Featured, Sh*t Bougie Black People Love

Hillary Crosley Coker Is A Writing Ass Chick We Love

Hillary Crosley Coker writes for Jezebel, founded Parlor Magazine, and is the best person to know if you ever need to find “Hmm. That really wasn’t all that bad. I’ve had worse tacos” tacos in SoHo. And since I take taco recommendations quite seriously, this is more than enough for her to qualify as a Writing Ass Chick We Love.

Every week, there seems to be a new one of your very famous cousins with very large fanbases — Michael B Jordan, Ice Cube, T.I., etc — voluntarily saying shit to jeopardize it all. 

Why can’t your cousins just keep their feet out of their mouths? Why is this so difficult for them to do?

Crosley Coker: Regarding Michael Bae Jordan, as my buddy Michael Arceneaux calls him, there are many different worlds people move through–two are the everyday people’s world and the Hollywood folks’ world. Michael Bae tried to parlay that Hollywood talk to everyday people and it didn’t work out.

In the Hollywood world, it’s not unusual to end up partying with the only Kardashian Jenner with an actual job. Kylie is the only one of that group who is succeeding at life, she is a working model outside of the family’s reality shows. But for everyday people, you must be doing some wild shit or shopping at Macy’s while the family’s peddling their next product–apps, lung compressors, baby clothes, their souls, whatever–to be in the same venue with “America’s First Family” (c) Cosmopolitan.

Michael tried to say that interracial dating is not a big deal (it’s not, as long as you don’t date other races OVER Black women. If you do, that’s a whole other conversation). But he said that in defense of being seen with a Kardashian Jenner. THAT was his mistake.

Saying you love women of all shades? Fine.

Saying you’re possibly open to dating a Kardashian Jenner while rumored to be saying All Lives Matter? *Black America implodes*

Blacks have already lost too many men to the Kardashians and the police, though they can have Tyga and Ray J. (Not the police, that’d be cruel.)

Then of course, there’s Raven-Symone, who’s been repeatedly called out by the Delegation Of Internet Black People (me included) for at least a half dozen things, including acting like her name wasn’t motherfucking Raven-Symone. A person with a dash, a hyphen, a unique spelling of Simone, and an actual first name named after an actual Black-ass bird probably shouldn’t admit to wanting to discriminate against people with Black-ass names. 

That said, I do feel somewhat sympathetic towards celebrities and entertainers who get shit wrong. In no small part because I get paid to follow, critique, and deconstruct this race/culture/pop culture shit, and I still get shit very wrong sometimes. And not “wrong” in terms of having a wrong or unpopular opinion. Everyone has those. But wrong in the “yeah, I probably shouldn’t have taken that angle” context.

You write for Jezebel, which means you write approximately 4472 different pieces a week. And I’m assuming you get shit wrong sometimes. How do you handle what happens when that happens? 

Crosley Coker: Man, it happens. Mistakes and poor takes are why I double and triple check what I say and write because best believe, the innanet will never let you forget your bad move. For example, recently I wrote up the Stonewall film trailer and though I sort of thought ‘Where are the people of color in this movie? Stonewall was set off by us (meaning people of color) but this movie’s about some White dude?‘ when I first saw it, but I didn’t include that in my post. And then the LGBT community reacted to the trailer online like ‘Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck this whitewashed bullshit’ and I apologized on social media because I knew better but was too busy thinking about distractions to notice. It’s not a huge mistake but it’s… a huge mistake for a person who prides herself on inclusion, diverse representation and calling out misrepresentations in pop culture. The first thing to do when you make a mistake is own it, it’s hard to argue with a person who just says ‘You’re right, I fucked up.’ Secondly, learn the lesson and don’t do it again and third, always remember that whatever you write on the internet stays on the internet. You gotta be on point out here in these streets or someone will dig up something you wrote 11,000 years ago when you were a dumb 20-something to discredit you.

From Soraya McDonald’s piece on Whoopi a couple weeks ago:

Goldberg finds herself in a celebrity culture for which she wasn’t made and couldn’t have predicted, and she and her contemporaries have struggled to keep up as the chains of progress have moved down the field (see also: Jerry Seinfeld, Matt Damon and Chrissie Hynde, among others).”

While it’s about current celebrity culture, I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to how we all struggle at internet-ing. Chuck Klosterman once said (paraphrasing) the internet is evolving faster than our ability to assess and understand it. Or perhaps it was Carmelo Anthony who said it. Who knows? Either way, I think about that often because it seems like none of us are any good at this. Some people are just less bad at it than others. Like, remember when the Dutty Wine was popular, and clubs were filled with women attempting to do that dance, but only 3% to 5% could pull it off without giving themselves a concussion? That’s how internet-ing feels sometimes. “Success” just means we haven’t dizzily spun ourselves into the DJ booth yet.

