“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.”
At the funeral of Ronald Stokes, a man killed outside a mosque by the LAPD on April 27, 1962, Malcolm X delivered one of his more well regarded speeches, aptly entitled—Who Taught You to Hate Yourself. In it, Malcolm X asked, “Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin Who taught you to hate to hate shape of your nose and the shape of your lips?” He continued by describing how one has to be taught not to cherish the basic parts of self. In the speech, he later said, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.”
Malcolm X’s speech spoke to an unfortunate truth, “For as long as the African woman has been in America, she has endured a barrage of stimuli that sought to dehumanize her and deny her beauty. Her entire existence, and all of its physical manifestations—the hue of her skin, the plump of her lip, the kink in her hair, the fullness of her curves—were all stigmatized as their antithesis was normalized.” Moreover, as the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures demonstrated, history routinely omits the accomplishments of black women.
Attorney, professor, and hip-hop artist, Timothy Welbeck wants to change the narrative and combat the historic denigration of black women. In his song, May You Ever, he celebrates the legacy of iconic black women past and present, including: Sojourner Truth, Michelle Obama, Coretta Scott King, Harriet Tubman, Venus and Serena Williams, Nina Simone, etc. In the Tone Jonez produced song, he raps, “May you ever, sojourn for the truth like Isabella, be regal the way Michelle does/May you ever, raise up kings like Coretta/Be courageous like Harriet was.” He even alludes to the problem Malcolm X observed, by rapping, “The kink of your hair, the plump of your lips/Is seen as a reason to stare, not a wondrous gift/But no thing compares to the circumference of your hips/When all of humanity has come birthed from within …” It makes for a powerful statement, one with a beautiful video to accompany it. As Black History Month concludes, and with Women’s History month slated to begin tomorrow, the timing of the song could not be more fitting. You can check out Timothy’s video below.