The second episode of Archetypes, The Duality of Diva, with Mariah Carey went live yesterday. A very interesting conversation that should inspire conversation in many quarters. Predictably though, people have gotten hung up on contextless click-baity headlines and are loosing their sh!t.

I’m referring to the partially singled out quote

“If there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only once I started dating my husband. Then I started to understand what it was like to be treated like a Black woman.”

Folks are up in arms about this.

Is Meghan’s assertion of being treated like a black woman, ie feeling the overt and undeniable discrimination that black women are subjected to, since she started dating Harry correct? Yes. Does it mean that she feels undeserving of such treatment because she’s lighter complected and somehow feels superior? No. I think she feels undeserving of the poor treatment because she’s human, as should any black woman or any person .

I didn’t see it as negative at all. I particularly thought that was a very important and factual point to make, in the context of the conversation.

Here, I see the intersection of power, gender and race at play and that, in my mind was underpinning the Duality of Diva discussion .

Meghan has said previously, before she met Harry, that because she looks somewhat racially ambiguous, she was able to get into auditions that someone more phenotypically black presenting wouldn’t. Privilege.

Also, she talks about always wanting to embrace both parts of her heritage as anyone should. She said, as you will see below in a 2012 video from an anti-racism campaign, that people treat you differently based on what you look like, and most don’t see her as black and if they knew what she was mixed with, it would be different. That it could be a blessing or burden depending on who you’re dealing with. Again acknowledging the in-built privilege of her racial ambiguity or perceived proximity to whiteness. That speaks to a societal colorist bias against darker skinned women.

Again, in this podcast Meghan references Halle Berry and how her reported experience is different and more disadvantaged because she is darker skinned, even though they are all mixed. That’s not Meghan’s fault, that’s racism.

To that end, and in the context of how DIVA, a word that connotes virtuosity in its original sense, morphed into the negative connotations of a high maintenance problem of a woman, is according to Dr. Mashinka Hakopian, exactly when women who were in the public eye and lauded as divas for their entertaining prowess & glamour, started to ACQUIRE POWER, OBTAIN WEALTH, GAIN VISIBILITY & EXERCISE AGENCY.

In other words it’s ok if you can sing etc, but don’t get it into your head that you’re allowed to BE powerful in the sense of calling your own shots. You’re a woman, or a black woman. Know your place. It’s the same warped concept of “who do you think you are?”. And going back to Dr. Hakopian, if a woman or minoritised person rises in the view/ imagination of the public to a position or stature they feel is not their preserve, then they should be taken down. Hence the duality.

In this context, what I understood Meghan to be saying is that, she now understands what black women deal with (she’s spoken of her own black mother’s experience) and also that her perceived proximity to whiteness has spared her from the gross discrimination that has plagued black women (or whomever society views as black).

BUT when she started dating Harry, which was automatically perceived as access to what is seen as a “powerful” structure and wealth and visibility THEN, folks were like hold up!, Meghan is black!!!( even though she was previously afforded graces because of how she looks). Not as a justification but in a matter of explaining. Straight out of Compton, from the wrong side of the tracks etc., and upon her marriage uppity, full on, up and in your face, opinionated. Why?

Because “who do you think you are”, thinking you( a black woman) can marry a white prince and be accorded the respect that comes with the position (acquisition of power) and unimaginable wealth (in their eyes).

The colorism shed it’s skin and became what it really is at its core: racism. There was never a question if any of Harry’s previous girlfriends( who were white), were suitable to marry into the British royal family. It was a given. None of us can forget the commentary about “ why can’t/ couldn’t Harry just marry a ‘nice’ white girl”?

When the marriage did take place there was also commentary in black circles about whether the royal family would have allowed it if Meghan was a darker skinned biracial woman.

Weirdly, upon her entry into the royal family and the ratcheted up racism she experienced, when some supporters would come to her defence on social media, it was always sobering to see commentary from some black people along the lines of , why are we defending her? She doesn’t even look black. A blessing or a burden, depending.

Instead of listening to the podcast or reading an article in context, it’s almost become fashionable to be outraged by whatever is attributed to Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

As she said in the concluding section of the first episode with Serena Williams(The Misconception of Ambition), the perception and reality are never quite the same. And if we dig a little deeper and not wallow in the shallow end, then we can start to see that we’re not alone in this. (paraphrasing)

But here we are. People are in their feelings. In my opinion, it’s partly or largely because they have internalized societal perceptions of who they can and cannot be, or who they should or should not be, and what their value is based on that.

The misplaced outrage to me, is a knee jerk reaction rooted in a toxic subconscious level of insecurity (one that I think is imbibed from society, not by choice) that can unfortunately be reinforced within the black community where some regard lighter skinned black women as prettier or more valuable/ worthy for example, and may explain why some feel slighted.

I think what Meghan is doing with this podcast is fantastic. It’s forcing some honest discourse that might be uncomfortable but is necessary.

Like Meghan had to examine her own reflex negative reaction to being called diva by Mariah in this podcast, I hope we all take a moment to examine our responses; whether it’s to her, women in general and black women in particular, in our communities, workplaces, in positions of power etc.

