make more money, but not better boyfriends/husbands. Men work hard to impress a woman in bed for two minutes but don’t put in OT to be a great father. Don’t even desire to be cordial. Men work out and train to be buff and be the best looking person for when they can take off their shirt in front of women. But when we get the woman we been shooting our shot with, we get lazy and comfortable and don’t take her out. Let another man swoop in. Theeeeeen we call her a ho or get mad for her not having “patience” or sticking with us when “times got rough”. How about you try a little tenderness, oh na na. Otis. Yes, opening the door for YOUR MOTHER is polite, bruh. Congrats. Yes, flowers TWICE A YEAR is cute, good job. Yes, not ignoring or giving silent treatment to your girl you swear you love and dropped every other chick for, when y’all get in an argument is commendable. Hooray. But we don’t even ask what the women in our lives want. How about we start there. Howboudat.

THIS IS A MAN’S WORLD!!! James Brown famously yelled. How many people know the lyrics right after? “But it wouldn’t be NOTHING. NOTHING. without a woman or a girl.”

We say women listen to music and follow movies too much and have a false sense of what men should be like. But we watch movies and attempt every single thing we seen an actor do. We ASSUME women want flowers and kisses on the forehead and cute stuff like that. I don’t love cars, football, cognac, Avenger movies and other typical “men things”. Don’t assume I do. It’ll be unfair and unwise for us to just do things and when she gets upset, we say, “well I got flowers for you”. When did she ever say anything about flowers? Promoting/displaying fair and equal treatment towards women and committing actions without assumptions is what we as men NEED to do.

October was National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Most people didn’t know that. And I’m not a betting man but I’m sure if anyone who is reading this who did know that, was NOT a man. It’s time to care. You have a mother. A sister. Niece. Girlfriend. Aunt. Wife. Friend. You know women who have been tormented by men. But since YOU haven’t been, months like these hold no significance. You need to care. Breast Cancer Awareness Month holds weight to you, as it should. But 85% of domestic violence victims are women. 15% have been men. That’s why we don’t care. It doesn’t affect us. We need to care. I have multiple family members who have been beat or raped. It ain’t a joke. It ain’t a nice way of putting it. Most men will never understand the physical or emotional or mental pain of that. Ever.

Rape is any sexual activity that is forced or not consensual. Rape is 100% at the fault of the rapist. 100%. DO NOT EVER TRY TO FIX YOUR MOUTH TO SAY ANYTHING REMOTELY CLOSE TO THE CONTRARY OF THAT. NOT FROM FRIENDS LEAVING YOU. NOT FROM THE DRINKS YOU DRANK. NOT FROM THE CLOTHES YOU WORE. NOT FROM THE WAY THE YOU BEHAVED. NOT FROM YOUR SEX LIFE. NOT FROM WALKING ALONE. STOP TELLING WOMEN TO STOP BEING RAPED. START TELLING RAPISTS TO STOP RAPING. IT’S NOT THE FAULT OF THE VICTIM. EVER. Teach your brother. Your nephew. Teach boys that it ain’t okay. Get in your mind that it ain’t okay. In frat houses, dorms, clubs… It ain’t okay. If she wants it at first and then don’t five minutes later, that’s rape. Stop pushing the issue. You think you’re so dope and dress so fly while rocking the best Jordan’s (as if 45 other dudes aren’t wearing the same), why didn’t SHE just come up to you. It’s about power and domination. A lot of men need reality checks.

Also, I would like to stop giving these males titles of men. Fabolous said “I can’t give you the title if you don’t know how to be it.” A lot of dudes don’t know how to be men. Being a man doesn’t mean hitting eighteen or twenty-one and magically transforming into a man. This ain’t a r&b group. A man isn’t just a male with a job. Having a car and kids or even kicking it with other men doesn’t make you a man. STOP letting boys do men things. Stop going out with or marrying and talking to people and banking on their potential. If you don’t dig who they are right now, don’t invest in them. We got resumes we give to jobs. We go through an interviewing process. They don’t hire you based on what you can do five months from now. Stop giving these under qualified boys, jobs. Stop giving these boys your love. Your body. Nudes. Time. Money. Sex. Looks. The entitlement of calling you their woman. Stop giving boys men privileges. Stop calling boys, men.

Throughout the song of Smooth Criminal, Michael Jackson asks Annie if she is okay. But he keeps asking. No response. Listen to it again, at the end of the song, Mike asks again “Annie are you okay?” and you can hear her yell “I DON’T KNOW!!” repeatedly. Ask Annie if she is okay until you get an answer. Then go to work. Annie, are you okay?

*Listen to If I were a Boy, Flawless and Hold Up by Beyoncé, RESPECT by Aretha Franklin and U-N-I-T-Y by Queen Latifah. Read books written by women authors.

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