By Michael Harriot
While Beyonce’s Lemonade speaks unfavorably of “Beckys” with “good hair” it also casts a negative light on the entire, time-honored position of “the side piece.” Sidepieces shape history. The biblical Abraham’s side chick is the reason for the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Monica Lewinsky almost toppled a President. The prevailing thought has always been that the other woman or man always loses. To combat these negative stereotypes, I’d like to point out a few times when side pieces won.
Shug Avery – (spoiler alert) Every man in the book fell in love with her, and a woman too! Plus, in the most legendary side piece move ever, when Shug met the main chick, her first words to Celie were, “You stole is ugly.” That’s winning.
Gabrielle Union – If Gabrielle was smart, she would pen an instruction manual for aspiring side chicks. Ms. Union swooped in on Dwayne Wade while he was married to his high school sweetheart. She didn’t just hop on the D train, she got to ride shotgun…. While he won two championships… With a 6-5, athletic, attractive multimillionaire… In South Beach.
Now that I think about it, I understand why D. Wade’s ex had a post-breakup mental breakdown. No one wants to see their ex happy and in love. I know you think you’re more evolved than that, but you’re not. It’s like going to buy lottery tickets and later finding out the guy in line behind you hit the Powerball. We all secretly want our exes’ next mate to be toothless, broke and have a small penis or a flat booty. Or maybe that’s just me.
James Harden – You thought all sidepieces were female? Don’t be a sexist. Khloe Kardashian was busy kicking it with baller and master beard-grower James Harden as her husband was overdosing in a whorehouse while paying to be the meat in a prostitute sandwich. Khloe eventually left him to nurse her husband back from unconsciousness (which is an inscrutable breakup line—“It’s not you. It’s not me. It’s that my crack-smoking, hooker-screwing husband is in a coma.)
I’m sure you’re asking: If Khloe broke up with Harden, then how is he a winner? Because, dear reader, he managed to escape the “Kardashian Curse.” Look at the two seasons Houston had during his Kardashian tryst. Remember when Reggie Bush was a football wunderkind before Kim got to him? See how Kanye has morphed from musical genius to microphone-grabbing twitter ranter? Do you know how many rebounds Chris Humphries averaged this season? Did you buy the new Tyga album?
Plus, between Harden’s 6’5” height, his beard, and Khloe’s Yeti-like build and jawline, I’m pretty sure their offspring would be sasquatches.
Alicia Keys – Between penning forgettable anthems for independent-minded, “empowered,” college sophomores, constantly reminding us of her benevolence by introducing herself as a “singer/songwriter/composer/philanthropist …,“ somehow negotiating her way on stage for a duet with Stevie Wonder at every awards show, and uplifting young women by lamenting how tortured her life was because not only did she have to hide the fact that she was a super intelligent, quasi-genius, child prodigy, but as a teen she also had to bear the heavy burden of concealing her unbelievable attractiveness, Alicia Keys found time for some home-wrecking. What began as affair with super-producer Swizz Beats ( which, I presume, started from a chance encounter during the cocktail hour before the #TeamLightSkindedededed subcommittee meeting of the Illuminati) eventually resulted in Mr. Beats leaving Mashonda—the wife and mother of his child—for Alicia. Swizz and Alicia both say his relationship with his ex was over before they got together, but I’m sure their publicists are much better than his ex’s. I base that statement solely on the fact that I have no idea who Mashonda is, and even though I am typing this on a machine that could tell me in two seconds, I still don’t care to know.
Although Alicia Keys technically won because she got the man, increased the #teamLightSkinnededed gene pool and came out with her reputation largely unharmed, she is condemned to a life-long sentence of nerve-wracking noise. Between hearing Swizz’s grating voice coming from the studio and listening to tracks that sound like he made them with a See-n-Say pull toy and the buzzer from the Operation board game, she must be miserable
Plus, DMX probably comes over sometimes, and you know he can’t whisper.
Lauryn Hill – Her affair with Wyclef Jean is widely known, and she eventually came to her senses and left that toxic situation. Despite her status as side-chick, everyone benefitted. As talented as Wyclef and Pras were, without Lauryn Hill, they were Destiny’s Child without Beyonce. They were Brand Nubian without Grand Puba. They were Wu-Tang—if Wu Tang only consisted of U God and Masta Killa.
The angst of that relationship also birthed the greatest female hip-hop album of all time: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. We won…
but every time Wyclef sings, we lose a little more.
God – I know you think it is sacrilegious, but hear me out:
If Mary was married to Joseph, and Jesus was the son of God, then… ummm… who was the sidepiece in this scenario?
A lot of my religious friends also treat God like their sidepiece. They only see him once a week. They always promise him they’ll pay more attention to him, but never do. They never spend time with him, but when they do, they always want something. When they go to his house, they’re ready to leave as soon as they get what they want, and they usually only talk to him late at night when no one’s around.
So here’s to all the sidepieces who overcame the odds and won. You deserve a round of applause for clawing your way to the top of the food chain. Just remember, now that you have been promoted to the job of the “main thang…”
Someone’s applying for your old position.