There is a Black woman van dweller who lives on the east coast. She’s older, I’d say somewhere in her mid-50s and lives in her SUV and who everyone seems to always feel the need to tell her what to do. Not only that, but up until a just few weeks ago the audience constantly accused her of lying about actually living in her vehicle. Even though she’s on YouTube I won’t mention her name because if I do then in this context to me, it’ll feel as if I’m making a spectacle of her and her situation.
I ran across this woman a couple months back and was drawn to her for various reasons, including the fact that she has an interesting personality. I backtracked and binge-watched almost all of her videos — including the ones she made before her life on the road but noticed how since she’s been living in her SUV, so many people are so antagonistic towards her. I don’t want to make it sounds like she has no support, because there are a number of people in her corner. But it’s also very notable the amount of people who constantly challenge her. Some of the main things folks say to her is that she’s a scammer, challenging what she says about her current situation, telling her that she actually doesn’t live in her car but is faking it in order to scam people out of money and support. One guy was so rude and so blatantly talked about her hair — she got faux locs installed, and he talked directly over her with another commenter as if she was simply an object, going in on how she wears an expensive ‘Bob Marley wig’. If she eats on camera folks reprimand her for that. They have a problem with the introduction she made for the beginning of her videos, and it seems like everything she does someone has something to say. They constantly tell her what to do, from how and what she eats to how she cleans her car. I’ll also say that I’ve been pretty stunned when she has actually given in to some of these folks. One of her videos was a Q&A and a subscriber — some guy asked her if she’d wear lipstick in order to bring out her beauty — this is a true story. I was shocked that some dude would actually have the outright nerve to ask an unhoused woman to do such a thing, and so imagine my surprise when she replied with an agreement to accommodate him. Next video she was applying lipstick. I wondered what the everlasting fuck?
This woman gets more dislikes on her videos in context with the amount of views than I’ve ever seen, and literally she simply talks about living out of her car. Apparently she finally learned that she could block people and moderate the comments so as of late we’re not seeing the unfiltered versions of these but still some of the ones that are there are pretty incredible. Yesterday I watched her latest video about wanting to give back to people who have supported her, but I got so stressed out over what folks were saying I had to leave.
I know folks are assholes — that’s a given. This is magnified when cowards can sit behind a computer screen with a made-up name and direct whatever violence that comes to their head. But this seems to be more than normal, everyday hate but has deep sentiments of misogynoir, a particular disdain for Black women. I’ll note that many of the folks doing all the dictating, as you probably could guess, are white and male. At least according to their pictures this is the majority so it this doesn’t surprise me at all. White people stay trying to tell people what to do, working their damnest to dominate even in the homeless/unhoused sphere — and in this case scrutinizing this woman’s every move, as if she doesn’t know how to take care of herself.
I won’t get into much of my politics at the moment — I gots plenty. Mainly it’s because I want to stop here and have other WOC — whichever ones happen to come across this post weigh in. I’d love some other WOC tell me what you think about this dynamic. There’s more than just simple ‘suggestions’ from the audience here.
Trust and believe this isn’t the last time I’ll be talking about this. I’m gonna keep watching — to support — and of course I’ll also recognize if this happens in other circumstances with her or other Black women. I’m gonna return to this conversation.
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