I used to attend a Christian church which needed to employ a drummer.
Now I know one or two female drummers but they tend to be rare breeds at least around here. Anyway a woman drummer was recommended to me and I followed up by giving her a call to find out if she would be available for work. What I found at the end of the phone line was a surly, ill mannered woman who couldn’t even be bothered to be pleasant and enthused about the offer of a job. After a monosyllabic conversation (on her part), I booked her to play one session at least, against my instinct over the situation and surely as I expected, she turned up late and couldn’t join the musicians etc etc. So the whole thing was a failure and I still had to pay her travel costs!
Folks those of you who have instrument skills know that it is hard to get. It takes patience, and discipline and nights of frustration when you want to throw the trumpet at the wall. Why would anyone go through what it takes to acquire such a generally rare skill to hamper it with poor manners.
Now I know musicians are known for being absolute divas but often this is after they have become recognized masters at their craft and when they have achieved the fame and money. This woman was in the market for a job as a drummer, and not some famous and well paid star, so why the bad attitude towards a prospective employer?
After thinking about this for a while I came up with my theory.
This woman was of African descent and therein I believe lies the key.
Now in the UK Africans have a large network of ‘Pentecostal churches’, some attended by anything up to 2,000 people on Sunday (very small compared to US I know!). I believe that this young woman didn’t feel the need to ‘cultivate’ outer contacts or be ‘open’ to wider approach because she believed (and maybe was correct), that she would be well taken care of within her community network (where have we come across this attitude before lol!). Remember the biblical parable told by Jesus that I keep mentioning, about the ‘wise’ manager who only ‘discovered’ a need to cultivate wider friendships when he learnt he was about to be ’fired’!
Yes, its all good and well to be insular and turn your nose at networking wider, but what happens when black community becomes a place of unfulfilled dreams, and famine for black women for instance in finding interested men who want to marry? What happens when she is not able to get her needs met within said community eg she needs to make a living outside it?
Indeed, this whole insular attitude thing I believe speaks to another key issue. Black women often package themselves for ‘their community’. I see it all around me as I go to and fro in my daily journeys. They present themselves, dress themselves, have mannerisms, emote etc in ways that are understood subliminally to make them black community property. Its very intangible very subtle, but I believe there is metaphorically speaking a ‘uniform’ that black women don that denotes them as Black community items you know, ‘if found please return to your nearest black community’ kind of thing going on. Designed to appeal only within and be available to only the black community, its men and its people. The thing here is that many of us who hope to broaden our horizons, go around with the same uniform unknowingly mostly because we mimic each other and possibly on some level think, ‘this is how black women are suppose to dress‘.
I think this is one reason why black women can be teeming around white men and vice versa yet somehow white men do not ‘see’ them. On some level black women have been filed under ‘reserved for black only’. We are hidden in plain sight because we are in a dress and presentation code which is picked up and understood to locate one rigidly within black only and one which says, we welcome only interaction overtures from blacks.
Black in love with color black
There is just something about the color black that black women cant do without. Most of the black women around me, if not dressed head to toe in the stuff, have at least two items of clothing that are black (I am outing myself here as a black wearer also!). Is it because it is safe, neutral or a color to hide many sins or maybe we can wear it with other things (as in a black shoe can be worn with so many other colors but not the same with say blue).
May suggestion is try and look at other neutral colors, give greys a go or browns. Add something quirky to your ensemble. A signal to tell people, ‘Hey woman of the world coming through’.
And you know the kicker here, Weaves and straight styles have become a part of this ‘black uniform’. Nothing marks black women out as ‘firmly within her community,’ than that parted straight weave style that many black women wear!
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