Please Stop Inviting Everybody to the Damn Cookout

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Look, I know blackness is the gift that keeps on giving. I know how awesome we are, and can understand why sweet potato pie tops pumpkin pie, that we effortlessly create and inform pop culture, and why folks set aside their good sense and pride to get next to us or be like us. And I also know that in these anus-mouthed-gargoyle-electing times, the smallest acts of humanity—even the most fleeting abandonment of ain’t-shitness—can feel like a sign of kinship, a victory, a mark of someone deserving of trust.

I get the fatigue from contending with normalized terribleness and buffoonery and reading about and coexisting with people who vote for professional life ruiners. Truly, I do.


But stop inviting everybody to the motherfucking cookout. Love yourself and respect your blackness a little bit more. For the kids, the community and the perseverance of the already limited supply of ribs. As I told Tonja Stidhum (one of the writingest wimmenz I know), I’ll be damned if I miss out on the macaroni and cheese because you niggas are out here inviting everybody who smiles at you and hugging Nazis at the cookout. Go-go gadget: higher standards.

We must be more discerning about who we’re inviting into our spaces and granting “passes” to. Stop making people honorary niggas, allowing them to partake in the perks of blackness, inviting them into the fold because of some amusing, passable, convenient performance of black cool, not expecting them to bear any of the true burdens of niggerhood. Sure, he knows some of Erick Sermon’s rappity raps, can quote Maya and Chimamanda, knows about Lawry’s and has mastered the dap. But are his soul-free platitudes merely regurgitations of what some lesser-known or uncredited black woman has been saying for years?


He hilariously performs the theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (rap hands and all), but does he support us in other areas of his life or join in when friends get to talking about black-on-black crime and the societal ills caused by twerking? Would his overconfidence and reneging contribute to you getting jumped while trying to defend him from drunk-ass cousin Man Man and his homeboy after the spades tournament? Nobody at the cookout benefits from the mere presence of the self-serving Rachel Dolezals of the world—certainly not your overly generous, fool ass. Cut it out.

Look what Justin Timberbitch did to Saint Damita Jo after he got some Timbaland beats, cornrows and black friends. This, of course, after she took him and the rest of NSYNC on the road as the opening act of the Velvet Rope Tour back in his ramen-noodle S-curl days. Close the damn gate.


This week, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona essentially called President Tramp a low-down ho-ass rat-bat bastard while announcing that he wouldn’t seek re-election because he “will no longer be complicit or silent” in the face of Tramp’s boldface treachery. Before that, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who once counseled Toddler Hands on foreign policy when everyone else with eyes said that he couldn’t be trusted, made waves after calling the White House an “adult day care” in response to one of Tramp’s many Twitter tantrums. Cookout invites were mailed quicker than those checks Tramp promised the families of those fallen soldiers.

Then both joined up with Fool and the Gang and voted to take away your right to mount up and launch class action suits against banks and credit card companies that perform fraudulent financial fuckery in an attempt to ruin your life. They may share your disdain for the dumpster-hearted bootyhole gerbil-in-chief, but those are not allies. They do not have your best interests—or the interests of the citizens of the country they allegedly represent—at heart.


You is smart. You read Rich Dad, Poor Dad thrice on purpose, and are always the first to interject with “Well, actually” and inform folks that the Willie Lynch letter is but a myth, a tool of the oppressor intended to destroy us and impede our black excellence and prosperity. Just like coleslaw, Iggy Azalea’s music and Newports.

As you, exasperated and supposedly multifaceted, remind your wayward and myopic brethren who ask why you’re worried about the Kardashians and untalented foot-faced homophobes seeking relevance and love on reality TV when the fatherless kids in Chicago are shooting one another in the face while skipping class while getting pregnant while using the n-word while being a menace while drinking their juice in the hood, you can walk and chew gum and focus on two things at once. You contain multitudes, my nigga. Remember?


Why the convenient amnesia about the atrocities and professional shitbaggery of these unmoisturized enemies of progress?

Last week, after Dubya decried white supremacy and got folks’ nipples hard with his bleak assessment of Tramp’s America, your cousins were ready to give the object of Sheriff David Clarke’s oppressive wet dreams a lifetime invite to all family functions, private Electric Slide lessons and a cute little goody bag of ancestral secrets, including the Butters 101 and MeeMaw’s famous collard-greens recipe. The same man who launched the country into a fruitless war and sat around playing “Mammy, may I?” with Condoleezza as New Orleans drowned after Katrina. But he makes cute paintings now, so it’s cool or something. The horror.


And this SwirlBae ally swag shit. What the hell?


Instead of inviting more mouths with whom I’ll have to share dessert, try letting them live with whatever personal benefits come from acknowledging someone’s basic humanity, verbalizing that slavery was wrong or performing the absolute minimum requirements of unshitty personhood.

Let’s revise our cookout invitation policy or even consider a moratorium because clearly, we’re not on the same page in terms of who’s worthy of basking in our glory. Don’t let a tacky charlatan’s raggedy tap dance and hollow displays of tolerance or performative “wokeness” have you struggling to explain to an angry and unimpressed Uncle Beebop why there are marshmallows and banana chips in the potato salad that JennyBob with the Wu-Tang tattoo and the parasitic relationship with blackness brought to Meemaw’s LaBelle-themed sexy-70 cookout.


Smarten up, Nas.

Share This Story

About the author

Alexander Hardy

Alexander Hardy is a wordsmith, mental health advocate, dancer, lupus survivor, and co-host of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Alexander does not believe in snow or Delaware.