During the last episode of Being Mary Jane we realized that even Mary Jane has a limit. Her toxic relationship with Cece has finally come to an end.

After Cece had hustled and manipulated her out of thousands of dollars, Mary Jane took matters into her own hands by staging a fake interview for a book about their so-called friendship, but she was actually tricking Cece into a confession. Cece was shocked, and even her clever nature did not prepare her for this trap. Throughout this season, Cece has been extremely perceptive and easily summed up other people’s personalities in a matter of minutes. Cece played on Mary Jane’s insecurities as a career-driven black woman. She even admitted that she knew Mary Jane would be easy to extort because she knew she would do anything to maintain her career. Cece was aware that, like many successful black women, Mary Jane feared losing her status and would do anything to avoid being a failure.

What set Cece apart from other extortionists was her charm and intelligence. On the surface, Cece appeared to be a poor black woman with average intelligence, but Cece was well versed in W.E.B. Du Bois, understood legal contracts and was aware various news platforms. What kept Mary Jane fascinated by Cece was the fact that she never ceased to amaze her with her knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement and social justice. Just about every conversation with Cece tied in the need for African Americans to come together and fight against systematic oppression.  

The thing about Cece is she represents the hypocrisy and misguided attitudes of Many African Americans. While she complained about the oppression of black people at the hands of “the white man” she constantly used and guilt-tripped her own people. Any time Mary Jane disagreed with Cece she threw her success in her face and implied that Mary Jane didn’t care about her own or had more than enough money to spare. Cece confused giving back to the community with owing every black person who comes demanding money. Should affluent people of color give back to their community? Yes, but it should never come in the form of a manipulator who quotes revolutionary figures while asking for reparations from their own people. There should never be a selfish person ready to rob their people in order to build their own success. We cannot take on Malcolm’s perspective and obtain what we want, “by any means necessary.”

If we do, will be no better than the oppressors we speak out against. Cece’s intelligence and determination could have been channeled into becoming a lawyer, activist or professor. Instead, she used her wit to become a criminal and pass her self-serving behavior off as an “unconventional friendship” which led her into a jail cell. I have seen many book-quoting fast talkers who could have used their cunning nature to become great businessmen or women but instead they swindled their own people. Our economic salvation will not come through ruthless acts.

Those who recognize this type of personality in our own friendships and families need to rid ourselves of them. They might be bible-hugging deviants who remind others that charity is the foundation of being a good Christian or friends who didn’t quite reach success who constantly expect you to pay their way through life. The worst of them all will use your secrets against you and use any advice they give you as debt. No matter how charismatic and kind they might appear, just keep them at distance. Because they will always hit you with a low blow like the comment Cece made about Mary Jane being responsible for Lisa’s suicide. These kinds of people are emotional leeches, so don’t allow them to suck the life out of you. As we go into the new year, eliminating these people should be at the top of your list. If you’re one of those people, you need to turn your life around.

We are supposed to work with each other, not against each other.

Kiara Morgan is a writer who enjoys writing about issues in the black community. She has been published in Those People magazine and For Harriet. You can follow her at @TropicalDelite.