On Feb. 26, Snoop Dogg visited Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook show, “Red Table Talk,” to discuss his recent controversy with Gayle King. In early February, Snoop took to Instagram to express his anger at King for interviewing Lisa Leslie and asking her questions about how Kobe Bryant’s controversial past affected Leslie’s relationship with Bryant. During his rant on Instagram, Snoop called King a “funky, dog head bitch.”
Whether you agree or disagree with King’s right to questioning as a journalist or Snoop’s right to defend his friend, Snoop should’ve never publicly called King out of her name. Snoop eventually apologized, expressing regret for the language he used and for being disrespectful; however, the damage was already done. The internet defended Snoop, dragging Gayle’s character to show their solidarity with Snoop. King also received death threats after the interview with Leslie. At this point in time, if you type King’s name on Google, there is headline after headline with Snoop’s words attached to her name. Despite his apology, Snoop’s words cannot be taken back. They have social consequences and historical implications. Snoop would have never degraded Martha Stewart or any other white woman in such a manner, so why King?
There is an unspoken, societal rule that Black women bear the weight of abuse in silence and without question. I don’t need to explain the racially charged history behind referring to Black women as animals to rob us of any humanity. During the “Red Table Talk” discussion, Smith asked Snoop how it made him feel when he saw how people reacted to his words.
He said, “it made me feel like I had too much power.” At 48 years old, Snoop is old enough to understand the effect his words would have when used so blatantly and violently on social media. The consequences of words are lessons we learn in elementary school. The real problem is not that Snoop wasn’t aware of the effect his words would have, but the normalized degradation of Black women. Snoop knew it was socially acceptable to call King such words because there would be no consequence.
The irony is not lost on me that Snoop loudly and publicly disrespected King, a Black woman, and used Smith, a Black woman, to clean up his mess. “Red Table Talk” was supposed to be a show that promotes the value in honest conversations. Recently, however, the show has become a PR stunt to help celebrities clean up their image, all the while reinforcing how Black women are simultaneously society’s punching bag and mammy. Like Snoop’s hate-filled words, these stereotypes are rooted in misogynoir.