So, after a day’s worth of thinking, writing, and talking about what makes a name “Black,” if there’s a right and wrong degree of Blackness for a name, the etymology of Barkevious, and fried chicken, I spent the evening wondering how the demographic most hyper conscious of and sensitive to race—Bougie Black People (BBP)—manages to find the perfect level of Blackness with everything else they care about.
Actually, this is a lie. I spent no time “wondering” about anything. As an admitted BBP—and expert arbiter of BBP best practices—I know exactly how to find the sweet spot between “not Black enough” and “a tad bit too Black.” And, while this determination is dependent on a complex labyrinth of experience, observation, education, and proximity to Black Girls Run, I’ve decided to hide most of the work for you all today and just show a few of the results.
Woman with Perfect Level of Blackness
Despite having absolutely no idea who this woman is, where she’s from, what she does for a living, and whether she “dated” Stevie J, a quick glance at a few context clues in this picture lets us know she’s perfectly Black.
She’s brown-skinned, a perfect complexion for a Bougie Black Man who doesn’t want to catch heat for being colorstruck but also doesn’t want his girl to break up with him because he didn’t think Dark Girls was all that good. She has creatively natural hair, a style signaling “I love Zumba and Thai food!!!” Her earrings let you know that while she shops at Gilt.com, she’s not above rocking something copped from a vendor outside of a GoGo in Silver Spring. And, she’s wearing a scarf on what looks to be a 60 degree night. A not Black enough Black girl would have gone for a windbreaker there, and it would be too cold for a bit too Black girl to even be outside.
Show with perfect level of Blackness
Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell
Bell’s show manages to be smart and Black enough to impress other Black people when they learn you’re a fan, but not so Black that the content either goes over non-Black people’s heads or scares the f*ck out of them. Both The Melissa Harris Perry Show and Key & Peele would seem to have a perfect level of Blackness as well, but Totally Biased stands alone for two reasons.
1. It’s not as popular as those other two shows. This makes it more exclusive, and nothing says perfect level of Blackness better than arbitrary exclusivity.
2. W. Kamau Bell isn’t light skinned.
Food with perfect level of Blackness
Shrimp and Grits
Grits add character. And, by “character” I mean “Blackness.” Adding shrimp to the grits instead of ox tail or pig burps, though, let’s everyone know you’re making a conscious choice to eat “better” while also letting everyone know you’re still Black enough to consider eating seafood to actually be a sign of eating “better.”
Rapper with perfect level of Blackness
The former Little Brother frontman/current Foreign Exchange frontman is authentically Black and produces authentically Black content with realistically Black themes–which makes him too Black for not Black enough people. He’s also a uber-talented rapper who doesn’t rap on his albums anymore—which makes him perfectly Black for those seeking that perfect level of Blackness.
Sporting activity with perfect level of Blackness
BBP striving to find the perfect level of Blackness need to stay in relatively good shape. Form fitting clothes make it easier for cops to see you’re not carrying any weapons, but it’s hard to comfortably wear form fitting clothes with a beer belly. And while cross fit and insanity may do the trick, it can be awkward always having your cat lick your thighs while doing ab workouts.
So, you need to do something outdoors. The special shoes only purchased at special stores needed to compete in marathons and rock climbing contests make them not quite Black enough, though, and any sport that Blacks with names like Lebron and TayShawn are able to play professionally is far too Black.
Co-ed kickball, however, finds the perfectly Black sweet spot. The sport contains a ball—making it a bit too Black for the not Black enough—but you have to buy a special Kickball ball that seems to only be sold at Target and select Rite-Aids—making it not Black enough for the bit too Black.
White person with perfect level of Blackness
Finds the perfectly Black sweet spot for two reasons
1. Not quite Black enough Blacks won’t appreciate her relationship with Tracy Morgan—lieutenant jester of the bit too Black Blacks.
2. Bit too Black Blacks just don’t think 30 Rock is that funny.
City with perfect level of Blackness
For years, Atlanta has battled D.C. for the perfect level of Blackness moniker, but Atlanta has worms (and by “worms” I mean “Momma Dee”), so D.C. wins by default.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)