Continued from "Happily Divorced: Why Black Women Should Stay Single, Part I."
Not close to as hardcore as me and Ms Badu's salute to black women who need to let it go, Pastor Jomo K. Johnson writes a book in which he addresses the fact that 2 of 3 black marriages end in divorce and the majority of single women out there are disproportionately black.
I take careful note that my own precious precious Auntie Mabel, who married once and never again, said to me on the event of my third and final divorce, "Uh huh, now you ain't gone do that again, is you?"
I looked at her from underneath starlit with dew and tear-stained eyes. She was my mother (my mother's oldest sister) in the absence of a birth mother, and said, in shame and remorse, "No ma'am."
I can only call the three men I married "tooter," "cooter," and "fruiter." The first one was a cocaine addict, the second a South Carolinian crackhead, and the third, I reserve the right to call him a 'f**,' because I was the wife who put up with his "funny" butt for more than 10 years of my life after I waited 15 whole years to remarry--for nothing.
Auntie's one and only husband, Herbert, died of a drug overdose ... heroin, an addiction she would later have to fight off in her one and only daughter and my equally precious late cousin, Delphine. "Phine" never married because, as she said, she could never find the right man. My own oldest sister, who swore she'd never marry a man who didn't make at least a penny more than she did, finally settled for someone who made way more than a penny less; just to keep from being lonely. I guess. She ended up adapting to my younger and highly dependent sister's kids as auntie-grandma because she never had children of her own.
Finally, with her biological clock ticking, Cousin 'Phine decided to put her hands over her eyes and "pick one" to father her baby. She had pots filled with money from having worked with the Postal Service for 12 years and saved up, A-1 credit with enough credit cards to wrap around the world five times, and her own home, car, and a well-lived life that had traveled the world over. Then she gave birth, as a single black woman, to our cousin, Brandon Earl.
The tragedy is that "Phine" died shortly after Brandon Earl's first birthday, and Auntie ended up raising her only grandson alone. Then, at the age of 21, "baby Brandon" overdosed on prescription meds administered to him by his grandmother from doctors who couldn't agree on which medications he needed to take and gave him two things that ended up stopping his already weakened heart. He was autistic.
A little more than a year later, Auntie left us to join her daughter and grandson, and her baby sister (our mother), her mother, father, and brother who had gone on before her, but I clearly remember her words to me shortly before she died, "You ain't gon' do that no more, is you." I knew my Auntie. It wasn't a question.
Pastor Johnson opens his book with an admonition to black women about divorce rates and choosing to live unhappy maladjusted lives just to "say you got a man." It isn't worth it. So he offers alternatives to marriage that should keep a woman safe in the arms of Yeshua, as Lord and Savior, and off the need-a-man-addiction for life, if need be. He tells them to look beyond marriage; and if not that, then they have no loyalty to black men in spite of the historical truth of the Diaspora.
On the other hand, I found it funny that a white female whom I thought was a friend spent her entire single life chasing after sorry-a black men even after I witnessed a very moneyed white doctor at Crawford Long Hospital ask her out, to which she replied, "He's not my type." Then she gets all dewy-eyed over something that can never be hers in body, soul, or spirit -- some black man that would probably do the same thing to her that all the others had.
The hilarious part is, she's still single and very co-dependent herself, and ended up "playing the p" with a gay male Chicano friend of hers. I couldn't figure out if she was a closet lesbian pretending to be a woman with a male who thought it was a woman, or if he was using her to see what it would be like to be a man, or what.
When I was working at Bank of America, one of my former co-workers, Janice, said "They must be effing," after she met the two of them. I laughed it off, thought "no way," that is ... until I saw her put her head on his shoulder as he was driving her car, and start rubbing his head and nibbling on his ear. Hm. I thought she was straight; but maybe the inside guilt was shaved off by the fact that whatever it was she was messing with did have a male member hanging off it.
Anyway ... Called Tyrone. And he certainly did what was expected of him.
Another friend-girl of mine from Atlanta says she no longer has any interest in black men and exclusively dates older white guys that she finds on "sugardaddy.com." (lol) I asked her why she gave up on the brothas. She answered "Too much Baby Mama drama ... and they stay broke. No man puts his feet under my table asking about dinner when he ain't bought the refrigerator, let alone the food in it."
