I’ve never heard of Sukihana until recently. I have recognized my age and that without recaps of popular shows, I would miss out on many of those who are noteworthy in popular culture today. When I was a kid, I remember laughing at my elders because they would not know about the artists that we listened to or revered.
As a teen, I remember being crazy about Prince. I’ll never forget the poster of Prince standing in the shower with a bikini on and a trench coat. At the time, that was considered provocative. I even remember the outfits and songs of Madonna that were considered risqué. Compared to what we see now, those artists and their lyrics were mild.
Sukihana has caused a firestorm with her recent antics. This week, she was on the red carpet of the MTV awards sprawled out twerking to the camera. The online criticism was fierce. “Let’s cancel Suki. She really make Black b—– look horrible.”
I was baffled by the comment. If her behavior was inappropriate, is it also inappropriate to call Black women a degrading name? Some felt that Sukihana was an embarrassment to the Black race and fed into the stereotypes of the hypersexualized Black woman. Others felt that her actions did not represent anyone but Sukihana and that it was her character that was on display.
“Y’all been looked horrible stop blaming me,” Sukihana said. Sukihana’s behavior isn’t the first. There have been several before her that have made so many are squeamish because of their actions, too. Does she deserve to be cancelled or is this an opportunity to re-evaluate our commitment to one another. Although I believe there are many topics of conversation to be had from this incident, I am struck by the question of “Are we really our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers?”
In Genesis 4:9, Cain is asked by God what happened to his brother, Abel. “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain killed his brother. Cain had a problem in acknowledging his responsibility. Being our brother’s or sister’s keeper does not mean that we do not hold them responsible or accountable for their actions but it means that we have a responsibility to them. “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister,” 1 John 4:20-21.
I think the other question I have is that as much as we can criticize her behavior as being inappropriate and a poor representation of Black excellence, how are we showing up daily and who are we representing in our interactions with others? If we are believers and we say we represent Christ, can those who work or live with us affirm that? Could a complete stranger see us out in public and know by our behavior or the words we speak that we are living what we say we believe? We can’t live on Sunday for the Lord and for the streets Monday through Saturday. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us,” 2 Corinthians 5:20.
People will know us by our love. “If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples,” John 13:35. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails,” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Just because others may not love themselves or others well does not give us the right to do the same. We are different and it should be in a good way! “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16.
Ya’ll, we’ve got some work to do!