Crosley Coker: Yeah, I can agree with most people ruining the Dutty Wine (aka the internet) while two people are actually doing it right. The problem is, the internet, like the Dutty Wine, is just so fun to mess around on. For a lot of people, the web is like a drug, right. Take a selfie, upload it and strangers tell you that you’re attractive. Say something smart on Twitter and Ta-Nehisi retweets you and you jokingly say “Mama I made it” but you’re only partially kidding. Or maybe that was just me. The internet is the best and worst of us and for better and worse it’s all on the web forever, Lord help us.

The thing that bugs me is the high school vibe of it all. One person will purposely Say Something Incendiary, troll the web and social media will fall over itself to say something, positive or negative. It’s frustrating because creativity is supposed to be different and odd. Perhaps you don’t get the performance or work initially but maybe you will eventually… or not. But in chasing clicks and racing to deliver the first hot take on the biggest trending topics on Google, we seem to move in a circle of sharing the same opinions from just slightly different perspectives.

Of course, while we’re having this talk about bad internet-ing, a trapping, “ho-trip”-taking, and ridiculously resourceful *former* stripper named Zola happened. And happened to use the internet to tell the best and most compelling story of shitty things happening to people since the Book of Job. She seems to be great at internet-ing. Why can’t we all internet like Zola?

Crosley Coker: Zola’s story is the best piece of Street Lit I’ve read in years! Years! Those 150-something tweets were amazing. Man, we can’t all internet like Zola, which makes this a great moment in not only Black history but internet history. Reading her story for the first time, I was gobsmacked. It was clear that, if the tale’s true, sex work as a personal choice is still a-ok with me but everyone in those tweets is going to jail, several folks need therapy and sex trafficking must be stopped. And I gleaned all of that from 150 tweets! Again, the internet is the best and worst of humanity these days but damn if it can’t be wildly entertaining when it wants to be.

You can find Hillary Crosley Coker at Jezebel, and follow her @HillaryCrosley.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • YeaSoh

    I’ve only got two things to say:

    LOVE the hair and anyone with Coker in their name wins in my book.

  • Nicky D

    Dope! Hillary is my cousin.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for this series, VSB. Will have to check out more of her writing.

  • QuirlyGirly

    I appreciate this series it is good to be introduced to writers I may not normally find.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    Well…I guess I know who I’ll be stalking now.

  • PhlyyPhree

    This interview made me definitely want to read her work. Now I have another way to not do work at work.
    Thanks!

  • LadyIbaka

    Kendall is the model not Kylie.

  • That Zola is fine as all get out but it is hard to look up to someone who went from Hooters waitress to stripper to prostitute in 24 hours. That’s just poor decision making.

    • SirKnows DevoidofPunk

      Fam, that’s determination and elbow grease. Zola had a vision, put it out into the universe like THE SECRET and tadow!!! Professional Pole & Clear Heeled Engineer.

      • Aspiring writer. Just when you thought street lit was trash, enter twitter.

        • SirKnows DevoidofPunk

          same hustle, fresher corner.

    • BeautifullyHuman

      Did Lola prostitute? I thought she was doing the Backpage pimping? The white chick was doing the prostituting.

      • Whoever Rudy was, is now in jail in NV for basically pimping. According to the story she was there for two weeks but only the White girl was turned out, I think.

        • CamCamtheGreat

          Two weeks? I thought it all happened in a weekend; like a Friday-esque “whole movie’s worth of shxt happens in 24 hours” type deal.

          • Naw, I think it was longer. This is what happens with twitter stories. Nobody agrees on the whole thing.

            • CamCamtheGreat

              I don’t know, man. Based on the story, I can’t really see her staying with those people for two weeks and never just peacing out and catching a flight home. Also, I know it’s just Hooters, but they’re really allowing 2-week vacations with less than a day’s notice? That sounds like a stretch. Then again, the whole story is a stretch.

              • Yeah, but who with a steady job (2 jobs), hops in a car with people she don’t know and rides to Orlando? Apparently this Rudy has some serious game.

                • CamCamtheGreat

                  *Miami.

                  • Still, she’s lucky they didn’t feed her to the gators.

              • The story only works if you solely fixate how absurd and how outlandish it all is. Anything beyond that and it crumbles. I don’t mean that harshly. It something that perfectly encapsulates great storytelling, but SOLELY for Twitter’s format. It won’t translate well beyond that with a bunch of elaborate alterations to the entire story.

