Sh*t Bougie Black People Love: “Intelligent” Conversations About Reality TV
The next time you happen across a few random BBP in the street or waiting in line at Target, ask them to do one of their favorite things: name a few qualities an ideal mate would possess. They will not volunteer this information—after all, BBP want others to believe theyâ€™re humble—but they wonâ€™t hesitate to provide it if prompted.
A few common themes will be found in these answers. Often, these themes are separated by gender. For instance, Bougie Black Girls seem to be preternaturally obsessed with worldliness. They wonâ€™t actually say â€œhe must be worldlyâ€ though. Instead, theyâ€™ll make references to not being able to seriously date someone unless he owns a working passport. Theyâ€™ll explain their need for prospective suitors to own passports by saying it shows a willingness to be open-minded.
This, naturally, is bullshit, as the main reason passports are a necessity is that it shows that the suitor has enough disposable income to make frequent trips abroad. But, they know how important it is to seem humble, and stressing â€œit probably means heâ€™s open-mindedâ€ sounds a lot more humble than â€œit probably means he has money.â€
Bougie Black Dudes, on the other hand, will often mention how much they love it when women have natural hair. This is not untrue. In relation to their need to be connected in some way to regular Blacks, BBP—men and women—have become infatuated with the concept of natural hairÂ¹. Savvy Bougie Black Dudes, aware of this infatuation, know theyâ€™ll get â€œpointsâ€ if heard expressing an affinity for weave and perm-less women.
But, theyâ€™ll conveniently leave out that this affinity usually only extends to conventionally attractive women with natural hair or women with â€œgoodâ€ hair who have made the decision to go natural. Basically, either pretty women whose hair makes absolutely no difference with how pretty they are, or women whose natural hair is as soft and voluminous as weave tends to be.
There are some qualities, though, that both Bougie Black Girls and Bougie Black Dudes tend to have on their lists. One is â€œthe ability to have â€œintelligentâ€ conversations about â€œseriousâ€ topics.â€ The â€œseriousâ€ topic usually has something to do with the economy or the prison-industrial system or Asia or whichever other â€œsmartâ€ and â€œseriousâ€ topic is currently being discussed on The Root or MSNBCâ€™s The Cycle. The reasons for this are pretty obvious. BBP want to be seen as â€œsmartâ€ and â€œserious,â€ and â€œneedâ€ to be with people who are equally â€œsmartâ€ and â€œseriousâ€ so they wonâ€™t feel self-conscious about taking them to company functions and Delta boat rides.
Yet, aside from BBP either employed by the federal government or looking to impress a future father-in-law, BBP very rarely actually have these â€œsmartâ€ and â€œseriousâ€ conversations, and—like most people—would be suspicious of and bored by someone who always did.
What they really want is someone whoâ€™s able to make intelligent points about very dumb shit. For BBP, â€œvery dumb shitâ€ = â€œmost popular rap musicâ€ and (most importantly) â€œreality television shows featuring Black people living in New York, Atlanta, Miami, or L.A..â€
That BBP are in loveÂ² with the holy trinity of Black reality television shows (Real Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives, and Love and Hip-Hop) is perhaps the BBPâ€™s worst-kept secret. For the uninitiated, each show revolves around a group of extremely well-coiffed 25 to 45 year old women who have weekly water-throwing battles to help stay in shape. At first glance, this doesnâ€™t seem like the type of fare the image-conscious BBP would enjoy. But, while most of the women on these shows act, dress, and look like theyâ€™re from Mars, there are a few underlying themes many BBP can relate to. Who hasnâ€™t been a concubine for an aging rapper at least once?
Also, BBP relish the opportunity to live vicariously through these characters, as it helps quench the urge to do â€œhoodrat thingsâ€ like â€œfighting on a tiny boatâ€ and â€œhaving kids before 30â€ that grad school and an undying fear of human resource professionals prevented them from doing.
With this appreciation for these shows, itâ€™s no surprise theyâ€™re a frequent topic of conversation when BBP communicate with each other. But, while the subject matter is â€œstupid,â€ the conversations tend not to be, as youâ€™re likely to hear some of the most lucid and cogentÂ theories, arguments, and opinions youâ€™ll ever hear from a BBP. Perhaps theyâ€™re not interested in explaining exactly what sequestration means, but give em three hours and they’ll be able to write a 2000-word deconstruction unpacking the parallels between John the Baptist and Nene Leakes.
The need to have these intelligent conversations about reality television shows featuring Black people comes from a simple place. Keeping up with these shows helps the BBP convince themselves theyâ€™re not too bougie to still understand and appreciate regular Black people—even if these characters tend to be more â€œfaux bourgieâ€ than â€œregular Blackâ€—while the intelligent conversation reminds the BBP and anyone paying attention that â€œHey, we enjoy and appreciate hoodrat things (from afar), but weâ€™re still BBP!!!â€
(If not buying any of this, remember that since Girlfriends no longer airs and thereâ€™s no Black equivalent of HBOâ€™s Girls or Sex in the City, BBP donâ€™t have much to choose from if wanting to see Black people on TV. Moral of the story: When all else fails, just blame White people.)
Â¹Ironically, although natural hair is one of the things BBP associate with being â€œauthentically Black,â€ youâ€™re much more likely to find a BBP with natural hair than a regular Black.
Â² Do not let the BBP convince you this love is ironic. It is not. It is both unironic and unconditional, and anyone doubting the depth of this love needs to just ask a random Bougie Black Girl â€œWhich basketball wife are you?â€ and watch her spend three to five minutes happily explaining exactly why sheâ€™s more of a â€œTammyâ€ than an â€œEvelyn.â€
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)