Veteran writer, filmmaker, activist, pilot, and mother dream hampton has been an active participant in important discourse on Twitter for some time now. But she’s always been vocal about her unease with the medium, citing its occasional distractions from real-life progress and its propensity to foster premature familiarity and inappropriate interaction. In the past, she’s gone as far as deleting her account because of those concerns.

Those who follow her know that, when she’s able to fully engage with the social media site, she’s masterful at using Twitter to facilitate healthy, useful discourse on a multiplicity of topics, from street harassment to domestic violence to international affairs.

Perhaps her most impassioned topic of Twitter conversation is her daughter, whose anonymity she has always fiercely guarded, referring to her only as “the awesome daughter.” Just yesterday, she was informing her followers of the books she’d recommended for her daughter’s summer reading. They included Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Audre Lorde’s Sister, Outsider. She proudly informed readers who offered additional selections that the awesome daughter was already conversant in bell hooks, Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Octavia Butler. Mind you, the awesome daughter is only 15. She’s also a science superstar, as hampton has informed the Twitterverse in the past. In addition, she’s cultured and becoming well-traveled, the latter trait hampton recently discussed in a column at Ebony.com.

Needless to say, dream hampton’s daughter is her pride and joy — and rightfully so. And many of her followers, who are themselves parents, greatly enjoyed hearing about the various creative bonding and educating techniques hampton uses to raise an extraordinary young woman. I can personally say, as mom to a toddler daughter, the anecdotes have truly been inspiring for me.

Despite what hampton’s disclosed about her daughter to the online community, it’s clear that she’s fiercely protective of her only child, as any high-profile mom would be. This makes what happened online yesterday, following dream and the awesome daughter’s VIP experience at one of Beyonce’s Revel shows, so unnerving.

 

Source: Lipstick Alley (www.lipstickalley.com)

Apparently, a Beyonce “stan” posted a picture of the singer with dream’s daughter to a Tumblr page, where commenters promptly began leaving negative comments about the teen, whose identity was initially unknown to them. dream requested that the photograph be removed. When it wasn’t, she removed herself from both Tumblr and Twitter, to the disappointment and chagrin of many of her followers.

We’re daily reminded that ignorance is everywhere. If any of us remember our middle and high school experiences, we know that unapologetic cruelty is part of humanity’s course. Someone will always divulge information that isn’t theirs to give or hone in with laser-like critical focus on a person’s physical appearance without any regard for who they could be hurting. But even armed with that knowledge, it’s still surprising when adults openly ridicule children, when they ignore the civil requests of their parents to refrain, and when they are fully aware of how hurtful they’re being.

Now, the picture is irretrievable and the damage is done. But in an effort to re-appropriate the concert photograph, which was clearly taken in a moment of unabashed joy (both Beyonce and the awesome daughter are grinning beautifully), Beyonce has posted the snapshot on her own highly publicized Tumblr account. Hopefully, her inappropriate “stans” will realize that this remarkable girl is someone of purpose and value — though it’s a shame that she’d need to re-post the girl’s picture herself to assert that.

Some dismiss Beyonce’s more radical “stans” as irrational parodies whose slavish devotion to her preempts all appeals to reason. “These Beyonce stans out here are CRAZY!” people observe with a chuckle. But behavior like this shouldn’t be excused so easily. Even Beyonce hasn’t been exempt from the kind of backlash dream hampton and her daughter experienced yesterday. When the superstar’s daughter was born, Twitter exploded with speculation about the baby’s physical appearance — some of which was truly reprehensible.

Something should be done. In an information age when celebrities are willing to engage their public and allow us access that would have been utterly impossible ten years ago, shouldn’t we all show our appreciation, for whatever openness they can afford, by being respectful of their families and keeping any criticism we may have constructive and above board?

If we don’t, we will lose our ability to interact with some of the most talented, ambitious, and intelligent minds of our generation. Like dream hampton.

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  • Sally Mayfield

    Yeah this is a wake up call. Damn straight! It’s a wake up call for Dream Hampton to examine her role in all this drama inflicted upon her beautiful, innocent daughter. But sadly, what she will do is use it to go on the offensive, rally her band of minions into a frenzied crescendo of victimized banter and sidestep the issue of personal responsibility altogether.

    Something tells me this latest incident is just the tip of the iceberg of what her daughter has suffered at the hands of an all-too-vocal mother. She is the epitome of the overbearing, rigidly self-righteous, black-than-thou sort of woman who puts her busines far too out there on the Internet for all of Awesome Daughter’s classmates and peers to see.

    I can see it in her eyes – Ms. Hampton’s daughter has the pain of not being able to just express herself without the heavy-handed politicized rhetoric haunting her every step of the way. And the grand irony is that Ms. Hampton, for all her anti-celebrity, anti-American, anti-capitalism talk was deep in the thick of all those things when this incident occurred. She has been courting psuedo-celebrity for quite some time now. Obviously not content to stay quietly in the background like a traditional ghostwriter would. No, no, no, her ego is far too grand for all that. She never let her readers forget that – while she was just a down-home, salt of the earth, type of Everywoman, she rubbed shoulders with Pop’s current flavor-of-the-month. It was that very behavior – NOT TWITTER – NOT FACEBOOK- NOT BEYONCE’s “STANS” (whatever the hell that is) and NOT WHITEY – that was her ultimate undoing.

    Take a lesson DREAM HAMPTON. If you are still teachable.

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    • honeyxzillah

      “I can see it in her eyes – Ms. Hampton’s daughter has the pain of not being able to just express herself without the heavy-handed politicized rhetoric haunting her every step of the way.”

      ^ God, I hope that’s not the nightmare her daughter is living. So heavy.

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  • lilkunta

    i dont see the pic on beyonce ‘s tumblr.
    dream get over it. people make fun of people.
    your daughter is probably being made fun of at school.
    yes words hurt .’remind your daughter every day that is is somebody, she is beautiful.

    and if that dont work, tell her the truth : stans are just jealous bc she has a personal connection to beyonce but they DONT. haha ha

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  • soulfullyreal

    I used to follow dream and stopped long before this happend. To be honest she does come off as self righteous and self important, and the fact that she came at them like “where the fuk did you get this” certainly fanned the fire. However, i think the point here is that they were attacking her daughter. I don’t know how old these stans were, but adults calling children ugly, this, that and the third is disgusting. A bunch of grown ppl cyber-bullying? Really? To me that’s the saddest thing about it all.

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    • Jo Elliot

      Yeah I think we were all intrigued with her at one point or another. Her writing is admirable when she avoids the politicized mumbo-jumbo that is her stock in trade. She is not a heavy-hitter, though, and definitely not a director, nor an intellectual. Perhaps she is a pilot and perhaps she is still “low, firing” which was once her Twitter calling card in deference to her thug roots (before it became unfashionable). One wonders just how badass and “low firing” one can really be when they cower and run at the first serious bout of cyber-bullying. She was a master at bullying herself, albeit from the safety of her keyboard, so she should have been able to “boss up on” those emotions. In a world where you are only as good as your last Tweet, this is the end for @dreamhampton.

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    • Jo Elliot

      “Twitter ain’t therapy and you ain’t gonna be working nothing out on here.” – LOL, advice she could well live by now.

      “Boss up on your emotions before you become a slave to them.” Et tu, Dream? Et tu?

      And the ever popular maybe-they’ll-think-I’m-exotic-if-I-omit-a-vowel “fuk.”

      Come back in a few years Dream, and we’ll let you play with the Big Girls of journalism.

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