By Ke’Ana Lampkins
The Verzuz Battle: Monica vs. Brandy live was probably one of the most popular and well-attended events throughout the online coronavirus age. For so many, Monica and Brandy were at the height of their childhood or teen years, bringing them back to nostalgia and good and maybe even bad memories. A little bit of drama was to be anticipated from these two queens being in the same space due to the “conflict” surrounding them for years. But I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the most significant issue that came out.
I’m sure you’ve seen the statuses and the memes; it’s one thing to pit these two ladies against each other for their vocal abilities. Because I mean, well, that is all a matter of opinion anyway. But what started to surface was an issue of class and division. Many comments divided those who identified with Brandy against those who identified with Monica’s music. Below is an example of what started to happen…
It was an apparent war of classism within our race. And what I like to call pain wars. Who’s trauma, and pain is the worst? Who has had the worst? Compared to Monica, Brandy’s experience was almost to invalidate her experiences as less than because they were not as “challenging, traumatic, or painful” as Monica’s. Why are we even doing this to ourselves? Why do we try to hold one experience as more strengthening than the other? Part of it is to validate ourselves, but the other part is that it is easier to judge someone else than to think ourselves. It’s easier to say that the cards we’re dealt with me this way, “oh well,” as opposed to the cards we’re dealt with me this way, and this is what I’ve had to overcome.
The black community, specifically black women, don’t need any more reasons to pit ourselves against each other. Both Monica’s experiences and Brandy’s experiences were real to them and what came from it was beautiful music that we could ALL relate.
Though we have different class systems in America, and various African American families worked to overcome that struggle of reaching the “American dream,” we all struggle against the systemic racism and prejudicial systems that make it difficult for us to move forward as a people. Let’s not fight each other on this and spend more time healing together and helping each other when we can.
Ke’Ana Lampkins is a contributing writer for The Pedestal Project, LLC. Ke’Ana is a Christian, wife, and mother dedicated to empowering young girls and women through counseling, mentorship, and education. Connect with her on Instagram @Beautifully_Yanni