I got tickled. It's not always true what she said about black men; but I got the gist of what she was saying. She reminded me of my Auntie, very honest and real about it.
Pastor Johnson mentions the statistical reasons why so many black women are 'single never married' or 'single divorced', but he delicately sidesteps "homosexuality," because some black women who find out their husbands are gay opt to stay married to them just for fear of being alone. He also does not say much about the many "black widows" out here whose husbands are buried six-foot deep because of racism, police brutality, black on black crime, drug and alcohol abuse, drug deals gone bad, or just the devastation of sicknesses and disease.
He says: While many women are able to recite the song ["Call Tyrone"] line for line, there are fewer women that actually heed the singer's advice. There is a desperate need for women to call Tyrone. Simply put – there is a need for black women to abandon and boycott relationships with men who are unwilling or are currently unqualified to be husbands. The qualifications are these: if a man does not care for or seek to provide for his current children, if he is sexually promiscuous, or if he is unwilling to work. These three qualifications should be absolutely mandatory for every black woman who enters into a relationship.
If he doesn't 'call Tyrone', she needs to call him for him and tell him to "come on get his sh&%$, cuz she got some hot grits waiting on him." And not let him use her phone.
Come to think of it, maybe I did see it coming. Advice I would have given other black women, I did not heed myself.
My ex-whatever, aside from his "balls to the wall" anabolic steroid addiction and apparent gayness that I did not see at first, also abandoned his baby mama and three young daughters to the streets, and to homelessness, and left them on food stamps and welfare, half-hungry, while he went about spending his own money on "back of Creative Loafing magazine" illicit sex and muscle magazines with loads of pictures of hot sweaty men in tights. And all that while I was paying the household bills and didn't know what he was doing until nearly the end. Pastor Johnson is correct in saying that a man who isn't doing what he should do with the women already in his life don't need to be taken seriously as husbands. Never settle.
In a Q&A interview with Christian Post, Pastor Johnson is asked: What are some of the alternatives for African-American women if they choose not to marry?
Johnson: First and foremost, have a desire to inform and educate all women that they are precious and priceless in the sight of God. Because of that, a woman shouldn't lower herself in any way. In the book what I seek to do is exalt and extol the value of singleness; how it can be a gift of God [and] how it is a blessed gift. The Lord Jesus was single, and he was able to embrace his singleness and use it for the purpose of ministry. I also point to women in history who have given their lives in singleness and really thought to serve others. Singleness is something that the Bible really condones and promotes..."
That said, because I don't want to do any "spoilers" here that take away from the effect of his book. Read it.
I highly recommend that you read it yourself, he's not as hardcore as me when talking about it, and he explains it very well. My friend, Angela, did say I need to "temper the boldness," but I have a god-given tendency that is an inheritance from the black female ancestors who came before me. My Auntie never held her tongue, God rest her soul. If someone asked her a question, she called it like she saw it, even if it hurt. I get that from her.
I wrote my own book called Reggie's Girls to help me deal with the ' discovery' that catapulted and sent me spiraling into deep despair and depression that I often feel there is no way to recover from.
It is a book about the many black women that he left out in the cold, his own mother when she was ill and he refused to move back to New York at my insistence because he was 'addicted to' steroids and the high flinging gay lifestyle he'd found in Atlanta (which I found out about later, toward the end of the marriage), his daughters who tripped all over Atlanta, then New York and New Jersey living on welfare dependency and in and out of homeless shelters even when he had loads of money in his pocket, and finally, me -- his (now ex-) wife, whom he did the same thing to that he had done to his "baby mama." But it would have taken a real black man to do better, of which he was not one of them.
The young black girl who wrote the book "If Jesus is my Husband, why is my bed so cold?" didn't have the insight and wisdom that Pastor Jomo Johnson offers in his book. The heat of God's love is inside, not on the side.
Pastor Johnson takes a refreshing and sensible look at every reasonable reason why a black woman should always be comfortable in her own skin, man or no man. After all, a "Barack Hussein Obama Jr." only comes along once in a lifetime, and he is unquestionably already taken. I said that last sentence, Pastor Johnson did not; but I get his point.
The Black Woman's National Anthem: I Will Survive