The Rise of the Sophistiratchet

Wednesdays just got better y’all!!! Not only will you be reading my blogs, there is a new podcast out that is dope on so many levels.

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For any of you who don’t know who Angela Rye is…GET FAMILIAR.

Not only is she an intelligent CNN Commentator, but she is woke as hell and she is a political force to be reckoned with. She’s been on every show from Real Time with Bill Maher to The Breakfast Club and she is consistently checkin’ folks as only a Black woman can.

Every time Angela shuts down a white man, an angel gets its wings.

I’m convinced.  

Sophistiratchet

Angela is taking all of that intellect and passion and making it her own. I was officially smitten once she referred to herself as sophistiratchet (sophisticated and ratchet) cause all I could think was; that should be on my resume.

Angela Rye is dope, not just because of what she says but how she says it.

We all know what sophisticated means. When I think sophisticated, I think educated, reserved, well-traveled, enjoys the finer things. For Black women, think Clair Huxtable.

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Urban Dictionary defines ratchet as: A ghetto-dialect mispronunciation of the English termwretched.” Some synonyms are ghetto, busted, cheap, hood or nasty. But here’s the thing, I just Googled “Sophisticated women” and I scrolled past about 20 images of White women before I saw a Black woman.

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So what I gathered from Google is that Black women aren’t seen as sophisticated. But on sight, Angela looks like your typical sophisticated woman but that word is too simple to describe the magic that is Angela and Black women like her. Because when it’s time to go off, sophistication goes out the window and she goes from 0 to 100 real quick. It’s important to see, that as Black women, we are knowledgeable, experienced and cosmopolitan but we are also hood, ghetto and we can get nasty too. Now think Clair Huxtable plus Medea.

There is this notion that if you are a Black person who has “made it,” you need to distance yourself from the hood as much as possible.

You gotta eat the caviar instead of the wings.
You gotta shop at Ann Taylor instead of Rainbow.
You gotta prove you’re not one of “those niggas.”

Angela  doesn’t separate those things. She lets us know that we are the caviar AND the wings. You can be Gina and Shaneneh. We don’t have to choose between the two. She is telling all of us that being ratchet does not make anyone less informed, less intelligent or less worthy of a platform because of how we choose to express ourselves, especially in spaces that have not always been welcoming to Blacks, such as political spaces.

Growing up, Blacks have always been taught to code switch (articulate, no slang when you’re at school, at work, at court or wherever White folks are) but NAH.

Angela is showing us that you can speak however the hell you want as long as you have the facts.

Let’s think of Angela as the Muhammad Ali of verbally knocking out White men and let’s look at a few of her highlights.

Angela Rye Shutting down White Ignorance on TV

Angela Rye v. Joe Walsh

On CNN, Angela Rye basically called Joe Walsh out about his tweet in which he stated that “we lowered the bar for Barack Obama because he was Black.” First off, you don’t come for Mr. Barack Obama, A.K.A, 44, A.K.A., our forever president and think that there won’t be any repercussions.

When I looked at Angela waiting to speak her piece, she looked like she was waiting to beat up her little cousin’s bully at the bus stop after school. She was ready to throw verbal jab after jab of the many ways 45 has been a disgrace to this country.  All I could think was “If this girl had a jar of vaseline and some Timbs, she might just stomp Joe out.”

Here she is on national television letting a White man know that he does not get to be right just because he’s White and his racist comments will not be tolerated. Not only that, but how long are we going to allow mediocre White men to run this country (into the ground)? Black people are always accused of pulling the race card and she lets Joe know that she will play that card as long as he keeps shuffling the race deck. This was a warning to all of the Joes of the country who think they can continue to attack our last real president and Black people without being called out.

Angela Rye v. Steve Moore

A few weeks before the election, Angela appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and had a back and forth with Steve Moore, a supporter of y’alls President.

Steve must not have gotten the memo because if he ever heard the saying “Never touch a Black woman’s hair,” he would’ve known that you don’t touch the rest of her body either, especially after you just came for her culture. When she told him not to put his racist ass hands on her, she immediately became my shero.

As Black women, we are hyper-aware of our visibility, or lack thereof. Angela let the panel and the audience know that she was not there to be a Black prop on the panel but that she was going to be heard. Too often, White people want to pathologize us and diagnose our communities.

Steve Moore really thought that he was an “expert” on the Black condition in this country and Angela was not having any of it. To reference Damon Wayans’ character in the Spike Lee film, Bamboozled, Black people don’t need anymore White people who think they are “Niggerologists.”

As someone who is subjected to and surrounded by racist comments on a regular basis, Angela shows me that I don’t need to let those comments go unchecked. These things need to be addressed on the spot and I’ve actually been practicing just that. I want a mash up of Angela going off on White men played on repeat before I step outside my door every morning. I really think I can meditate to that… but I digress.

Angela Rye’s new Platform: The Podcast

Just when you thought she couldn’t be more magical, Angela decided to host her own podcast called On One with Angela RyeScreen Shot 2017-07-18 at 6.38.39 AM.png

For any of you who don’t know what it means to be “on one,” Urban Dictionary has provided y’all with a definition:

On one: Just generally trippin’, tweakin’, weird, actin’ a fool, blackin’ out, goin’ off

Goin’ off  is the definition I’ll use cause with this administration, and this country’s constant attack on Black people and Blackness, I am always ready for people to be on one.

