tlc-and-pebbles

I once told a woman that she’d better keep it moving or I’d “walk your ass up and down this sidewalk.” And I didn’t mean hand-in-hand or side-by-side, either. I was a 19-year-old college student.

When her daughter threatened to punch me in my [expletive] face a few weeks later, I dared her. A rumble ensued when she made contact with one of my relatives mid-swing. Again I was 19.

It was an age where we resolved disputes with our hands. Or the steel bat or oversized gavel my friends and I rode around with in our cars. Words were limited to the taunting “Bring it!” or reserved only for essays and research papers. But I thought the fighting phase wore off somewhere in our early 20s.

Apparently not.

In fact, I was rather perplexed when I read that Ashley Reid, the 30-year-old daughter of former R&B singer/manager Perri “Pebbles” Reid and music producer Antonio “L.A” Reid, threatened to assault TLC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas.

“I can’t wait to see you to beat your [expletive] face into the concrete,” Ashley recently said on her Reid All About It Radio show.

It was her response to the depiction of her mother in the “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” biopic and the belief that Thomas had an affair with the family patriarch. A 20-year beef. Don’t e’en get me started on the other crude ish Reid spewed. But I was still stuck on her reaction at her age and how vocal she was about it.

Even at 19, I felt shame when I approached my professor to reschedule my finance exam because I had a court appearance on that same day.

“Is it for a traffic ticket?” he asked.

“Um…no. A brawl.”

But 30-year-old Reid felt no embarrassment when confronted about her “vile comments” during the Pebbles-please-say-more-than-it’s-in-the-confidentiality-agreement segment on Wendy Williams earlier this week.

Her response was defensive and nearly indignant. “If I’m 30, I’m not allowed to be passionate?”

Displaying passion, sure. Punching, meh. As Tamar Braxton would say, “That ain’t cute.”

I get that Reid wants to defend her family. I’d also be upset if my family was cast in a negative light. And perhaps I might envision busting someone in the face. (Full disclosure: I’m sure I would bust someone in the face if she actually hit me first; feel free to talk about me at that point. But I’m never initiating a “Bad Girls Club” move.) Likewise I understand she doesn’t want to appear weak or that she allows everything to ride. Being mild-mannered, I don’t like for others to assume I’m an easy target. But at 39, the most I’ll throw is some Facebook shade and a direct expletive or two mixed with “Keep our names out your mouth” and “Don’t let my pencil skirts and black pumps fool you.

Immediately resorting to “laying hands” beyond a certain age just indicates we can’t effectively resolve conflict. And it says nothing about our maturity and professionalism. Besides it doesn’t even look ladylike for one grown-ass woman to pound another woman’s face into the ground.

The elder Reid did give a little bit more than the I’m-pleading-the-fifth answers in the form of a “We don’t do beatdowns” to her daughter, who only responded with an eye roll and a shrug. Somehow I don’t think this is the last time she’ll be ready to rumble.

But Clutchettes, I’m curious. How old is too old to physically pop off?

Washington, DC transplant Teronda Seymore is a writer and an undercover Twitter addict whose work has also appeared online at xoJane. Follow her @skinnydcwriter.

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  • MimiLuvs

    @Nic

    “…Yeah, I’m a little annoyed that the author is assumed that we were all street fighting at some point. Not everyone was raised to think that violence and fighting were normal. And certainly not as a girl. I always thought it took a certain type of girl to want to jump someone…”

    _________________________________

    I cannot speak for every women/teenaged girl/child that uses their fists as a conflict-solving tool.
    But for me, I hung out with the group of girls because I was tired of being a weak victim. Starting at the age of eleven, I always was a victim of something, whether if it was being bullied or a victim to sexual assault. One of my former homegirls was the person who initiated communication between me and the group. We shared some of the same classes together. I knew about their reputation of being the “bad girls” of the school. But, to me, they were everything that I wasn’t: strong, courageous and confident.

    • Nic

      At Mimi, your experience is your experience, and my comment does not invalidate it, but I still found it odd that the writer assumed that fighting was a normal part of growing up for black women and girls.

      So my answer to that question is never. Defending your life is one thing. Or perhaps standing up to school yard bullies is necesary as well. But let’s be honest, for some reason black kids want to beat someone for looking at them, or talking a certain way, or my favorite “she thinks she is better than us.” (My mom was a teacher and the majority of her students were black and she had to intervene and explain that you don’t know what anyone is thinking and therefore it is not a valid reason to start a fight).

      This particular story and many other examples are ones I took be situations when someone wants to throw a punch b/c of some perceived slight or situation that doesn’t otherwise REQUIRE violence. I’m sorry, but there is no age when your response to someone “talking” about you or “disrespecting you” should be throwing a punch. Black kids and young men seem willing to kill each other over BS like this. So why are we so willing to normalize it? Like, oh, if she is talking about you and you are 14 it’s acceptable to fight her? How did we get to that point if so many black people think this is normal behavior and an acceptable response?

      Did you fight girls who were talking about you or who were interested in the same boy as you?

      But I also wasn’t raised around kids who were fighting, at least not physically, so I never had to make that choice. I’ve never seen girls OR boys fighting. It just wasn’t something that was going to happen at my school or in my neighborhood.
      But whether it’s coming from black writers or white ones, I think it is good not to paint black people as a monolith.
      So even when I thought Pebbles’ daughter might be a teenager it was still an inappropriate response.

  • Blue

    It’s too old if you’re in the same age bracket as the Basketball Wives. I’m not for that getting in your face hand waving arguing nonsense. But if you hit me, I’m going to hit you back.
    And I had no idea she was 30 something. I thought she was in her teens or early 20’s Then she had the never to say on Wendy Williams “Am I not allowed to be passionate” You can be passionate by expressing your feelings in a verbal non threatening kind of way. You have every right to speak on it. When you openly threaten to hit someone, that’s not being passionate. That’s being rahcet.