By Latasha Mac
As the world mourns Kobe Bryant, there has been controversy regarding how he should be remembered. Given who he was, how beloved he was and the tragedy of his passing, one would think that his legacy would be revered in the highest regard with the utmost respect and integrity. Although he is gone, I am assured that he will receive numerous posthumous accolades and the world will never forget the impact he not only made to the NBA but to sports in general. As amazing as he was on and off the court, there are some who can’t help but to bring up a time in his life when he had some legal trouble. The case was eventually dismissed, and Kobe was never convicted of any wrongdoing (personally, I never believed for a second that he did what he was accused of).
Recently, Gayle King, who is a National Broadcast Journalist interviewed WNBA star and good friend of Kobe Bryant, Lisa Lesley. Gayle brought up in her interview with Lisa Kobe’s past legal troubles and asked Lisa what effect would it have on his legacy. To make a long story short, Lisa defended her friend and kept the interview moving. I’m not sure how long after the interview, but CBS, the network Gayle King works for released an excerpt of the interview; the portion of the interview when Gayle was discussing Kobe’s past. That’s when all hell broke loose on the internet. Gayle King instantly became the new Judas to the black community. Everyone from black celebrities, athletes, radio personalities, and common people dragged Gayle King through the mud across all seven continents. Snoop Dogg posted a video letting everyone including Gayle King know exactly what he thought of her questions. Snoop Dogg is known for his outbursts, vile language and not holding back how he feels. He called Gayle (as the older folks would say) everything but a child of God. I saw the video and was like, well dang Snoop. But truthfully, my feelings at the time were anything but empathy for her. As I mentioned earlier, I have always been a big fan of Kobe. And to read that this black woman journalist was asking questions about a part of his past that had no relevance on his legacy and all while he hadn’t even been laid to rest yet, were hurtful and downright disrespectful. To be totally transparent, I’ve never been fond of Gayle King. I gave her kudos for how she handled the R. Kelly interview last year. I thought her composure was impeccable given the spectacle he was making of himself. However, even after that, I still was no champion of hers. So, it was not difficult for me to take my unfondness for her and my love for Kobe and amen every comment I saw belittling her. I even posted a status on my Facebook page expressing my disgust for her. (I deleted that post later that day.)
I was furious that Gayle King would discuss anything that remotely depicted Kobe in a negative light. I debated for two days with people who were defending her. While I didn’t agree with death threats against her, my stance was “she brought it upon herself.” I watched a video by one of my mentors, Michael Eric Dyson and he made some good points that calmed me down but also made me think. While I disagreed with Gayle’s actions, she did not deserve the verbal assault by Snoop Dogg and others who were berating her, disrespecting her and belittling her shamelessly. I know firsthand what it is like to be verbally assaulted by a black man. And worse, by one whom I once loved. There is never a reason why any black woman should participate or condone the belittling of another black woman. I was reminded during my time of reflection how I felt when a black man called me a Bitch and said other hurtful things to my face all because he disagreed with something I said or did. I’ve been in a situation where I was blatantly disrespected in the presence of my daughters. So, because I’ve been through that before, how can I as a mother of daughters condone the verbal dragging of another black woman because I was upset at her actions? I cannot and will not. This sort of behavior sets us as a people all the way back. I’m embarrassed and a bit ashamed that I allowed my emotions to take me there for even a minute. I don’t know Gayle King personally; however, she did not deserve that abuse at all. It was so easy for Snoop Dogg to publicly berate her without batting an eye which is ridiculous. We should be able to call people to the carpet and hold them accountable without abusing them. Furthermore, as Michael Eric Dyson said in his video reacting to the verbal assault, Kobe Bryant would not be pleased with this behavior. He was a champion of women’s rights and supported women in sports and other industries. And besides, he was the father of four daughters. He would have been disgusted at the behavior even though people were calling themselves defending his legacy. He didn’t stand for that. And we shouldn’t stand for it either.
There were a plethora of black women cheering and clapping for Snoop Dogg when he posted that video. I can’t help but to wonder if any of them have ever been disrespected by a black man before and how did it make them feel. I am woman enough to admit that I had a temporary lapse in judgement because of my raw emotions. Still, being emotional was no excuse. I am a champion for black women. And it is my responsibility to give a voice to us by uplifting, inspiring and encouraging us to be our best selves. I cannot do that if I’m a part of the masses that are trying to tear us down. I implore everyone, don’t participate or condone this behavior because we don’t want that to be our legacy.
Latasha “Tasha Mac” McGill is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Tasha Mac is a grammar geek who is obsessed with coffee, high heels, lipstick, 90s R&B and Comic book movies. She is also a vegetarian whose idea of “turning up” is being in bed by 9pm, working out, watching HGTV and reading a book.
Connect with her on Facebook @ Latasha McGill, on Instagram @ TashaMac523, on Twitter @ LadyT523