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Real Talk: Black Girls Can Laugh at Themselves Too

The viral video "Sh** Black Girls Say" causes an uproar with the ladies.
All week, I’ve been highly amused watching “Sh** Girls Say,” the web series based on a Twitter account from writers Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey. It’s garnered many spinoffs, including “Sh** Black Girls Say” and “Sh** Black Guys Say.”  In case you’re offended by the titles, don’t be; the videos are a light poke by the opposite sex at stereotypes, verbal gaffes, and silly phrases used by each group.

For instance, in “Sh*t Girls Say,” the “girl” (it’s Sheppard in a wig and women’s clothing) depicted says classically feminine things like asking, “Is that my water?” while sitting across from a friend at a restaurant, or sympathizing “That’s not okay” to a friend mid-story, or gushing over food, “So good, right?”

“My instinct was to dislike, even be offended,” wrote Torie Bosch for Slate. “But I can’t do it… It’s funny, as they say, because it’s true.”

In the spinoff “Sh** Black Guys Say,” comedians Robin Thede and Inda Craig-Galván, dressed in ball caps, mock Black guy-speak and mannerisms, like responding to any comment, “It is what it is,” the hard hand clap to emphasize words of importance, or saying to an attractive woman in passing, “You know you too pretty to not be smiling.” (It’s fall-out funny. I can’t do give it proper justice writing the phrases. You have to watch it here.)

Each group who’s been poked fun at has managed to find the humor in the videos, except some Black women. “Sh** Black Women Say,” which has garnered over one million views, features comedian Billy Sorrells, who is shown on the video playing “Peaches” in a full goatee, big hoop earrings, and wearing a long wig, which he occasionally pats. In an affected Black-girl accent, “Peaches” says things like, “Turn that up, that is my jam!” while in the beauty shop, cries while watching “The Color Purple,” fans her face with her hands while complaining, “It is so hot in here!” and squeals as she embraces a friend, then rocks back and forth (the latter is also depicted in the original video, except the women jump up and down).

All in all, the Black woman depicted don’t get it worse than any of the Black guys or the white women shown in the initial “Sh** Girls Say” video. Still that didn’t stop Farah Tanis, executive director of Black Women’s Blueprint from complaining to the New York’s Daily News, “I don’t think it is a man’s place to offer this type of representation of Black women.”

Sorrells says he was surprised by the negative reaction to the video. “We were just trying to amuse ourselves. We didn’t expect it to be viral,” Sorrell told the Daily News. “People need to laugh. When we laugh, we see each other better.”

Over on The Root, Claudio E. Cabrera wrote “’Sh** Black Women Say’ Video Sparks Outrage,” lamenting that the video was distasteful. “There are already enough negative stereotypical images of African-American women online and on TV,” Cabrera wrote. “This video does nothing to help crush those stereotypes.”

Did “Sh** Black Girls Say” go too far, or do some offended folks need to lighten up?

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk