Like America as a whole, the history of Texas is racist, sexist, and selectively shared. Fortunately, archivists like Bri Malandro and BOONAPALISTA are using the internet and images to shed light on the true stories regarding historical events. Malandro’s term “The Yee Haw Agenda” (a nod to Black folks in western wear) has wrapped itself around the world wide web, prompting conversations about the way we consider cowboys and their whitewashing in Hollywood. The timing is nearly divine, with Lil Nas X enjoying his fame as a musician with country and rap influences, the Kentucky Derby recently rapping up, Solange Knowles rolling out her ode to southern living with When I Get Home, and fans witnessing a meteoric rise of Black women from Texas who make fiery, honest rap music about their surroundings.
For over 10,000 years before colonizers drifted to Texas, Native Americans lived there and got acquainted with the land, themselves and each other. When European squatters came during the early 1700’s, they brought religion and deadly illnesses, and some were not met with kindness (excluding the trade-eager Caddo). Eventually, this kindness would not be met with any, as Caddo tribe had dwindled by 95% by 1816. There were multiples countries who staked claim to Texas until it claimed its independence in 1836, but this obviously was nowhere near the end of ethnic and racial grievances in Texas. Legal Black slavery continued until 1865, Black and Latinx folks have been strategically ignored during voting seasons, the deaths of Sandra Bland and Jordan Edwards rocked America to its core.
As always, Black people (and women, specifically) have done the work required to shine a light on injustice, entertain while healing, and make Texas a safer space for others. Late last year, 19 Black women made history when they were elected as judges in Houston and Beyoncé continued to heighten cultural awareness with her Homecoming documentary. Additionally, women from Texas are rapping to regain control of sexual narratives, advance themselves financially, and spread messages of empowerment, fun and freedom.
“Megan from Houston, I’m naturally sexy” is a bar from Megan Thee Stallion’s impromptu “Still Tippin” verse. Like the original performers of the southern cut, Megan reps Texas hard, as shown by Pimp C-inspired verses, cowboy hats, and frequently flaunted “H Town” hand signal. In her 2017 video for “Last Week in HTx”, she takes fans on a trip to some of Houston’s landmarks and highlights the devastation the city endured during Hurricane Harvey. She states her own struggles, saying “every..night I was eating cheese eggs.” Thee Stallion has kept her homestate in her heart, mind and music as she climbs the Billboard Hot 100 with “Big Ole Freak,” sells out shows, and posts up with fellow Houston-born royal, Solange.
“I feel like I have to put on for my city, because we have so many legends and so many greats,” Megan Thee Stallion, Rolling Stone
A newly christened Asian Da Brat [FKA Asian Doll] hails from Dallas, Texas and in a documentary with All Def Digital, she went into detail describing the early days of her career. “I [stayed] in the hood, [our curtains] had..tacks. I didn’t even have a bed,”. That kind of poverty in Latinx and Black communities is all too common in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. According to statistics shared in May of 2018, nearly a third of Black and Latinx people living in Dallas are living below the poverty line, respectively.
“I want to know everyone where I’m from and I love repping Dallas. It’s always been more of a Texas thing, though...Texas is so slept on. I just want to put on for my city and state as much as I can and show everyone that we’re here.” -Asian Da Brat, Billboard
Making it out of poor neighborhoods is a goal for many young people who dream big and work hard to make their talents shine. Dallas is a city that’s booming with flair, and hopefully it gets to the point where the resources and opportunities align. But as homeless communities swell and more youth feel forced to turn to the streets to support themselves, there’s no telling when the tide will turn. But, Asian Da Brat is here to guide her peers every step of the way. She regularly encourages Black youth, especially women to hustle, be wise, and maintain their confidence.
Cuban Doll makes vivid, quotable music too, and has talked about becoming a woman while her mother was in jail. Growing up with an incarcerated parent is an under discussed reality that has had an affect on tons of non-white kids and teens. So, the Dallas native sharing her feelings about the last few years of her upbringing holds weight. In a short amount of time, she’s organically grown a large following and has drastically altered what could’ve been perceived as the trajectory of her life.
Black people and people of color have faced socio-economic disparities since European settlers entered Texas. But brilliant Black women are changing the story around their culture and shaping their future. Everything is litter in Texas fosho.