    • uNk

      If I read ol girl tweets correctly, I think she was already into that before the trip and Hooters just happened to be her side hustle

      • She must not be that good to have no kids and still need a day job.

    • CamCamtheGreat

      lol Who’s looking up to Zola tho?

      • esa

        i am ! she negotiating deals with movie studios, publishers, the whole nine yards. i’m saying everyone got stories, but not everyone can spin a yarn ~*~

        • CamCamtheGreat

          Name some studios or publishers she’s at least “in talks” with. And links to the articles/blog posts/fake memes that are providing this information. I need receipts.

          • esa

            as i wasn’t invited to the meetings, i’ll await the official announcements in Variety and PW when signed contracts are announced. salut !

      • She did win twitter to a degree that we haven’t seen in a while.

    • Epsilonicus

      What is a Zola?

  • SirKnows DevoidofPunk

    Hilary Crosley Coker… never heard of her… If her writing is as bad as these pics, I got another literary crush… yeah I’m shallow like that, but she fine and nothing sexier than a fine mind.

  • Nick Peters

    I hate to be this guy….

    But I never understood how the “you can date whoever you want and no one can judge you for it and it says nothing about your character” logic always falls short of straight black men.

    • Charles Johnson

      and black women too, albeit not to the same extent as brothas. I see you added “straight” as a qualifier and wanted to know if the same is true within LGBTQI communities of color. i’m interested about what you and other VS members think as well

      • In a lot of circles, Black men are expected to be the aggressor in relationships and the things people covet do say things about them. This is sort of a strange pairing with the idea that niccas will bang anything. It’s sort of a no win situation.

        • Charles Johnson

          i feel what you’re saying. in the very least you’re describing me. LOL.

    • Freebird

      No answers for this one here Sway.

    • Because there’s a long history with how straight Black men vocalize their desires to not date Black women.

      • -h.h.h.-

        the liberal side of me wishes to ask “how long must we be tied down to the actions of the past?”

        the Vader side of me, however, has Force-slammed the liberal side, so i will just agree with your statement.

        • Well I mean it’s the present too. Dudes are still waxing poetic about dating non-Black women so they can have daughters with fair skin and curly hair. It’s not an “in the past” thing.

          • -h.h.h.-

            i don’t think it’s specific to males though…some females also desire progeny with certain skin and hair traits.

            • It’s a problem of branding.

              Black guys who date women outside a race have a brand associated with them, that exists outside of the context of their actual relationship.

              • Epsilonicus

                Agreed

          • DNA

            Man don’t just blame it on dudes though. I’ve met plenty of black girls the past 2 years in the city that fawn over any guy that isn’t black. I had a group of black women tell me they don’t date black men cuz we’re all trifling. Like legit no irony or sarcasm in their voice either when they said this to me. And I was on one date where I had this chick tell me she prefers white guys but I’m still kinda cute. Select dumb black men and women both play their part in self-hatred don’t just blame it on the guys.

            • Freebird

              ” I had a group of black women tell me they don’t date black men cuz we’re all trifling. ”

              Thats because we are.

              • DNA

                You right I forgot sorry lol.

            • ugh, this kind of ignorance irks me on another level. Uncle Ruckus bishes smh

        • The nerd side of me laughed at the visual of the Vader side of you Force-slamming the liberal side of you lol

      • Freebird

        would you say most black men you know do this?

        • Most as in like ~80%? No. It is definitely a large and vocal minority though.

          • Freebird

            i find it odd that the number of black men i see and know walking around with black women or talking up black women (even if they are with a non black woman) is somehow trumped by folks feelings about the few men they hear making this preference known on twitter and youtube channels. but then again I’m cool with who people date not being a revolutionary statement (most of the time). i understand the sting some folks feel, but the whole thing seems kind of old and not very 2000 now.

    • -h.h.h.-

      that’s why i do my best to never talk about my preferences.

      • Freebird

        you might be on to something. it seems that as a black man your preferences are political statements while for other it is an expression of personal choice.

      • I don’t really have a preference myself, I have codes and standards, but not really preference. I won’t lie, that’s a very American thing, I remember living abroad and never hearing a person ask such a question.

        I factor that with the whole kind of “Identity-ism” epidemic in America. Your preference is your identity. If you like thicker women for instance, you are a BBW lover? If you like your women thin, you love girls who are borderline anorexic or who order salads at restaurants. It’s a question that asks you not who you have dated, but if you were in perfect control, had all the money in the world etc, who’d you actually date. Like all trends in America, it’s not about what you do, but rather about what you dream about doing, and are likely never going to achieve.

        The Baby Boomer legacy continues.

    • vtriplei

      Yo this thread is lit

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