When Jada Pinkett Smith first previewed yesterday’s episode of her popular Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, she billed it as “an in-depth and insightful conversation about the culture of disrespect between Black men and Black women.” The episode’s guest is Snoop Dogg, who recently faced scrutiny (to put it kindly) over his comments aimed at CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King. Unfortunately, if one had any hope for the episode to live up to its initial promise, such faith was decimated within minutes.
As a fan of Snoop, I understand that he’s charming, and I enjoy his overall demeanor — which at this point is Uncle Charlie Wilson If He Could Crip Walk — but considering the severity of the situation, why is everyone so jovial? Is Snoop really on set shuffling around like the late Sherman Hemsley?
Do we not remember what he did?
After CBS published a short clip of King asking retired WNBA athlete Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant’s 2003 rape case only days after his death, King became the target of a heated social media discussion. Many took umbrage with her line of questioning, many didn’t, but it was Snoop’s comments that gained national attention — which was inevitable, given his stature and the deeply venomous nature of his words.
As I recall it, Snoop referred to King as a “dog-haired bitch” and told her to “back off, before we come get you.”
That’s why I didn’t quite understand why Pinkett Smith mentioned that King was invited to the Red Table Talk taping to take part in the conversation but declined. Of course she declined. Why does she need to be there? Gayle King doesn’t need to heal; the one who called her a “dog-haired bitch” and threatened her does.
I’ve praised ‘Red Table Talk’ before. It can be entertaining, and even healing, which is its stated point. But “an in-depth and insightful conversation about the culture of disrespect between Black men and Black women” this was not.
After Snoop’s remarks ensnared him in his own controversy — including having the likes of former national security adviser Susan Rice post on Twitter telling him to “back the **** off” — Snoop offered an apology to King, who had reportedly received death threats in the aftermath of the controversy. (To me, it was more of an explanation run through an apology filter, but I digress.) “Two wrongs don’t make no right,” Snoop Dogg said in the video posted to his Instagram account, citing “emotions” for the reason he’d “overreacted.” “When you’re wrong, you gotta fix it.”
King accepted the apology via a statement to the Associated Press, citing the tightrope journalists often walk when covering sensitive subjects in difficult times. I can understand why some felt it was ill-timed of King to invoke Bryant’s past rape allegations so soon after the sudden and tragic death of the basketball icon and his daughter, but I get the sense it’s the fact that the question itself was asked more than anything that bothers people. Snoop says Kobe was a “superhero,” thus not deserving of criticism, and certainly not in death.
Like others, I’m deeply saddened by what happened to Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other passengers of that tragic helicopter crash. I also happen to believe that if you love someone, you can acknowledge their mistakes, and in the case of Bryant, point to examples of the good he did thereafter and the potential he had for still more. But regardless of how you feel about the matter, and even if you found Gayle King distasteful in her interview with Leslie, the speed and ease with which Snoop stooped so low was disgraceful — another needless example of how quickly Black men will run to call a Black woman a bitch to put her in her place.
What was most telling about all of this was Snoop’s assertion on Red Table Talk that following his initial comments — again, the ones where he called Gayle King a “dog-haired bitch” and declared “back off, before we come get you” — that “it was more people with me” than against him.
“It wasn’t what you said. It was how you said it,” Adrienne Banfield-Jones, Pinkett Smith’s mother and co-host, said afterward.
“I had too much power, and I was abusing it,” Snoop replied.
There were some famous folks who supported Snoop before the apology: Bill Cosby, a convicted rapist, and Louis Farrakhan, many things but most assuredly a misogynist, both of whom further piled on Gayle King under the pretense of “protecting Black men.”
Interestingly enough, when pressed on his continued usage of “bitch” and “ho” in his music, Snoop didn’t have much of a justification. He noted that those records were old and insisted that folks don’t bring up his gospel album enough, implying that his faith had superseded (and expunged from the record) his misogyny. Either way, a 48-year-old man should know enough not to go on the internet, point a camera at himself, and call a woman a bitch. And if he doesn’t, he shouldn’t be so defensive about any of it.
I’ve praised Red Table Talk before. I understand why the show resonates with millions. It can be entertaining, and even healing, which is its stated point.
Such was the intention here, but “an in-depth and insightful conversation about the culture of disrespect between Black men and Black women” this was not. Instead, it was a display of how Black men are often praised for even a meager mea culpa — and if a person who did wrong doesn’t truly make good, true healing eludes us.
Snoop berated and threatened a Black woman and helped incite anger to the point that she required her own security detail. For half an hour, he was given the spotlight on one of the biggest Black woman–hosted platforms in media — and given free rein to talk about his feelings over the fear and pain he stoked in a Black woman. He is so proud of himself for apologizing, and they are so proud of him, too.
Likewise for the many celebrities who have celebrated Snoop for doing the only decent thing he could do after such a despicable display of disrespect. Even Iyanla Vanzant sent in a video to the RTT episode, celebrating Snoop Dogg for “courage, integrity, and demonstration of leadership for apologizing for your behavior.” The only person who appeared to think of King first was Jemele Hill, who acknowledged Snoop’s apology but refused to let him off the hook.
Those few moments of clarity were welcome, but they didn’t blind me to the rest of what I just watched. This was Snoop doing damage control. This was three women letting him. It will redeem his public image in the end, but when it comes to the topic of “the culture of disrespect between Black men and Black women,” that culture persists because so many within the culture are unwilling to tell their peers they’re dead wrong.