Memes are fun. They allow the everyday person to joke around on social media. They allow us to rib our friends or poke fun at something trending on the inter-webs. They’re the still-life version of our favorite gifs. One of the current trends in memes will show four or so celebrities that we love and say, “One gotta go. Which one?” Even magazines are getting in on the fun. At first, I laughed at them, especially the ones that make me sing, “one of these things is not like the other.” I thought about making my own meme. Then, I started thinking more deeply about it…

one’s gotta go
Photo: YouTube

Now, my knee-jerk reaction is to say “Get MJB outta there!” (And no, I don’t want to get into some lengthy debate about how the soulfulness of MJB’s songs allow for her vocal crimes to be overlooked. That’s a conversation for another day.) However, when we start talking about alleviating the attitudes and trends that promote divisiveness in our communities, this “game” is completely counter-productive in our efforts to do so. Especially in the entertainment industry, it’s often playing into the idea that the older folks need to be pushed out to make room for the newer, shinier, trendier folks. I’m personally still as into Janet’s “You Want This” as I am into Rihanna’s “B**** Better Have My Money.” And honestly, there might have been no Riri without Janet paving the way. Where’s the meme recognizing how they’re both beautiful, successful, powerful women of the African Diaspora still breaking new ground in the music industry?

I know what you’re thinking. They’re just memes. She’s getting too deep with this.

That’s what we tend to say when we’d rather not think critically about our actions, when we’d rather get lost in the trends, when it’s more fun to keep laughing. Ask yourself: who’s laughing at us? Because there are people out there who are serious about their idea that “one gotta go” when referencing black folks. There are people who think we actually have enough representation already, and that there’s no need for more. There are powerful people who think this whole “diversity thing” is over the top. That the best talent will naturally rise to the top. Nah, homie. One AIN’T gotta go. We all gotta stay, and we’re bringing our cousins, too!

For these reasons, I will never post a meme that asks me to disregard one of us. There’s enough of that going on already.

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