Mike Epps has a message for women on Instagram. Never one to hold his tongue, the comedian and actor told his mostly female fanbase during an Essence Fest Q&A moderated by film producer Will Packer to only show off their boobies and booties if they’re getting paid.
“Ladies, don't be on there showing your booty and chest unless it's making you some money,” he said as fans laughed.
The Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? actor thinks the Internet, specifically social media, should be used to sell a product and promote your personal brand.
“If you’re on IG, use it to promote yourself as a brand. The Internet is to sell something,” he told the crowd. “IG is the new block. Get your money.”
Getting paid is a message I openly welcome when directed toward women considering Black women make $0.64 cents on every dollar a man makes. #GiveYourMoneyToWomen is a real thing because while women don’t lack brilliance, we do lag behind in capital and resources. So I’m all for Epps telling women to get that bread, ma.
But a quick glance at Instagram lets us know gorgeous women from all walks of life have no qualms about showing off their bodies — whether they’re getting paid or not. Everything from thong bikinis to topless shots are as common as men telling women what to do. It’s everywhere. All the time. And while many women are being booked for hosting gigs based on their hundreds of thousands followers who enjoy seeing their bodies, some women just want to “do it for the ‘gram.” And that should be ok.
Women have autonomy over their own bodies. Repeat. Tattoo it on your forehead. Our bodies are our own to do with them what we choose, and it’s not a single soul’s business.
While I applaud Epps is not shaming — and actually supporting — women who want to get money from their half-naked T&A pics on Instagram, I’m left wondering about those other women who do it for reasons other than monetary gain. Is he implying there’s no value in women’s bodies unless they’re getting money for it?
Some women feel good about themselves and just want to show off their scantily-clad thong bikini. Some women are inspiring other women who don’t have the standard waif body type to fall in love with their curves. And some women are just vain. All of those reasons, or whatever reason a woman has to do whatever she wants with her body, is ok.
Do you agree with Epps, or did he get it wrong?