Common Applauds Diamond Reynolds In His VH1 Hip Hop Honors Speech
There have been many tributes and speeches made in the wake of the deadly police shootings of two black men and then the killing of Dallas police officers last week. But none may be as good as Common’s speech about Diamond Reynolds and the power of black women in general at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors Monday night. If you didn’t already have a major, major crush on Common (who doesn’t?) his speech will probably talk you to into it. The whole show was called “All Hail The Queens,” to honor Queen Latifah, so the power of women was on everyone’s mind already, but Common took it up a notch in the best of ways.
He talked about honoring everyday women, “I also want to take this moment to honor all the sisters who have been on the front lines in our ongoing movement for justice. I’m talking about Fannie Lou Hamer, Diane Nash, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Shirley Chisholm, I’m talking about the Black Lives Matter founders.” And then he gave a shout out to Reynolds, “who filmed the police killing [Philando Castile]. Who tried to calmly deescalate the deadly situation and hours later, was at her governor’s mansion, demanding justice,” he said. Yes, women are badass, in case no one already knew.
He then just said, “Black women, black women,” until everyone got the hell up out of their seats and finished by saying, “We see you. We need to elect more black women as leaders.” Then he basically dropped the mic and walked off the stage with everyone’s heart.
Common has long had a powerful, positive messages for black women — and women, plain and simple. And he didn’t even say all that much. But there’s something about “black women, black women, we see you, we hear you” that gave me the fucking chills. Probably because it’s not often (or at fucking all) that our culture holds up black women like that. When do you ever hear a man on a stage saying that we need to start electing more black women to power? Of course we need to. It sucks that a man has to say it for it to have some sort of power, or for anyone to fucking listen, but them’s the breaks, and if that man is Common and his message is this empowering, so be it.
Black women aren’t just holding down jobs and families on the sidelines either when it comes to Black Lives Matter. In fact, police have killed black women, too, but we often hear more about the men. The media covered Sandra Bland, but there have been more than 15 women shot by police since 2012, according to The Huffington Post, that we never really hear about. It’s not like their lives don’t matter, too. Or maybe there’s just no video of them and they slip out of our collective memories.
We shouldn’t let that happen: black women, black women, we see you.