Why Sharing Jill Scott’s Nudes Is A Violation of Every Black Female Body

JIll Scotts Nudes and The Black Female Body

Go on twitter and type in Jennifer Lawrence. What do you find under photos? Memes about her nudes, jokes about her nudes, even heavily censored copies of her nudes, but what you won’t find, are her nudes. Now type in Jill Scott on twitter. What do you find under photos? Jill Scott’s nudes.

The “Fappening” has been this outbreak of leaked celebrity nudes over the last week or so that is inclusive of Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jill Scott. The outrage behind the leaking of these nude photographs has been tremendous as feminists, and just people in general, have expressed the clear issues of privacy violation that exists by the spreading of the pictures. In particular people have taken to the internet to voice how the issue is a violation of women’s rights, to pass a nude photo of a woman not meant for public consumption around like a trading card. Twitter was quick to snatch off any of the nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence that appeared and suspend the accounts of those sharing it, but I can personally attest to the fact that over 20 hours later, the photos of Jill Scott are still in circulation. There’s no great call to action for those who continue to circulate her photos. Even though Ms. Scott took to twitter herself to point out that one of the photos was not actually her, both of the photos are still in circulation and are being treated as if they are photos of her.

Jill’s Essence Magazine Cover

There are two issues personified by the lack of call to action for the protection of Jill Scott’s body. First of all it is a prime example of the racial divide within feminism. While more often than not we stand together as women to protect our rights and freedoms there was a time in the dawn of feminism when it was believed to belong only to white women; because to involve the rights of Black women would jeopardize those of the white. Although we as Black women have integrated into feminism, there does exist this fine invisible line made up of white privilege and the double-edged sword that still makes Black women somewhat of the secondary party in feminism. Situations like this nude photo outbreak highlight where Black women’s protections stand in the realm of feminism.

The second and slightly more scary issue personified here, is that this whole situation has a very Sarah Baartman- esque tone to it. The Black woman’s body has never had any protection in society. It has always been a spectacle, to be gawked at and used as everyone, but Black women, sees fit. The Black woman’s body has been exploited from the moment it arrived on American soil; it is always on display and under scrutiny. So to continue to pass around photographs of Jill Scott’s body with the casual nature of sharing a stick of gum is a disturbing reminder that in 2014 the Black woman’s body still has no protection.

What is possibly the most upsetting reminder of all is that while Black women are held accountable as the keepers of their body, Black men are equally responsible for helping to uphold the sanctity of the Black body in general. While I don’t believe that you need a man’s protection, there is something unspoken in the solidarity of the Black community that the Black man should protect the Black woman’s body, as if it was his mother’s; because it is.  It’s soul crushing to realize as you scroll through social media, that most of the sharing of the photos, the hurtful comments about Jill’s body, and the primary exploitation and display is the result of actions by Black men. It’s Black men tweeting about whether they would “smash” or not. It’s Black men who are discussing and comparing her size and body type to that of other woman. Black men on social media dissecting this Black woman’s body for the whole of society to see.

When you choose to share Jill Scott’s nude photo, you are not just clicking send on a tweet or status, you are not just posting a new photo to Instagram. You are violating the sanctity and protection of the Black woman’s body. It is not just Jill’s photo that you’re sharing, when you click share you are contributing to the statement that says “we do not concern ourselves with the protection of Black women’s bodies.”

8 Comments on Why Sharing Jill Scott’s Nudes Is A Violation of Every Black Female Body

  1. synistah
    September 6, 2014 at 10:01 am (3 years ago)

    This article is BS. I knew it wouldn’t take long for somebody to try and inject race into this. The simple fact is that Jennifer Lawrence is infinitely more popular that Jill Scott at this particular time, and THAT is the reason so much attention has been paid to Jennifer. Jill Scott would’ve been much more of a focus if this had happened while she was really big, but it didn’t, and she’s not anymore. Stop trying to twist a situation to fit your own sorry “everything is about race” delusion.

    • Ariel Leconte
      September 6, 2014 at 10:19 am (3 years ago)

      Well first let me say that there is no delusion that race plays into situations. If you believe that we live in a post racial society then unfortunately you’re sadly mistaken. Second, this article is a blog post of opinion that is backed up by historical fact & evidence. It is a FACT that when feminism was established it was not inclusive of Black women, it is also a FACT that there has historically been a different standard of respect and protection for the Black woman’s body as opposed to the white woman’s. If you read the article more closely you would realize that I point out that this is a reminder of a GREATER issue in feminism and that it is not in fact the embodiment of every issue in race and feminism. It is what I personally feel is an example of a problem. There’s multiple issues at hand here, including body shaming, but as a Black woman and someone who has dabbled in the feminist world, this is what I saw, & how I felt. As it clearly states in the about section of this blog, I write to share my opinion & what’s on my mind, not to force an agenda down anyone’s throat. So there’s no BS here, because I’m entitled to feel how I please just like you’re entitled to disagree. What you are not entitled to do is inform me that I’m twisting things for the fulfillment of a delusion because you sir have not lived my experience as a Black woman, but thanks for your opinion.

  2. zackboston
    September 7, 2014 at 11:18 am (3 years ago)

    Amen. I thank you and the young women and men I teach and learn with thank you for your good words.

  3. Akilah
    September 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for this, Ariel. I, like you, see the clear distinction between how Black women’s rights are violated in both overt and covert ways in our society. I just had a spirited discussion on Instagram with a Black woman who said that feminism is a “white girl issue” and that Black men can “never be the oppressors” because of our history. I mentioned the difference between noble and naive, and that though I fully understand that initially, feminism absolutely marginalized and suppressed Black women’s issues, today, some of us choose to claim the movement for our own issues. And in claiming feminism, I think we empower ourselves to stand up for our own, and to not let the distinction of feminism serve to separate or suppress us. Nonetheless, there is still much work to be done. And as you’ve pointed out, we are still viewed as less important in so many ways, including the truth on how the sharing of Scott’s leaked photos were treated. I appreciate you risking expression in this way. We need this.


3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Why Sharing Jill Scott’s Nudes Is A Violation of Every Black Female Body

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  3. […] a look at it in terms of myself and even more importantly in terms of this blog. When I wrote my Jill Scott piece a month or so back, I pointed out the separations in feminism and their historical roots. When The […]

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