What do we think about our reaction to these women, our beliefs about about how they should move in society and perhaps how society has conditioned us to have that perspective, why you have such a negative reaction to Meghan’s comments(even in context if that’s you) and whether it merits re-examination.

Maybe that’s the point.


Post navigation

8 comments on “Knee jerk Meghan Markle Reactions: Duality of Diva Edition

  1. Rose

    It is such a pity that we live in a click bait time right now. Meghan was spot.
    Colourism exists, and to deny it is foolish.
    I read a post once from someone who said her mother treated her differently from her sister. She was darker toned than her sister. So her mother did extra for her because, as she explained to her, the world would treat her differently because of her darker skin. Now full grown, she was posting something that had the same racial undertones, totally oblivious and her reasoning was what her mother did. She was perpetuating the same.
    I pointed out that her mother was the first person who was racist towards her, and should have never treated her differently from her sister!
    This was a very important topic and I hope it opened up conversations within families and society in general. Racism is taught at home, and sometimes it’s not white superiority, it is more nuanced.

  2. Joyce

    Thank you for this masterpiece, you are correct in pointing out the ‘knee jerk ‘ reaction to the comment made by The Duchess. I will say some of us need to be more analytical and have lateral thinking, she was expressing her experience and it would appear that some having this reaction didn’t know her prior to meeting her husband. They should try and find out more about her and they will know that she has been on the anti- racism campaign. Her husband in another discussion has also admitted that he was not aware of the extent of racism until he started living a day in his wife’s shoes, there was no ‘knee jerk ‘ reaction then I think some people need to take l step back and examine themselves before any unnecessary reaction. Once more this was very educative and informative to the point.

  3. Ivy Barrow

    Absolutely ‘on the money’ Irene. This six year ongoing campaign to dehumanise and then destroy Meghan is in two parts. The first part 2016-2019 was to dehumanise & make Meghan ‘less than’ and to ensure she morphed into a compliant slave and be forever grateful to be allowed to occupy that space. 2020 onwards the destruction of Meghan was a clear strategy, by any means. A broken spirit or a heart that stopped beating – it did not matter. To the plantation owners behind the gilded gates Meghan was not human to them and destroying her was like swatting a fly. The increased breaches in Human Rights are mounting and this cult/Mafia family lose no sleep over their activities. Some of us in the Squad have a campaign underway about these Human Rights breaches. We work in silence because we know what happens to Squad members when their names go public. Our campaign involves over 40 organisations around the world all representing in some way abuses committed against Meghan. We have legal advocates. Politicians. Specialists. Our Info Pack is now in its 2nd volume. A number of news networks will shortly be receiving our info pack and we are hoping for dialogue and strategies to come together and push for legal redress. All these organisations need the profile of the excellent work they do at the front line and to have high profile figures in our sights who are about to receive z 2nd batch of documents, we are seeking justice for Meghan and all those people in those groups who do not have the resources to challenge their abusers. We have made it clear where UK media is in breach and we have stated why we know why they have been allowed to do it and by whom. Once the international news networks receive their specific Pack, we are hoping for things to start to move and become more public. It is better for the publicity to come from high profile organisations/celebrity than Squad. It is important to keep these volunteers safe. PS we have approached well respected world renowned universities with top class Law Schools as well as researchers who specialise in human rights breaches. The BRF and their pals in the establishment are angry that the Sussexes are successful and continuing to rise. Sussex Squad have their back. There is no other global support network like us. UK media and Associates are about to go through some things over the next 12 months or so, and most of it will be self inflicted. Unemployment beckons for some. Just watch. After a certain funeral and coronation they will be surplus to requirements and an unnecessary overhead. RRs are at the bottom of the food chain. They will go before those at the top, but in time the Monarchy will be gone too – in my lifetime – and I am old.
    Brilliant article Irene. I will share far and wide and add it to the other Meghanpedia links we have included in our literature. Well done sis.

  4. Jeanette

    Great analysis of Meghan’s latest podcast. I am a darker skinned Black woman. I knew exactly what Meghan meant when she said she realized what black women go through daily when the people on shutter island let her know immediately that, in their eyes, she was entirely black even though one of her parents was white. I didn’t take offense with what she said. To me it was just another validation of the racist treatment we Squaddies knew she received while over there. Thank you for your unwavering support of our Duchess, to include receipts.

  5. Conie Brussels

    Once again another excellent article!!!!!👍👍👍💖💖💖👏👏👏🙏🙏🙏 well done Irene and keep it coming Thanks

  6. Sherry Ware

    I agree wholeheartedly with the points made in the article, Knee Jerk Meghan Markle Reactions: Duality of Diva Edition. As always Meghanpedia brings the receipts to back up anything written. Princess Meghan is about being ‘authentic’ and ‘speaking the truth’. How can anything change or a problem solved if you never discuss all aspects of the problem? Duchess Meghan is single-handedly starting the difficult conversations with Archetypes with Meghan podcast.

    Thank you Meghanpedia for fighting against misinformation/disinformation!

  7. Charlotte Price

    Amen. Amen. Amen again.Thete are no lies in this article! I hope everyone reads it with the open mind it deserves.Thamk you.

Comments are closed.