Know Your Role and Stay in Your Lane
An Introduction to Lynell E. Everett and Bleu Anchor Entertainment, LLC
It is the human condition for us to categorize, or pigeon hole, everyone and everything in our environment. We enjoy and even feel satisfied when we can place all the things that look like tables into the furniture box or describe all of the women who stand 5’ 9” and above as “tall.” Such categorization is so engrained in our psyche that not having the ability or opportunity to place everything and everyone into the appropriate box can cause anxiety and discomfort. When we shop for shoes online, we must decide whether we’re looking for men’s, women’s, or children’s. From there, we must then determine if we want dress, casual, or athletic. Moving forward, we have to narrow down the choices between running, walking, or cross-trainers. If that weren’t enough boxes before we get to the correct pair, there’s size, color, insole style, brand, etc., etc. We’ve created so many categories for all of our things and even for each other as people that we enter an infinite Russian nesting doll realm when describing just about anything or anyone.
It may be true that we need all of these descriptions within descriptions to fully understand and safely navigate through our world. Undoubtedly, not having the appropriate category for some things and people create unnecessary danger. Humanity wouldn’t be long for this world if we failed to separate poisons from edibles. Our children would be and are in constant danger if we did not denote and separate pedophiles from the remainder of adults. How would we obtain the appropriate treatment for our illnesses if we didn’t categorize the various medical fields into manageable and understandable disciplines? Despite the ever-growing list of details by which we can describe things and people, categories are essential to human existence. That being said, such delineations can be harmful and unnecessarily restrictive. Just as everything else necessary to human existence can be abused, categorization, or pigeon holing, can be as well.
We oftentimes, as humans, place each other in certain categories not to understand our environment, but instead to define and control the individuals we’ve so placed. We look at a new born baby and immediately attempt to determine whether it’s a boy or girl, more specifically whether it has a penis or a vagina. But, we don’t necessarily do so to understand how the child fits into our environment or how we fit into the child’s environment for any essential human needs. The primary reason we are so concerned with the child’s genitalia is to immediately place him/her into a specific box because that box comes with tacit rules, regulations, and expectations. We expect and insist that the babies with vaginas be emotional, chaste, to wear dresses, and to become teachers or nurses, etc. We expect and insist that the babies with penises be logical/rational, play sports, have robust sexual prowess, and be the higher wage earner in their households, etc. However, most of these imposed make-shift gender roles have nothing to do with our genitalia. A vagina isn’t less of a vagina if the woman who owns it chooses to play football. And a penis isn’t less of a penis if the man who owns it has a good cry while watching Bambi. Nevertheless, we’ve convinced ourselves that superficial delineations like this somehow enhance and protect the human experience.
Bleu Anchor Mission
We here at Bleu Anchor Entertainment, LLC have taken it on as our goal, nay, our mission to step outside these unnecessary boxes and then crush them into nihility. We want to show you all through our lives, work, and business that we are not who “they” have tried to force us to be and more importantly, that you do not have to be who “they” want you to be. This doesn’t just apply to gender roles, but to any category, box, pigeon hole, or any other descriptor “they” try to place you into. You are not 1 of a thousand job applicants, or 1 of 10,000 students, or 1 of 100,000 writers, or 1 of 1,000,000 recording artists. You are 1 of 1 of You. You are not the next Beyoncé, or Johnny Cochran, or LeBron James. You are the first You. You should act accordingly.
A few of my boxes: Black, Woman, Attorney, Floridian. Objectively, I technically fit into all of those boxes. However, I have a bad habit of refusing to play by all of the rules associated with said boxes. I embrace, nay, clutch my culture, my “Blackness” as it were. I wear it with pride. In considering this, in all reasonableness, that should not be a statement that I should have to make. It should go without saying that I relish in my culture if for no other reason than I have no choice because it is the natural state of my being. Nevertheless, I state it here just to be clear. In symmetry with such relishing, I wear my hair in its natural (4c) state when I don’t have braids (blue, purple, red, etc) or other protective styles. (If you’re not familiar with the term “protective style,” stay tuned to Bleu Anchor Entertainment and we’ll educate you on that and so very much more).
If It Doesn't Fit...
Apparently, when you simultaneously fit into the four boxes mentioned above some of the rules are mutually exclusive, or so I’ve been told. On more than one occasion, I’ve been told that my career would suffer if I did not remove my braids or take the various “unnatural” colors out of my hair. I’ve been told that I should wear a skirt or dress while practicing before a particular judge (elderly, white, republican, judge). I’ve been told that I should be less “pro-Black” in my online presence. I’ve been told that I should be less “militant” in my fight for my people. I’ve been told (by a white woman) that saying “my people” when referring to other Blacks is offensive to her. I’ve been told that I’m making myself unemployable by speaking out against systemic racism, police brutality, rape culture, Black love, white “supremacy”, and white privilege.
To all of you who don’t know me yet, let me introduce myself. My name is Lynell Estelle Everett and I do what the f*ck I want. I’m not here to be what the world wants me to be. I was created for a purpose and the only way I can live out that purpose is to be wholly and completely Me. A little insight into Me:
When I was six years old (1987), I went to Lucas Elementary School in East St. Louis, District 189. At the time, the school had on one side of the building the girls’ playground and on the other side of the building, the boys’ playground. The boys’ playground consisted of a jungle gym, monkey bars, a slide, and some other cool equipment. The girls’ playground consisted of absolutely nothing. On the first day of school, the teachers tossed us a cut up phone line (that’s a land line cord for you millennials) and told us to jump rope.
When I questioned my teachers to find out why the girls were not allowed to play on the playground equipment, I was told more than once that girls’ shouldn’t get dirty, we might get hurt, girls don’t look good with scars, and some other misogynistic nonsense. Let me state that all of my teachers were women at the time. Those reasons didn’t sit well with me, so every day for the first three days of school when it was time for recess I ignored my teachers and went directly to the boys’ side. And every day for the first three days of school, I was forcefully told to go to “my” side for recess. My teacher used that tone that I believe now days on people my age and older will understand, and I swiftly got myself to the other side. When I went home on that third day of school, I told my mother what had been happening. She told me that I had every right to play on that playground equipment if I wanted to and to not let anyone stop me.
On that fourth day of school, I again went to the boys’ side, only this time my resolve was fortified, and I shan’t be moved. After several forceful admonitions, my teacher physically grabbed me and took me to the other side. She handed me a piece of phone cord and told me to jump rope. I slowly, deliberately, and purposefully walked back to the boys’ side and finished out recess on the jungle gym. To say that she was livid is an understatement.
When recess was over, I spent the rest of the day standing facing the corner. At the end of the day, she was escorting me to the principal’s office to wait for my mother to come pick me up instead of being allowed to wait in class like everyone else who didn’t ride the school bus. Little did she know that I shan’t be moved. While in the office, there were several parents present to pick up their children. I slowly, deliberately, and purposefully announced to every one of them that the girls were not allowed to use the playground equipment and that I was physically removed from the equipment when I tried to use it. The parents were not pleased.
On the fifth day of school at recess all of the kids were playing on the “boys’” side.
I’m 37 years old now and I wear pants and purple and blue braids to court. And I win.
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