As Black people, everything we do is rhythmic and straying from rhythm can sometimes have dire consequences. When we pound fufu, it’s with rhythm. When we pull our nets in from the sea, we do so with rhythm. And when a Black woman walks, it is with a unique rhythm.
I don’t know about any other race, but a Black woman’s booty has its own soundtrack – and if someone were to take the time to compile the multitude of ditties that accompanied the swaying rhythm of a Black woman’s backside, I’d be willing to wager that it’d land highly on the top 40 International Pop Charts.
For instance, I have (and always have had) a big booty… a very big booty. I do not say this with pride. When I was young and my parents sent me to buy bread or eggs for the house, I used to dread leaving the confines of our gate. There was a group of boys who never seemed to go to school that would congregate at the junction just to trouble young girls as they walked by. As soon as I would approach, they would all sing in boisterous chorus:
Wele, sala, kontomre!
Wele, sala, kontomre!
I was always mortified, and the more apparent my discomfort the louder they sang and laughed. Occasionally one of them would howl something in Ga, which would cause all of his compatriots to fall into hysterical laughter. I don’t speak Ga, so I was at least spared any further embarrassment as a result of my ignorance. My ordeal finally ended when my parents bought me a bike to run errands with. Of course, the sight of a girl on a bicycle in those days introduced another set of issues.
As I understand it, the phenomenon I described is by no means unique to Ghana. My Kenyan friends tell me that the aggressive jiggling of a woman’s adipose tissue is accompanied by a repetitive and rhythmic refrain of sigida sigidum and atoti.
African men on the continent are not alone in their unabashed expression of lust, admiration or disdain for our women’s hind quarters. At the height of the Freaknic era, there were at least a dozen songs released extolling this animate object. Here is but a small sampling:
- Let me ride that donkey
- Gimme that donkey butt and them big ole legs
- Baby got back
- Shake that A**
Need I carry on?
It’s a wonder that more girls don’t have their self-esteem doing swan dives into the toilet. As bad as this sounds, it gets worse, if you can imagine that. Perhaps the only thing worse than being the owner of a bodacious booty is being in the possession of an abysmally unobtrusive one: I speak mournfully of the unfortunate “pancake” buttocks.
When we weren’t in class, my best friend and I used to walk around our area just to talk and take in the air. She was slender, tall and leggy and very pretty by my estimation. I was six inches shorter, with thick calves and the afore mentioned big behind. After the “area boys” had hurled inappropriate cat calls at me, they would soon turn their attention to my best friend and burst into unforgiving laughter. They called her names like “flat ass” and a host of other unflattering monikers I’d sooner forget. I learned early on that being a Black woman was hard enough, but being a Black woman with the “wrong” type of booty could make life unbearable. Sometimes it’s so unbearable that it’s fatal.
- Elena Caro, 42, of Las Vegas, died last year after being injected with an unidentified gel in an unlicensed medical office in the back room of a tile store.
- Fiordaliza Pichardo of New York died of a pulmonary embolism in March 2009 after injections of silicone.
- Solange Magnano, a model and former Miss Argentina, died there in November 2009 after she was injected with microspheres of PMMA plastic (polymethylmethacrilate) that apparently entered her bloodstream and caused a pulmonary embolism.
- Mayra Lissette Contreras, 22, of Pacoima, Calif. died in July 2010, apparently from respiratory problems, after receiving silicone shots from an unlicensed injector in Sylmar, Calif.
- Lidvian Zelaya, 35, of Miami, died in late 2010 while undergoing a liposuction and buttocks-injection procedure by a doctor whose license was later suspended pending an investigation. It was unclear from news reports whether she died before fat from the liposuction had been re-injected, as planned, into her buttocks.
- Claudia Aderotimi, 20, of England, died in February 2010 after traveling from London to get buttocks-enhancement shots of silicone by an unidentified injector in a hotel room near the Philadelphia airport.
Look at the ages of these women. They are all over the map! There is no age limit for insecurity. I suppose we were lucky to have grown up with limited financial means. I wonder if we might have been tempted to resort to under the table surgery to correct our physical afflictions if we had had the financial means to do so. I’m sure that none of these women had death in mind when they went into these back alleys and hotel rooms for their bargain surgeries. The unfortunate consequence of that gamble is that in the long run it cost these women more than a few hundred dollars. There is no refund policy to cover accidental death.
To borrow from Sir Mix-a-Lot (and trust me, it grieves me to do so): Turn around and stick it out! Give your booty a high five…or a fist bump…or something. Two butt cheeks are better than none. Big or small, does it really matter? After all, they are only used for sitting.