Elande Ain’t Neva Lied: My queens are still alive

(Trenyce Tong | Daily Trojan)

The Queen of England died, I got an A on my pop quiz and the third highlight of my last week was — I’m just joking. Am I though? Let’s talk about it. 

If you happen to have eyes or ears, you probably witnessed the commotion that was Queen Elizabeth’s death. Black Twitter pulled through per usual and was full of comedic content devoid of any sympathy or pity. Among the best were videos of people hearing “the Queen died” and going through a slew of options wondering which of the queens died. “Beyoncé? Tracie Ellis Ross? Michelle Obama? Whitney Houston been dead. Oprah? Queen Latifah? No? What queen died then!” Upon hearing it was the Queen of England who had passed, I think renowned orator Stephen A. Smith captured the Black community’s sentiments best, “I’m here to tell you right now…we don’t care. *insert laugh* We don’t care.”

It’s an interesting thing being a Black person in the midst of white mourning. When we think of the Queen, and especially the Royal Family, there is no sense of endearment attached to the thought. In fact, it’s why many people took to Twitter and other platforms to point out the racist history that paints the monarchy. The history and influence attached with the Royal Family is actually painful to many minority groups and countries, not the wonderful picture white culture wants to make it out to be. The British monarchy was built on colonialism and the oppression of a great number of countries. Queen Elizabeth’s wealth and influence “persisted entirely because of colonialism.” 

So what exactly were we supposed to mourn? This distant lady from the U.K. that has done nothing but be an active member of an atrocious organization, which only grew to become increasingly irrelevant as time went on and imperialism became less popular? 

Even forgetting history for a moment, Meghan Markle anyone? The racism doesn’t even go that far back. Meghan Markle left the Royal Family because of the racist treatment she underwent. Remember during her interview with Oprah when they said the Royal Family worried about how dark the baby would be? Which, OK, I had to laugh, because my girl Meghan is as light as a Black person can get and mixed with the leprechaun? Yeah, that is definitely not something you all need to be worried about, but thanks for expressing your concern because now we know you all are still racist!

If we are being real, nothing of significance changed once the Queen passed because her entire brand is an expired way of life — sorry, not sorry. Our day-to-day lives were not going to change when she passed like it did with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and Roe v. Wade being overturned. Apart from day-to-day lives, it’s also just a matter of respect. To put it in the nicest way possible, Black people and other minority groups laugh and feel no sympathy because she didn’t represent anything positive to us. 

In fact, I wondered why people all the way in the United States were posting about her death, as if it had anything to do with them. Was there some sense of obligation to pay your respects to this woman because of her title? As Black people, we are even more detached from her passing. 

When we lost icons like Aretha Franklin, Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman, Cicely Tyson, Nipsey Hussle, Virgil Abloh and recently, Bill Russell, we didn’t laugh. We grieved. These were members of society that truly did make a difference and positively changed lives, whether it be through their legacy, their work or another form of greatness. Like Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu stated in a tweet, “Nobody owes the Queen a right to mourn her. Grief has to be earned.” 

While white culture may appraise her as an iconic, reverent, royal entity — a symbol, her symbolic meaning is not universal. Take Thomas Jefferson on the $2 bill for example. He symbolizes various meanings to different people. The Black community often sees a slave owner and rapist, while white people often see one of the founding fathers of their great land and the third President of the United States (and teaches and enforces as such in our primary education). In the same way, Black people do not see the symbol that is Queen Elizabeth the way white people do.

So as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t lose a queen. We as Black people, Brown people and special guest appearance, the Irish, didn’t lose a queen. If anything, we gained a bonding experience and a good laugh. We don’t wish her death, but we certainly don’t mourn it. And, it revealed how everyone can be so split on a single person’s meaning not just to them, but as to how they should be known in the history books. 

On that note, my “Queen Elizabeth has died” buy one, get one half off keychains sale is still running on my store website and you can head on over to — joking again! 

Elande Abate is a junior focused on creating a space for Black discourse from entertainment to serious issues in her column,“Elande Ain’t Neva Lied.”