I have had enough. Every single day, it is something new. Whether it a tweet with a picture of a beautiful black woman captioned, ‘Natural Hair > Weave’ or a video uploaded to YouTube entitled something like, ‘Booty & Breast: Is this all Black Women have to offer?’ I have actually had enough. I have had this conversation time and time again with my circle of friends. However, I have never written or spoken about it. It’s that time.

Fake Deep. A term that has grown in popularity over the past year or so, most likely because there has been a growth in this type of character and we’ve needed a label for it. These men are sweeping the nation. What is it, one might ask? You won’t find it on urbandictionary.com and rightly so. Often those who are “fake deep” aren’t even aware that they are. Whilst they believe they are empowering black women by telling them to “wear your natural hair, it is your beauty” they somehow manage to shame, insult and dehumanise any other black woman who has chosen to style her hair in a different way. In turn, you have insulted us and dehumanised all black women because here’s the gotcha – we are actually one and here for each other. We ain’t here for you booboo.

Point of Digression: Personally, I don’t actually know if I am all the way for the word ‘deep’ as I feel it carries elitist connotations. Those who are ‘deep’ may think they are superior to someone who is not ‘deep’. Why should we have to label ourselves? When we believe and stand for something real and of substance, it will shine bright. There’s no need to prove it to others. You know who you are init. But let’s be fair though, ‘fake deep’ is really the best way to define the man we are talking about. End of digression.

Now, let me make this quite clear. I am not male-bashing. I’m just trying to let you lot know that our bodies and voices belong to us, and us alone. I am even annoyed with myself for feeling the need to add a disclaimer to this entry. ‘I am not male-bashing’. Feeling the need to justify myself proves the way in which society forces us to censor and silence ourselves. We are to be seen and not heard, and our job is to simply fulfil the desire of the male gaze. The fake deep male truly believes he loves black women and is an example of how every black man should be. But this is what you need to understand. Love is not ownership.

Our bodies, minds and souls do not long belong to you. You do not have the authority to speak on our lives or what a “real woman” should look like because really and truly, you are not a real man babe. If you were, you would understand that having a weave does not mean that you hate yourself. Nor does posting a selfie showing some leg, midriff or chest mean you’re ratchet and don’t respect yourself. Being a real man is so much more than quoting some bell hooks. Or better yet, as a real man, you would empathise and try everything in your power to understand what it means to live a day in our shoes. When you begin to do this, you begin to become wholly human. It is one thing being a woman – but to be a black woman is something completely different and something you will never truly understand until you are… well… a black woman. Since that’s impossible, the next best thing for you to do is to listen to, learn about and respect our very being.

So we have laid the foundation. We have defined what the term ‘fake deep’ is, but how exactly do we sort through the mandem? I am not going to lie to you; it can be difficult to determine the real from the fake. There are a few key factors to remember and which could prove quite helpful.

If in your attempt to prove you are real, you drag one woman down whilst lifting another up – you are fake deep. If you constantly speak about your so-called greatness, without your so-called greatness speaking for itself, you are fake deep. Oh, and one of my all time favourites. If you refer to women often as ‘females’, then you are fake deep. We are not animals; we are people. When you call us ‘female’, you reduce us to nothing more than the sex that can bear offspring, stripping us of our humanity. As the dictionary defines, ‘woman’ is an adult human female, not simply, female.

The last point I made reminds of something I saw on Facebook the other day. A guy I know (well, a friend of a friend) posted a video of a young woman wearing a lace-front braided wig. His comment read, “Ah, this is the shit I can’t stand! This is why females should just keep their hair natural, it’s so much more attractive”. There we have it. The use of the word ‘female’, the policing of black women’s hair and the low-key dragging of one person to prop another up. You are fake deep. How can you even comment on a subject such as hair? You don’t even have any. The same said guy posts images and memes with captions stating things such as “being respected and loved should mean more than gaining likes for your bum, breasts and thighs” and “a man wouldn’t love a woman he doesn’t respect”. Once again, our bodies are being policed and you are trying to shape and mould us into an object that aligns perfectly with what you believe to be a “real woman”. You don’t think we actually care for your opinion do you? Oh, you do? Awww. That’s cute. But let me reiterate. Our body. Not yours. You cannot tell us what we can or cannot do. Our identity is ours. Simples.

Recent events that have occurred in my life have highlighted the fact that there are fake deeps residing closer to home than I thought they were. I have had close male family members in the past praise me for my outspoken and fearless nature. However, once their opinion was challenged, they proceeded to silence my voice, disregard my opinions and undermine my intelligence. When speaking passionately about something, or trying my best to be heard over a quite dominating voice, the implication has been that I am disrespectful and rude.

Once again, we are made to feel as if we have nothing to contribute to any conversation, unless they say it is okay – and if we do – we have to justify every single one of our actions to them. It is even harder when it comes to family, because on some level, you feel you have to just let such things slip through the net because… well… it is family. On the other hand, you think no, it is not on. As someone who shares the same blood, you should make it your mission to understand and respect what your mother, grandmother, daughter, aunt, sister or niece has to say. No judgement, no policing, no silencing and if you don’t like it, quite frankly, that’s not my problem.

“So I’m going to need you to take that pro-black, quasi-conscious, pseudo-intellectual, patriarchal, misogynistic, respectability-politics-laden bullshit and take several seats… sir.”

– Cecile Emeke, fake deep, 2014

You can watch Cecile Emeke’s “fake deep” right here.