1. When a white woman wields her privilege like a baseball bat to clear a spot for her own oblivious entitlement.
2. What Beckys do.
When one is ranking the greatest Beckys of all time, it’s easy to point to the well-known acts of Beckying, like Abigail Fisher’s attempt to dismantle affirmative action, Lena Dunham’s rant about how Odell Beckham Jr. mistook her for a half-chewed marshmallow at the Met Gala, or Rachel NBecki Mutombo Lakeisha Shaka Zulu Dolezal’s entire existence.
But no one ever mentions the everyday, run-of-the-mill Becky. We tend to single out the celebrities with the good hair while overlooking the real Beckys in the trenches, wearing their pink pussy hats after they voted for Donald Trump, out here grinding every day. The ones who keep America supplied with white tears and safe spaces are the real sheroes. Say their names.
Take Ashlee K. Thomas, for instance. First of all, her name is Ashlee with two e’s, which means she could afford to buy two extra vowels because she wasn’t fortunate enough to be born with a name that allows her to dot the “i” with a heart, like some Beckys. Plus, while Blake Lively, Kendall Jenner and Katy Perry get all the Becky headlines, no one has mentioned that Ashlee’s new song contains more white-girl angst than anything Taylor Swift ever wrote, while appropriating so much, it makes Iggy Azalea look like Kendrick Lamar. Just listen.
OK, now, stop laughing. For real, stop. Could you hear the poetry in the reductive, stereotyping lyrics?
Gunshots and sirens are the music of the hood
Flashy rims, lowriders, rolling slow, up to no good ...
Mama’s gotta feed the babies, standing in the welfare line
Pleading to the Lord, “Please save me, help us make it another night”
I had to check the writing credits to make sure the song wasn’t a Beatles cover or one of the hidden tracks from Lemonade. For a second I wondered if it was an old Staple Singers song, but no—it turns out, Becky-oncé wrote this all by herself (probably in crayon or with a mascara pencil, but still ... ).
It may sound as if I’m trying to discredit the song, but quite the opposite: This song perfectly embodies the entire idea of “allyship.” It is a musical metaphor for the people who use the terms “underprivileged” and “urban” as synonyms for “black.” It’s a reflection of what white people think “the ghetto” is like, what living close to black people must be like.
The fact that she’s doing yoga throughout the video is not insignificant. Perhaps Ashlee is trying to convey a message of how important being Zen and at peace with the world could help the ghetto. Again, the visual metaphor of her doing the Downward-Facing Dog pose while revealing the ills of urban blight is like how Republican senators talk about hard work and education as they vote no on education funding and raising the minimum wage.
So if anyone out there has a Grammy vote, I suggest you pencil in Ashlee K. Thomas’ name for Song of the Year. Never before has one musical selection so honestly painted a bullshit fictional picture of the squalid, black-and-brown-people fantasyland that resides in the heads of the privileged people who would never step foot on the other side of the tracks. Her uninformed caricature of a place she has probably never visited manages to come off as simultaneously insulting and hilarious. And she did it all from the Lotus position while strumming a guitar.
We should really applaud her yoga instructor because the average white savior would’ve pulled a muscle Beckying this hard, but not Ashlee K. Thomas. She wrote a song whiter than an unseasoned chicken breast with mayonnaise and kale, all folded inside a gluten-free Wonder Bread wrap.
It’s the whitest thing ever.