Be Authentic Never Jeopardize Individuality

When our newest guest blogger Daddy Mayonnaise set out to tackle his feelings on “butch queen“, I’ll admit I was a little disappointed that he didn’t address the phrase’s roots in ball culture. Gay men, white gay men in particular, have a history of appropriating terms like “fierce”, “realness”, “shade”, “work” and “legendary” without actually knowing their origins.

We can blame RuPaul’s Drag Race for this. We can blame the thousands of people who learned more about voguing from Madonna than the film Paris Is Burning. Point is, these terms are firmly rooted in ball culture, to the point that some folks within the community have stopped using them due to frustration over their adoption…

But I should not be speaking for that community. It’s not my place, as I’ve never walked in a ball, belonged to a house or anything of the sort. And perhaps that’s why Daddy himself didn’t bring it up in his piece. It’s not his place, either, to speak on behalf of another community who’s frustrated by the appropriation of their term (unless there’s something that I don’t know about him, which is very possible).

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I’m bringing this up, because I had a lot of feelings about up-and-coming hip-hop artist Sharaya J utilizing the term “banjee“. In interviews, she has fully acknowledged the connection to the LGBTQ community, but it’s rubbing me the wrong way that she’s not acknowledging whether or not she identifies as queer… And then I feel guilty for it rubbing me the right way, because why the fuck should it matter? She’s giving credit where credit is due, and by switching up the spelling to “banji”, she’s delivering a fantastic message to fans of all ages—(B)e (A)uthentic (N)ever (J)eopardize (I)ndividuality.

Then, as if I weren’t conflicted enough, she’s also one of the most entertaining rappers to emerge within the past few years. Her latest offering, a dual video for the tracks “Smash Up The Place” and “Snatch Yo’ Wig”, channels the energy of her mentor Missy Elliott with a splash of Mary Reid Kelley for good measure (as a good friend of mine pointed out).

All in all, I think I’m on board with Sharaya J… But maybe there’s something problematic here?

– Dewitt

Watch Sharaya J’s “Smash Up The Place” video and decide for yourself:



One thought on “Be Authentic Never Jeopardize Individuality

  1. Her dancing is sick! The fact that Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball as 50million views and this only has 56k really make me lose faith in this world. True talent always takes longer to launch it seems…

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