Earlier this week, I wrote about the young lady who had French Montana in his feelings. For those who missed it, the young woman, 22-year-old Maryam Barksdale, whose name and age I’ve just learned, tweeted this.
French Montana, who was obviously searching his own name that day, discovered the tweet and promptly lost his shit.
The response was mixed with people arguing that he was just defending himself against her “rudeness.” And then, there were the people with sense who called his comments out for what they were.
There was no question that Montana’s words and likely his mindset are anti-Black, despite being born in Africa, having been with Black women and having a Black son, as he was quick to let the world know.
I thought the timing of the whole thing was pretty coincidental considering the fact that I’d just published an interview about a Black woman being called a nigger in Morocco, Montana’s home country.
And while French Montana’s name started trending and folks were going back and forth with him, explaining the error in his ways, Maryam’s actual name was left out of the conversation, including in the article I wrote about the whole situation.
But that changed when Complex got a chance to chat with her.
From the way Barksdale introduced herself--”I am not mixed with anything--I’m proud and I’m Black”--I knew she was not shy and had no intention of holding anything back.
When Complex asked why she tweeted about French Montana in the first place, she said: “I follow The Shade Room, and there was a post about how he deleted all of his pictures. So I tweeted something about it--about how, really, no one cares about him. I didn't really expect it to be something so big. After it happened, I went to work. And then I used the bathroom and I pulled out my phone, and I saw that he tweeted it. It literally happened probably two hours after I tweeted it. There are no likes, there are no retweets or anything until he quoted it.”
How did you feel when you saw his response?
Honestly, I laughed. And then I went around and I showed my co-workers. People think that I'm angry about it or I'm depressed or I'm crying or I'm going to delete my Twitter, and I'm really not.
Honestly, I think I made him poppin'. Because if you look at his Twitter, he has like 200-300 retweets [per tweet], and then he quoted me [and got 25,000 retweets]. So I basically put him in this position to have fame again, because he was not relevant until he quoted me. No one was talking about him. He was not trending on anything. And it just happens he quoted me, and there's two songs after [French released "No Pressure" and "Unforgettable" hours after the incident with Barksdale]. So it's just weird.
What were your mentions looking like after it happened?
I got more love from my black women than anyone else—especially not from black men. I got more hate from black men than I got from anyone else. There are videos of [them talking about] me on YouTube, defending [French] from one little comment.
The whole "nappy-headed" thing, and black men defending that, knowing that that term was used during the time when black people were discriminated against, getting lynched. White supremacists [saying] "nappy-headed ho," I see that all the time. And so for black men to be defending that and saying, 'Oh, it's not racist, it's not an insult,' it doesn't really make sense.
What did you think when you started seeing people starting to clap back at French? What were you feeling?
I felt happy. Trust me, I saw hate but...I just felt happy about it. I can't really explain more about it. I rejoiced. And it wasn't specifically just black women. It was all women.
What do you think about French? Do you think that he's personally racist or sexist?
Um, yeah. I think a lot of men in the industry are. He definitely would not have said that I was "nappy" if I was any other race, and everyone knows that. I think a lot of the men in the industry are definitely misogynistic, and something needs to change.
Would you think twice now about talking shit about a celebrity on Twitter?
No, because everyone does it. It's just my specific tweet. I'm in Stockton, California, the littlest town in California. So for my little tweet to blow up like that, it was surreal. I'm going to express my opinions about anyone. If you're a celebrity, then you need to handle criticism. And if you can't handle criticism, then you need to get out of the industry.
I've noticed that a lot of these celebrities, they retweet negative things about them and they retweet hate. They never retweet the love. Out of all those opinions, you just had to retweet mine? I'm not going to stop just because he retweeted me. I'm not going to delete my Twitter, like I said. I'm not pressed about it. As much as people want me to care, I don't.
Maryam is the truth. I wish that I had been able to point to and identify misogynoir with such clarity and conviction at 22-years-old. You can read the full interview over at Complex.