On the first episode that dropped July 12th, Angela had Congresswoman Maxine Waters AKA Auntie Maxine AKA Queen Maxine on her show.

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As a Black woman who loves to be around other Black women, I felt like they were in my living room and I was just soaking up all their greatness.

Here are the 10 reasons why this was an important first episode:

  1. Two intelligent Black women discussing politics, pop culture and all the ways that y’alls president is garbage.
  1. Intergenerational dialogue which is so necessary. Angela makes sure that the Millennials know who Queen Maxine is and about the work that she has been doing for decades to ensure equity, justice and accountability of our elected officials.
  1. Queen Maxine’s favorite rapper is the late, great Tupac Shakur. What?!? You go Auntie Maxine.
  1. She understood and was vocal about the ramifications that the War on Drugs would have on poor communities and communities of color before anyone voiced it.
  1. She was out here in these streets trying to squash the beef between the Bloods and Crips. Can you say gangsta and I ain’t talking about the gang members?
  1. They’re both calling out Democrats for not doing better by their constituents.
  1. Auntie Maxine is pushing for all of us, especially Millennials to get more involved in politics. This is not the time to withdraw and disengage but to fight because she still is. But we all know she won’t be here forever so who will she pass the torch to? It has to be the young people.
  1. She defends and continues to defend Hip Hop as an art form and an important form of storytelling and believes in protecting it from censorship.
  1. She fights against all types of racism especially institutional racism, which is “systems designed to keep us [Blacks] from realizing our true potential.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
  1. Auntie Maxine gets the last laugh. She references the shade that Bill O’Reilly threw when he called her hair a “James Brown wig”. Not too long after that, guess who was fired from Fox News? Gotta love the universe.

Why Educators Need to Come to Cousin Angie’s Cookout.

I thought it would be obvious by now, but basically, I’m promoting this podcast because I think we need as many of our voices reaching as many ears as we can. To educators:

  •      I walk into too many classes that are just dead. No music, no videos, nothing! Podcasts are amazing and a good way to teach listening skills.
  •      Motivation for students is so important. If you’re going to assign homework, have students subscribe to culturally relevant and responsive platforms such as On One. Don’t make it extra credit. Make it mandatory.
  •      We want our kids to be more civically engaged and politically informed and this is one way to do that. The first episode of this podcast has already encouraged people to go to their school boards, look up and reach out to their elected officials and talk to them. They emphasized the fact that we as taxpayers pay their salaries and they work for us. We need to hold them accountable. Amen.

Lastly, here are some other podcasts that I listen to that might be of interest:

NPR’s Code Switchjournalism that addresses race and the way we are affected by it, culturally, politically and daily. Some topics include the Broadway show, Hamilton, Black Lives Matter, the LA riots and immigration. It’s also hosted by a Black man and an Iranian-Puerto Rican woman.

Another Round Hosted by two black women, Heben and Tracy. They’re comedians who interview people like Morris Day and Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster owner, Marcus Samuelsson. They talk about and celebrate Blackness in a way that isn’t so heavy cause we all need some Black joy every now and then.

Bronzeville– This just came out at the beginning of the year and stars Laurence Fishburne and Larenz Tate. It’s about a Black-run community on the southside of Chicago in the 1940s. Although it involves numbers running and violence, and exposure to another thriving Black community in history was enough to get me to listen to all 10 episodes. Look them up.

Just know that Black excellence is everywhere and I’m looking forward to my weekly fix of Angela.

I’m definitely on one. Y’all should get on one too.

5 comments

  1. Love this, just like I love your insights every week. Thanks for introducing me to Angela, a new woman crush. Her poise, intelligence and confidence should be an inspiration to all women of color. Keep putting us on, girl!!!

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    • Thanks girl. We need to see people of color, especially women representing and showing that we are in these spaces and not only are we paying attention to what’s going on around us but we’re responding to it.

      Like

  2. I am always an avid fan of black women who push the envelop and raise the bar for other women of color. I started to embrace my sophisticated rachetness after leaving my prior school. In addition to the politics and nonsense that carried on, I always felt as though I couldn’t be quite myself. I love wearing my natural hair, but I also love wearing weaves especially colorful hair. I felt pressured to be this extra professional individual, with extra professional hair and clothes and speech, or else. I really felt in bondage. After leaving that school, I vowed to be my whole self. Because honestly while my sophistication gets me in the door, my rachetness get my students the scores. So if an organization wants me they must accept the entire package… my high heels, pencil skirt, educated, experienced, bald headed, non confrontational, rapping, weave and colorful wig wearing, Ebonics taking, passionate, competitive, self. Love this!!!

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    • I’m here for all of what you’re saying. But how do we make sure that girls are growing up to embrace both? Who let us know that it was ok to be ourselves and when did that happen? I still got women asking me, they let you wear your hair and your nails like that at work? All I can think is, let me? We have to give ourselves permission to be sophistiratchet and rep it every chance we get.

      Like

  3. I absolutely LOVE Angela Rye!!!!
    I did not know she launched a podcast. Thank you for sharing and spreading your knowledge.

    Like

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