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The Age Old 'Ride Or Die' Mantra Goes Both Ways

A word.

Her Voice

In a super animated video from For Harriet's founder, Kimberly Foster, she voiced her distaste for the overplayed unofficial "Ride or Die" rule, and began her discourse with her disappointment of Beyonce and Jay-Z's "Bonnie and Clyde" themed, On The Run II tour.


Though she had some valid points about the detriment of a woman foregoing her self-worth and over-laboring in a imbalanced relationship, I think she may have missed a mark in providing the proper framework for a committed heterosexual relationship or marriage.

This read will break down some of her arguments, as well as collective feminist beliefs, and interject some of these findings with my own critical thoughts about how being a ride or die partner transcends patriarchal gender roles by going both ways.

So, first things first… as a huge Beyonce fan, I'd like to debunk the anchor for her opinion. At the end of the day, you don't "Ride or Die" for someone who doesn't reciprocate. I don't understand why that always seems to be the missing part. Kimberly expressed her annoyance of the overplayed Bonnie and Clyde archetype. Bonnie and Clyde are a real life couple, who were real life criminals, and died as a result of their real ass crimes. It's an archetype that has been romanticized as part of a patriarchal conditioned system.

Outside of the sensationalized criminal wrongdoings of these two people, they committed to each other in a vow that was sacred to them. Do you think that when they were in bed making love, that they were focusing on the bank they just robbed? No. Beyonce and Jay-Z are artists who are doing the expected thing by channeling an infamous fated couple. They might as well throw in their rendition of Romeo and Juliet, Adam and Eve, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus...but I digress.

In the comment thread of this video, many people were upset that she omitted their personal battle in marriage. Kimberly then rebuttaled that she was speaking of the "performance." I think that this trivializes their private lives, in which they have clearly fought for the union, which heavily relied on Jay-Z doing right by his wife, coming to terms with his infidelity, and the pain he caused his family. Jay-Z had to awaken to his toxic masculine qualities, and redeem himself for succumbing to not only infidelity, but also the staunch truths of his past - and I'm sure that Beyonce did not make it easy, because our society certainly didn't.

You don't ride and die for someone who doesn't reciprocate. Period.

Moving on, she mentioned that it would be great to imagine a world where "women get equal care and support." So why stop there? Why stop at imagining this was so? Why not fight against the status quo, whilst upholding what many of us want - a monogamous, reciprocal, healthy and balanced relationship? Instead, she quickly streamlined her conversation into the outdated acceptance of, "women fix men, men take the credit." If you have been on a spiritual path like the one I have been on, which requires you to raise your vibration, then you likely don't subscribe to this old paradigm.

This goes for both men and women.

As a womanist, my personal truth is to enlighten men, or anyone who falls victim to the box of misogyny and patriarchy that we live in, about what it means to respect women, because ultimately it translates into respecting yourself. What is the point of embodying a whole ideology of feminism, for the purpose of schooling those who don't get it, to only disallow the desired growth to bloom? In short, I can cling tightly to my feministic convictions, but I fear that women like Kimberly cling so tightly, that they give no space for growth of the other half.

As a student of universal law and energetic exchange, if you think about it, women are built with a more innate intuition, or at least the ability to tap into it, on a greater scale than men are. But men, because of the very rigid separation of their heart centers, they are able to enforce 3D or physical stability, protection, and provisions. Now that things are shifting energetically, women are growing more of that physical ability to enforce that masculinity within us, and men are learning to embrace and utilize the feminine energy. Kimberly did mention that a paradigm of this nature would be better for men as well, and that is something we can agree on.

Another point that I found problematic was when she generalized the idea that men use women as, "a means to an end," and a "vehicle to get to their best self." Well, I have seen with my own eyes relationship dynamics where men depend on women for everything, including: housing, food, money, and emotional support. I doubt however, that the co-dependency in this type of relationship leads to being their best selves.

I'm a firm believer that you only attract the sum of yourself.

If you end up with a man who does not take accountability for himself, then you sis, are not embodying your best self. As gender roles continue to transform and people are waking up to the idea of balancing masculine and feminine energies within themselves, both men and women will find themselves shifting out of this old paradigm.

In her own words, she said one of the critical failures of feminism is that "we don't provide women with the tools to push back against the social norms." In Kimberly's critique of the "Ride or Die" trope, ironically, she is not providing the tools to help women push back against the social norms, by denying or omitting the fact that the paradigm she speaks of is transforming.

How many Black women do you know is gung-ho about training a grown little boy? The true problem is in how many of us subscribe to the aforementioned statement, being the only thing that is available, and in the process, not working on our self-introspection, self-love, and self-care, that will ultimately get us to a point of vibration where we will attract our equals.

The idea of being a "Ride or Die," transcends not only the patriarchal paradigm that we have been socialized and conditioned to live in, but it also transcends race, gender, and heteronormative relationships.

It's about respect, love, equality, and mutual reciprocation for the person you share your life with.

I have worked hard to get myself to a level of self worth, and unconditional love within my own soul, and you best believe that when I find my vibrational equal, I will "Ride and Die" for that man, because he will do the same for me.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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