Monday, Twitter timelines once again lit up in response to a vicious argument between Sudanese-American writer Kola Boof and D.C. rapper Wale.

Although I’m not quite sure what initially set her off (Boof’s Twitter rant was long and extensive), apparently Boof accused Wale, who is of Nigerian descent, of encouraging kids in Nigeria to bleach their skin in order to look like the women depicted in his videos.

In a series of tweets, Boof accused Wale of being color-struck, in part due to the women pictured in his “Pretty Girls” video.

She tweeted:

“I don’t like @wale because he’s another Colorstruck Black Man who’s videos are pretty much White Supremacist images,” Boof complained.

“The fact that @wale is Nigerian makes it all the worse, because he’s setting the wrong example globally for our race. A loser. There wasn’t a single Black woman in ‘Pretty Girls’…so what in the f-ck was he saying about African women?? His own race? @wale and all the rest of these Self-hating Niggerstock Bastards don’t celebrate Black Beauty bec. they can’t C it”

“Boof continued:

“As an African Mother….nothing is more disappointing or makes me more ashamed than the mindset of the Black Male. Our worst fucking enemy on this planet…has turned out to be our own sorry ass self-hating sons. PERIOD. @WALE is a little Punk Bitch Nigerian Skin Bleacher who wants to escape his own people & gets PAID 2 do so”

Offended by Boof’s assertions, Wale shot back, taking a swipe at Boof’s well-publicized abusive relationship with terrorist Osama Bin Laden, and questioning her loyalty to her people.

“According to this lunatic @kolaboof I promote ‘skin bleaching’ and I hate black women,” he countered.

“And @kolaboof thinks that because she contributed to writing a few books, that she can talk down to me. With all due respect ms I can sit up here and say you were porking terrorist like a lot of your peers say. But I’d rather not, because I’m ignorant to whatever relationship you had with Ol’ Boy [Osama bin Laden] and my ignorance to THAT particular subject will keep me quiet. W/ that said u shd 2. @kolaboof your pretentious. Your a disgusting human being, an absolute disgrace to the very people you pretend to endorse.”

Even though I’m not interested in Wale and Kola Boof’s Twitter spat for gossip’s sake, I am intrigued by the matters at the heart of their conversation.

While Wale’s video for “Pretty Girls” did receive harsh criticism because many people felt it did not feature any darker skinned women, there were several Black women who appeared throughout the video. However, Boof’s insistence that Wale doesn’t feature “Black women” in his videos, when he clearly does, leads us to another fascinating dialogue.

Who or what defines Blackness?

For some, like Boof, Blackness isn’t defined by simply having some African ancestry. One glance at her timeline and it’s clear that when Boof says “Black” she means, African women, or darker hued sisters with “kinky hair,” which for those of us in America, can be a problematic definition.

Through various tweets Boof repeatedly discussed “authentic Blackness” and labeled those such as Denzel Washington, Ester Rolle, and Lauryn Hill as possibly being “authentically Black,” while sisters like Beyonce fall outside of the confines of Blackness in Boof’s mind.

This debate over who is and who is not Black has a long and complex history. From the one-drop rule, to the difficulty some multiracial people feel in classifying themselves, Blackness—especially in the Diaspora—can be tricky (or even impossible) to define.

But should we have to? Is it important to place limits and definitions of what is and is not Black? If so, where would we even begin to draw the lines?

Let’s talk about it.


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