I’ve been blessed with many talents.
I can eat eight buttermilk pancakes in one sitting. I can recite each of the lyrics from Jesus Christ Superstar on call and without instrumental assistance. I can see asses from the front even if they’re not fat. And I have an innate and uncanny gift for accidentally splashing a drop of pee on new Timberlands within 72 hours of buying them.
Unfortunately, holding grudges is not one of them. I’m a big-ass fucking softie when it comes to getting and staying mad at someone. Which I realize isn’t the worst attribute for someone — a Black man specifically — to possess. Ricky Baker would still be alive if it wasn’t for a grudge. But there are times I wished more things made me angry, and there are times that I wish I could conjure whatever I need to conjure to stay mad at someone longer than I usually do. It gets so bad that I’ve pretended to still be angry about something I just didn’t give a damn about anymore, because I recognized that a sufficient period of time hadn’t yet passed and the source of my displaced anger shouldn’t get off the hook so easily.
And so, on my lifelong journey to find some sort of escalating and instigating ideal, I appreciate Janet Hubert for the inspiration she continues to be. She is the Goat of Grudges, the High-Priestess of Petty, the Baron of Being Perpetually Bothered, the LaVar Ball of Inserting Yourself In Shit That Has Nothing To Do With Your Ass Anymore, and I wish to learn how she manages to keep the flame hot for so long.
Its been over two decades since Hubert was dismissed from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where she clashed with Will Smith and subsequently accused him of sabotaging her career. Whether her admittedly damaging claims are true is something only Smith and Hubert know. But what everyone knows is that the fuck-deprived Blacktress’s vendetta has blessed us with phrases like “media ho” (which she called Alfonso Ribeiro and Stacey Dash) and “ass-wipe for Will” (which she also called Alfonso Ribeiro) and a template for how to grapple a grievance like a metal clip on an indoor rock climbing wall.
Real talk, she could actually be an inspiration for us against Donald Trump. Whenever the calls for us to resist and prevent him and his administration from being “normalized” appear too daunting, remember that Janet Hubert has been on a one-woman mission for 24 years and seems to have no intentions of letting up. At this point, she’s basically the Black Beatrix Kiddo.
Perhaps that’s the answer. Maybe the next time I really, really want to be mad at someone for doing something I think I should be really, really mad about but just aint, I’ll think of this picture.
And the spirit of the jaded Blacktress will rise up in me like yeast or acid reflux, and I’ll finally be able to grip a grudge too.