By Michael Harriot
Every year we assemble a panel of experts in their respective fields to rank the People You Better Not Fuck With. (You can find the 2016 rankings here)
For people unfamiliar with the PYBNFW, it is a list of people who Black America will protect at all cost. The rankings are composed by Black tastemakers, intellectuals, women who drink Moscato and men who choose to go shirtless in their Tinder pics. Called the “Ghetto Gallup Poll,” it began in the 1980’s and has included such luminaries as Billie Dee Williams, Nelson Mandela and Thelma from “Good Times” (that’s actually how her name appeared on 83% of the ballots). Since then, our nomination process has evolved from a crude collection of boxes in the back of barbershops to a sophisticated network of collection boxes at the front of barbershops. We release the results yearly so if anyone fucks with someone on this list, we can say “we told you so.” Here are this year’s top five people you better not fuck with:
5. The Knowles
All’umm. Tina. Matthew. Solange. Beyonce. Blue Ivy. Whatever-Solange’s-baby-name-is.
The Beyhive always kept a Job-like biblical hedge of protection around Beyonce that will swarm if you even look at her sideways, but this year the committee voted to extend Black Not-So-Secret Service protection to the entire family. After Bey’s Lemonade prompted a waterfall of white tears and a simultaneous uproar of “yasssss!!!” from the soprano section of the negro choir, Solange ‘s A Seat At The Table was the companion piece, bookending a banner year for the family. Black women will karate chop you in the throat for contemplating any nefarious deeds against the writer of the new millenium gospel song for anyone with melanin–“Don’t Touch My Hair.”
And even though we know Tina Knowles will bedazzle and put fur on any pice of clothing she can get her hands on, you must give it up to Matthew and Tina for raising two woke-ass, talented, hard-working kids who have been relatively scandal free. The worst thing you can say about Beyoncé is the Hotep conspiracy theory that she joined the illuminati and manifested a baby out of thin air. Ain’t that Black Girl Magic?
But I bet you won’t fuck with her.
4. Your Kids
We live in a generation of entitled, impatient young people–except for your kids. Your kids are divine. Your kid should be the starter on the football team even though he’s the slowest and couldn’t catch a cold in Antartica. My mother would have shown up to my elementary school and beat me in front of the class had I said anything moderately mean to anyone at the school, including the janitor and the lunch lady, but your kid only gets bad grades because the teacher doesn’t like him. Or they give him too much homework. Your child is the smartest. Your child is special. You often quote the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” but if anyone in the village corrects your child you’ll tell them to mind their motherfucking business and “worry about your own.”
Employers say they are reluctant to hire millennials because they don’t work as hard, expect more concessions from their jobs and complain more. The self-congratulatory, ego-boosting echochamber is destroying the backbone of a generation of young people who believe they can have anything they want to be just because they want it. We have insulated them so much, that they are easily crushed when they face the reality of real-world competitiveness and responsibility.
But not your kid.
Nobody can fuck with him.
3. Donald Glover
Two years ago I was at ATLast–Outkast’s last concert–when they introduced Childish Gambino as one of the opening acts. I had heard of Donald Glover. He was on the periphery of my cultural conscious because I had heard through the secret underground network of Black polymaths I may or may not belong to, that he might be one of us. I became a fan of that day, but I still never watched his TV show, and thought his stand-up comedy was aight, but formulaic. I liked Childish Gambino, but didn’t give a damn about Donald Glover. Maybe it was that crease at the tip of his nose. Maybe because when my mother said she liked his first show, she always put an “R” after the second “M” in Community. When everyone begged me to watch Atlanta, I reluctantly acquiesced.
Atlanta might be the Blackest thing that has ever aired on TV. It is Black without thumping its chest and loudly declaring its Blackness. Ern is a metaphor for all of us–a concrete, but flawed part of an absurdly stupid universe. Maybe it’s just me but I think Paperboi could rap Young Thug and 21 Savage into a hole any day. Atlanta is an opus. It is revelatory without preaching. It is loving without being syrupy. We have all seen fragments of ourselves on TV before, but never so unfiltered and naked–with blackheads and hairy areolae. Then he dropped Awaken My Love–which sounds like the result of a threesome between Parliament Funkadelic, Prince and Jimi Hendrix. It is refreshing to see someone navigating the artistic world without feeling it necessary to carry the burden of the stereotype of what defines Blackness. You can’t act Black. You just are. And Glover is.
So don’t fuck with him.
2. Black Women
The following is a list of motherfuckers who got crushed by Black women this year:Amy Shumer, Nancy Lee Graham (after she attacked Viola Davis for winning an Emmy), White feminists, Jada & Will Smith, stupid motherfuckers who talked about Gabby Douglas’s hair, Ayesha Curry’s respectability bullshit, Hotep niggas, Every white gymnast in the world, Nate Parker, Ivanka Trump’s original speech, rape apologists, Abortion rights, the cops who thought Korryn Gaines was just gonna let them come in her house, Laura Sanchez, who said Kamala Harris only had Barack Obama’s support because she was Black, everybody holding out hope they still had a chance with Serena Williams, Birth of a Nation and this girl:
Don’t ever get on the wrong side of a Black woman. If Cleopatra could convince a white man to let a snake bite him to death, trust me, you have no chance. Not only would Black men not be here if not for them, but half the White population wouldn’t be here either if it wasn’t for Black women nurturing their babies, feeding their families and using a Black woman’s unkillable, regenerating cells to damn-near stop breast cancer from making White titties extinct. Not to mention that Black women invented the straightening comb, the sideye, the sucking their teeth, talk to the “hand,” and the phrase “Nigga please.”
Say their names.
But you bet’ not fuck with them
1. The Obamas
After January 20th, Barack Obama will cease to be the leader of the free world and become a regular citizen of the United States of America. Thus, he will be excused from political scrutiny and the savage Washington mudslinging machine and become Black again. We expect you to release him from your ire the same way we let go of our animus for G. W. Bush after he left the Oval Office. We halfway understand the racist, hateful jabs your people take at the Black President, because politics in America has devolved into the equivalent of a Love and Hip Hop end-of-season reunion show, but once he’s out of office, Barack Obama will officially become Black America’s dad (I’m not quite sure why Bill Cosby vacated the position. I heard it was something about him giving a bunch of women some kind of medicine back in the day. He’s such a sweet guy–always trying to help out. Every woman I know who ever met him says she felt the immediate urge to take a nap as soon as she met him. apparently, that’s how comfortable he makes you feel).
Anyway, we all know that White people have a secret email network where they apparently only send out racist Michelle Obama memes and underhanded Hillary Clinton campaign strategies. We let that slide because–as first couple–they signed up for it. But the first person to say something slick about Barack or Michelle after January 20th might get the taste slapped out of their mouth. While I know this may not seem like a big deal because of Wypipo’s food-seasoning preferences, you should take it seriously. And don’t even let Sasha or Malia’s name cross your lips, because we have collectively adopted them as our little cousins, so keep their names out of your mouths too. Or–as once said by a upstart group of poet-philosophers whose warning so eloquently describes the sentiments of the entirety of Black America:
Knuck if you buck
Knuck if you buck
– Crime mob, 2004