Delete Your Account is a weekly column that takes the hot air out of celebrities and their social media shenanigans. This is a special MTV Video Music Awards edition.
Leave it to the glamorous and Caucasian news outlets to turn on last night’s MTV Music Video Awards, see the premiere of Kanye West’s “Fade” music video, and then pretend like they just discovered R&B singer Teyana Taylor. And so, like when they discovered cornrows, hot combs, and weaves, some intrepid Brenda Starr hurried to get their Teyana Taylor explainers to the masses. Never mind the fact that the video is an ode to Flashdance, so you could’ve probably just led with that and moved on!
But Teyana was undeniably hotter and more ripped than anyone you’ve ever seen in your entire life, so of course someone whispered just under their breath, “body goals.” Then someone else whispered “body goals.” Then another person: “Body goals,” “body goals,” until there was a cacophonous roar of “BODY GOALS!” at the offices of People, Us Weekly, Elle, Elite Daily, Town and Country, and the break room at Anthropologie. Teyana HAD to be written about. Women, clad in their Lululemon, eating kale salads, and drinking a sensible smoothie before bed needed to know that they could be Teyana Taylor.
And that’s the entire point of headlines like “Who Is Teyana Taylor?” and “You’ve Never Heard Of Her!” It’s to claim ownership of her, to pretend like you’re ahead of the curve. It’s what outlets do when they discover black fashion trends, and it’s also what they do when they discover slang that black people have been using for years. Like, for instance, when everyone nearly had a heart attack trying to figure out who “Becky with the good hair” was in April. It was evident that no one had a single idea about the hip-hop sagas between Aaliyah, Rachel Roy, Dame Dash, Jay Z, and Beyoncé, or how “Becky” was a catch-all term for white girls. Or when movie news sites like Deadline call The Flash director Rick Famuyiwa an “up-and-comer” when he’s directed iconic films like Brown Sugar and The Wood (in 2002 and 1999, respectively).
Teyana has been in the industry for a damn decade. Her appearance in Kanye’s video was actually Teyana’s triumphant return to the network that debuted her. In 2007, Teyana starred in an episode of MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, which depicted the outlandish 16th birthday parties of celebrities and rich people’s daughters. Since then, she’s launched a music career and shared details of her personal life in countless magazines. The magazines reporting on “who” Teyana is are the same ones that wrote up her very public feud with Rihanna three years ago and announcements about her first child last year. It’s perfectly fine to publish a primer on Teyana to garner her new fans, but she’s not new. She’s just new to some of your white readers, so the kind thing to do is not pretend like she was just willed into existence like Dawn Summers. There are easy ways to write headlines that don’t come off as clueless, condescending, or completely alienating to the black fanbases so many outlets claim that they want to read their shit.
But I’m nothing if not helpful! Here, I provide some alternate headlines outlets could have used to report on Teyana Taylor. Feel free to repurpose them for any future black celebrities, trends, or slang:
Teyana Taylor Absolutely Slays in Kanye West’s New Video
Teyana Taylor Is #BodyGoals
Teyana Taylor’s Body is Flawless in Kanye West’s New Video
We Want To Join Teyana Taylor’s Squad
Teyana Taylor Threw Perfect Shade At People Who Don’t Work Out
We Have Written About Teyana Taylor Multiple Times, But She’s Black, So We Don’t Remember
Kylie Jenner Rocks Teyana Taylor On The Red Carpet: See Her Bold New Look!
Gigi Hadid Slays, Murders, Slaughters, Kills, And Eviscerates Wearing Teyana Taylor
Here’s A Piece About A Black Girl We Just Googled For Five Seconds
See how I managed to not refer to a woman showing off her athletic prowess as a “video vixen,” like she’s about to drop her oral sex memoirs on Amazon Kindle? It’s not that hard to do. Because maybe it’s you writing the article who doesn’t know who Teyana is, and not the people reading your articles. And if that’s the case, she’s already issued instructions:
Should The Caucasian News Outlets Delete Their Accounts? Well, if you followed black outlets instead, you’d see all the news they’re reporting six months earlier ...