The "Difficult" Black Woman: Understanding The Hostility Towards Amanda Seales

Hollywood is a weird place. Some might even call it evil. It makes sense then to consider it a waste of time writing or, frankly, commenting about their every whim and caprice. And yet, such is the case that almost everything finds its way back to that awful ecosystem. So, you kind of find yourself talking about them no matter how much you deliberately avoid them.

Today, let’s talk about Amanda Seales.

Now, if you think this will be the typical rant against her and how awful you think she is, you will be wrong. I am neither here nor there about Amanda Seales. I agree with her on some of her stances. Others, I find a bit too reductive. You know, same way I would view someone who I don’t know personally. So, there is that.

But Lord, this woman gets all the hate. She is awful. She is mean. She is this. She is that. Oh, her voice is screeching. She is difficult to work with. It must be exhausting being her. Now, you know the first sign that she’s not quite all of these things being described? She actually cares. She is one of the few celebrities or public figures to admit that she finds it puzzling why she is hated so much. She doesn’t chalk it up to obtuse things like “oh it’s haters” or “while you’re hating me, I’m over here, making money” No. She actively asks why people hate her. She actively expresses her disappointment at how Black Hollywood has treated her and exiled her into isolation in a business that thrives on connections and community. 

Black media.

The reason this post is happening is Amanda Seales was recently on Shannon Sharpe. I’m not sure how it came to be that this man's studio  is THE place for celebrities to go air their grievances. But such is the case. Katt Williams was on the other day, and I couldn’t actually watch because it was TOO MUCH. But people did, and people rallied. And people cheered. And people called him a truth teller. Now, Amanda has gone on and even I could actually watch a good 45 minutes from Amanda’s interview and easily digest everything she said. Guess what? This woman is still getting an overwhelming amount of hate. They say she is “exhausting”, that she always “claims to be the victim”, that they couldn’t even get through it because how can “someone be so angry”. People just don’t like her.

We can’t force people to like anyone. I get it. Ted Cruz can beg, he can cry, he can wail, I still would not like him. So, I get it. But this overwhelming hate of Amanda Seales did not happen in a vacuum. There has been a targeted smear campaign to malign her. There has been a conscious effort to tarnish her image and brand her as a difficult person. Even when there is literally no proof for this. How can ESSENCE Magazine, a magazine that prides itself on being THE magazine for Black women, release an op-ed basically calling Amanda “difficult” in a world that has constantly called us difficult for being…us.  And it wasn't just them. If you’re going to call someone difficult, show us one thing she did at work to make her deserve that label? Why would you call her unlikable in a world where Black women are policed for how we talk, how we smile, how we walk, how we wear our hair?

Take one of the instances Amanda mentioned in the interview: The Black Emmy party of 2019 (2018?). In any case, Amanda had been invited to this party by Jesse Williams. She got to the party and a white-passing/looking woman (later turned out to be Mexican) told Amanda she couldn’t get into the party. Look at this picture, a BLACK WOMAN was denied access into a “safe space” for Black people. I don’t want to narrate the entire incident as she already did that in the interview and it has been rehashed several times over the years. No matter how you feel about Amanda, surely you can agree that this incident was deliberately orchestrated to humiliate her. It was intentional. It also was not an isolated incident. We’ve also all watched how the cast of Insecure sort of/basically “mean girls” her while she was on the show and in the aftermath of the show. But we all love Issa (and I say this as one of Issa’s biggest fans), we’ve all turned a blind eye to Amanda Seales’ treatment. Here is the truth: Amanda is disliked; she is labeled “vile” and “difficult” because she is outspoken and because she makes the rest of us ashamed of our complicity in injustice and oppression.  She is vilified because she always goes against the status quo. In that video at Club Shay Shay (sigh), she didn’t even bash Issa, she just said she never felt protected by her Issa—her boss. Haven’t we all been there? Or how else would you describe Issa’s silence as her publicist went on rampage to tarnish Amanda’s image? 

There are black men in that same industry who have beaten women to a pulp or more specifically to the point of being unrecognizable, who have run sex rings, who have raped people who get more welcoming treatment than Amanda Seales. Listen, Candace Owens has actively attacked black people. She has positioned herself as a tool and shield for white supremacy. She has been so dogged in her trolling of Blackness and Black people as to be puzzling given this moron is also black. And yet, one strategic PR move to scale her grift, and Black people are all open arms. In a world where Candace Bloody Owens gets a warmer reception than Amanda Seales, something is wrong. But there are people “Lol-ing” in response to Amanda because they love Issa Rae. This entire world is just high school all over again. We never really got out. 

I’m particularly triggered (as the kids say) because I’ve been in spaces where people just didn’t like me for no reason. That my very presence (hard as I try to shrink myself and lower my voice) is enough for them to dislike me and sabotage my career and me. I also know—as many black women do—how dangerous it is to be labeled an angry Black woman. Irrespective of the discipline, Black women have faced unique hurdles and challenges that no other demographic has been confronted with. Antoinette Bonnie Candia-Bailey endured so much cruelty that she had no other option but to kill herself.  The harassment, the bullying was just that overwhelming. How can we stand by and watch another Black woman be treated like so? And worse, by her own people? 

To be clear, I'm not saying Amanda should not be held accountable for her actions. And to create a more balanced post, I'll name some of them: her antagonizing of Tamir Rice's mother; her use of the N-word on the set of Insecure (even though true talk the one thing I had against that show was how much the N-word was thrown around. No one uses that word this much in the real world, I always thought). In any case, she claimed to apologize to the Brotha she used that word on and that what she called him was a compliment: "revolutionary n*gga". Still, I felt she wasn't contrite enough about that. I've also heard allegations of colorism though I haven't seen any tangible confirmation of this. And sometimes, she holds people to unattainable standards, I get that. So yes, Amanda is flawed as we all are.  I also know you can disagree with her on all this, call her out even, without placing a hit on her metaphorical back. Without simply saying, "I sicced security guards on you and denied you access to a party because I don't like you". What are you? Two years old? You can hold her accountable without employing the same tactics that have, for years, been used to silence Black women.

We won't have that. 



No comments