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Tiffany Haddish Saying No To An Unpaid Grammys Gig Is Our Mood Forever

It's 2020; Black women should not just be earning a seat at the table but also be valued as much as their white counterparts.

Celebrity News

Tiffany Haddish, comedian and actress, was recently asked to host the 63rd annual Grammy Award pre-show and declined the offer when the recording academy told her it was unpaid. In addition to paying her own way, they also mentioned they would not be covering hair, make-up, or any wardrobe for the course of the event. As Haddish mentioned:

"All of that would have to come out of my pocket. I don't know if this might mean I might not get nominated ever again, but I think it's disrespectful."

I don't know about y'all, but I'm sick and tired of hearing the continuous disrespect towards Black women. People are just tripping over their words claiming it to be a mistake or a misunderstanding.

According to a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson, the host of the Grammys is required to be paid at least $5,000 due to union minimum wage negotiations. While Haddish would just be the host of the pre-show of the awards ceremony and not the actual show, even $5,000 is no money considering the stripes Haddish has earned over the course of her career so far, not to mention the cost of wardrobe, hair, and make-up. How is this even possible for the most significant music award ceremony in the world to expect the best quality from their talent and provide the least amount of tools and resources to be equipped for the job?

Tiffany Haddish saying "NO" to the Grammys signified her knowing her worth.

Tiffany Haddish GIF by National Geographic ChannelGiphy

Though Haddish was nominated for her second Grammy this year for best comedy album for Netflix's Black Mitzvah, it's still not worth her accepting zero compensation for hosting their award show. They don't even pay their performers and presenters; the Grammys is all about keeping the profit to themselves versus sharing their wealth.

It's 2020; Black women should not just be earning a seat at the table but also be valued as much as their white counterparts. And until that changes, they need to keep amplifying their truth for the system to evolve and pay Black women what they are worth.

As Haddish noted:

"I was like, 'The exposure is amazing, but I think I have enough. I appreciate you guys asking.' And as much as I appreciate the honor of being nominated, that's not OK."

Apologies are nice, but we want more.

In response to her rejection of the offer, Recording Academy Chief Harvey Mason Jr. posted a video on Instagram apologizing to Haddish and mentioning that he also found the offer disrespectful.

"Unfortunately, and without my knowing, the talent booker working for the Academy told Ms. Haddish that we wouldn't even cover her costs while she hosted this event for us. To me, that was wrong. I'm frustrated by that decision. It was a lapse in judgment, it was in poor taste, and it was disrespectful to the creative community."

He said that Haddish allowed him to have a private conversation with her, apologizing to her directly. "Tiffany, we are sorry, and thank you for allowing me to speak on it," he concluded.

Apologies are nice and all, but we are demanding more. This is far from the first time a Black woman's work have been misvalued or undervalued. Tiffany Haddish has been featured in movies and TV shows as an actress, comedian, writer, and producer. Why does she need to host the Grammys for free when she could be spending time on an event that pays her?

Black women need to be valued the same as their white counterparts. An award ceremony as big as the Grammys should host their own show since they clearly can't afford to pay her. We've been running this race too long, working two to three times harder just to be allowed in the same room as our white counterparts. It's the passive-aggressive invite, and be happy you got an invite because we rarely include your people for me.

It's the expectation that we should just take what we're given because that is the structure America has always placed Black people in.

Well, that ended the day Tiffany said "no", because she knows her worth. You don't bend backwards for another party that doesn't care about you, that's disrespectful, and Black women deserve better.

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Featured image by Silvia Elizabeth Pangaro / Shutterstock.com

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

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I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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