Entertainment & Culture
The 2016 Rankings of People You Better Not F**k With

As 2016 begins, we again revisit the national People You Better Not Fuck With Rankings.

For those unfamiliar with the PYBNFW, it is a ratings system compiled by a nationwide list of Black thinkers, tastemakers, educators and brothers waiting in Barbershops on Friday afternoons that ranks the people who have become untouchable in the Black zeitgeist. Nicknamed the “Ghetto Gallup Poll” in the early 1980’s, the list has included notorious names from Tootie (of Facts of Life Fame) to Gabby Douglas. Because of its frequent changes, we release updates as a public service so that anyone contemplating fucking with someone on this list can rethink their actions. Here are the updated top 5, along with some of the winners and losers.

5. Your Preacher – Not all preachers – your preacher. Most people believe that preachers are a combination of ghetto-corner pimp and Bernie Madoff, but they always find a way to exclude the pastor of their church. “Reverend Patterson is a God-Fearing man and all those reports of him making it rain tithes envelopes and building fund checks at the strip club are just the devil trying to tear him down, but not me. I’m gonna keep him lifted in prayer.”

Despite the fact that the Black community could become the largest economic power in this country if they pooled the tithes they give to churches, there are some people who would let Eddie Long lead their Boy Scout Troop and wonder why everyone was hating on Creflo Dollar’s airplane plea. You can’t judge. Now, we all know they are all just the charlatan reincarnations of Sweet Daddy Grace…

Except for Bishop Grover Jackson of Sacred Grace New Bethlehem Mt. Beulah New Jerusalem Church Of God In Christ.

That’s my preacher

Don’t fuck with him.

4. Idris Elba Idris Elba has the holy Trinity of things that will make a Black woman have to change her underwear at midday: He is Good looking (no homo), masculine and he has a British accent. We all know hard it is  to find a Black superstar that is doesn’t have a dab of non-threatening femininity or at least “good hair.” Idris Elba is so fine (no homo) that he overcome ratting out the greatest Black television character of all time – Avon Barksdale – without getting sewn up. And you know what snitches usually get.

Here is why you better not fuck with Idris Elba, though: He is British. He is not weighted down by the legacy of American slavery and the residue of the white beauty aesthetic. No one would probably fault him if he dated white chicks. Yet, he still only chooses to fuck with non-beige, real-bodied Black women like Taraji P.Henson and K. Michelle (We all have to make choices in this life. I choose to believe K. Michelle’s booty is real) . You gotta respect that. You definitely can’t fuck with it.

3. Serena Williams – Serena is one of the most controversial people on the countdown because Black people don’t rally around her as much as they do some of the other people on the list. We sometimes leave her to fend for herself — not because we don’t care if white people fuck with her — but because we know that they can’t fuck with her.  Here is how you know you can’t be fucked with: When you lose and it’s a bigger story than whoever won. When Serena won Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year some people went apeshit. And by “some people” I mean white people.

But Serena has another can’tfuckwithable trait that no one seems to want to talk about, even though the ostrich-effect, burying-head-in-the-sand reality is proof of their prejudice:

Serena’s booty makes white people uncomfortable.

Recently, feminist writers have been writing about how Serena doesn’t conform to most people’s aesthetic of beauty, but we all know what they mean: white standards.  Even mentioning it makes pseudo-progressives fling catchphrases like “body shaming” but every bit of evidence points to the fact that Serena Williams loves her body and her booty. However, her caucasian defenders are hesitant to mention it because it highlights their own personal inadequacies. Perhaps, because it shames them.

Or perhaps, because she knows you can’t fuck with it.

2. Cookie from Empire I’m not referring to the Oscar and Emmy-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson. Taraji is a multi-millionaire who lives a lifestyle we can’t relate to, which probably includes nannies and aged Merlots.

Cookie drinks Moscato.

There are a few fictional characters who become so iconic in the Black culture they begin to overshadow the persona of the real actor portraying them. Less than 18% of African Americans can tell you who Bernadette Stanis is, because her legal, Black common-law name is “Thelma From Good Times.” Cookie is entering that territory.

We all have an aunt who wears furs in early Octobers draped over animal prints and talks loud enough for Jesus to hear her even when she is not praying. And her nickname is probably Cookie. At this very moment there is a neo-liberal blogger writing a thinkpiece (which I have long lobbied to be added to the list of Shit Bougie Black People Love) about how this character from Empire is a fictional manifestation of the simultaneous strength and vulnerability of Black women, but forget all that. Cookie is just dope, and you better not fuck with her.

1. Michelle, Sasha and Malia Barack chose to be President, so we understand some people are going to fuck with him, but if you try some shit with the lady Obama’s you might get fucked up. Seriously.

Michelle Obama is the closest thing Black people have to a real superhero. She is Ivy-league educated, always put together, smart, funny, strong and she is fine. I don’t even subscribe to the overused idea that anyone who disagrees with me must be a hater, but when Elizabeth Lauten’s hating ass tweeted a dressing down of the First daughters’ attitude and clothes, black women around the country collectively took off their earnings, put their hair in ponytails, and begin applying vaseline to their faces. She must not have known who she was fucking with.

Even through the unwarranted criticism, the women of the First Family manage to adhere to the mantra of the PYBNFW Hall-Of-Famer Muhammad Ali:

“…Be pretty and keep their black-hating asses in their chairs.”


Fell off: Your Grandma   Your Grandmother was always a perennial PYBNFW chart-topper until recently. Who could argue with the bible-toting, grandbaby-spoiling, baker of sweet potato pies? But the rise of the New Millenium G-ma has forced your mother’s mother to take a precipitous fall in the national rankings.

The new grandmothers are 42-year-old college-educated “divas” who can’t babysit because they are vacationing in Cancun with their Sorority sisters. They’ve ditched house robes and those weird thick-soled nursing shoes for “freakum” dresses and Louboutins. I knew it was over when Jada Pinkett Smith posted that picture of her mother in a bikini. 63.27% of Jayden and Willow’s weirdness stems from the fact that their homeboys have told them that their Me-Maw is banging and that she can “get it.”. That will fuck your head up.

Rapidly Rising: Ta-Nahisi Coates The brilliant essayist and thinker has been shooting up the list since our last ranking. He is hurt by the fact that no one in the continental United States knows anyone with a subscription to The Atlantic magazine, so we are forced to consume his brilliance on computer screens, tablets and other non-toilettime conducive platforms. Further crippling his ascendence is the fact that most thoughtful discussions of his writings begin with a two-minute discussion of how to pronounce his name. Even though he is hampered by these obstacles, he has carved out that special niche in Black culture that will always endear him to his people: Using inarguable logic, eloquence and facts to tell white folks like it is, to their face.

Black people love that.

He could catapult himself into the top 10 if his employer chose to dedicate their centerfold to an “The Atlantic Beauty of the Month.”

Or maybe if he started calling himself “T-Neezy” you wouldn’t be able to fuck with him.

If you disagree with anyone on the list, or havesomeone you think should be included, hit up the comment section or tweet @NegusWhoRead with the hashtag #PYBNFW

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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