African American Proverbs

African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The phrase generally refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States.

A collection of African American Proverbs to inspire you. Wise African American Sayings in the form of proverbs that have been passed down for generations.

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Slaves on a South Carolina plantation (The Old Plantation, c. 1790)

We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives. – Toni Morrison

A harvest of peace is produced from a seed of contentment. – African American Proverb

A heard head makes a soft behind. – African American Proverb

A hit dog will hollow. Knock on wood. – African American Proverb

A joy that’s shared is a joy made double. – African American Proverb

A lady is a woman who makes it easy for a man to be a gentleman. – African American Proverb

A penny saved is a penny earned. – African American Proverb

A stitch in time saves nine. – African American Proverb

Ain’t no use askin’ the cow to pour you a glass of milk. – African American Proverb

All poor people ain’t black/ and all black people ain’t poor. – African American Proverb

All that glitters is not gold. – African American Proverb

Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky. – African American Proverb

Arrogance is a kingdom without a crown. – African American Proverb

Be careful what you wish for you might get it. – African American Proverb

Black people must stop acting like crabs in a barrel and work together. – African American Proverb

Black sheep of the family. – African American Proverb

Burning the candle at both ends. – African American Proverb

Character is what you are in the dark. – African American Proverb

Couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn. – African American Proverb

Count your blessings, not your problems. – African American Proverb

Death don’t see no difference ‘tween the big house and the cabin. – African American Proverb

Diligence is the mother of good luck. – African American Proverb

Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way. – African American Proverb

Do as I say and not as I do. – African American Proverb

Dog don’t get mad when you say he’s a dog. – African American Proverb

Don’t beat a dead dog. Do or die. – African American Proverb

Dreams are wishes your heart makes. – African American Proverb

Each day provides its own gifts. – African American Proverb

Each One Teach One. – African American Proverb

Easy come, easy go. – African American Proverb

Eat drink and be merry. – African American Proverb

Eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow we die. – African American Proverb

Family must look out for family. – African American Proverb

Feed ‘em with a long-handled spoon means that there are certain people in life that you have to keep at a distance. – African American Proverb

Fix your face, before I fix it for you. – African American Proverb

Flies can’t fall in a tight-closed pot. – African American Proverb

Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself. – African American Proverb

Go with the flow. – African American Proverb

God can do anything but fail. – African American Proverb

God does not bless mess. Better safe than sorry. – African American Proverb

Going to be a cold day in hell. – African American Proverb

Hand plow can’t make furrows by itself. – African American Proverb

Hard times make a monkey eat red pepper when he don’t care for black – African American Proverb

He that lives on hope will die fasting. – African American Proverb

He who hesitates is lost. – African American Proverb

Heaps of good cotton stocks get chopped up from association with the weeds. – African American Proverb

Hee Hee Hell. – African American Proverb

Hope is the nurse of misery. – African American Proverb

If by chance someone tells you that you got to ease your hand out the lion’s mouth, it means that you must take great care in getting yourself out of a sticky situation. – African American Proverb

If you ask a Negro where he’s been, he’ll tell you where he’s going. – African American Proverb

If You Can Huh You Can Hear. – African American Proverb

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. – African American Proverb

If you don’t have a plan for yourself, you’ll be a part of someone else’s. – African American Proverb

If you look back, you’ll soon be going that way. – African American Proverb

If you take care of your character, your reputation will take care of itself. – African American Proverb

If you want to keep something secret from black folks, put it between the covers of a book. – African American Proverb

I’m not going to lend you a stick to break my head with. – African American Proverb

I’m Not New To This, I’m True To This!! – African American Proverb

I’m Not One Of Your “Lil Friends” – African American Proverb

In the South they don’t care how close you get, as long as you don’t get too high. In the North, they don’t care how high you get, as long as you don’t get too close. – African American Proverb

It takes a heap of licks to drive a nail in the dark. – African American Proverb

Jaybird don’t rob his own nest. – African American Proverb

Jealous? Hate the game and not the player. – African American Proverb

Life is short and full of blisters. – African American Proverb

Love don’t love nobody. – African American Proverb

Love many, trust few and always paddle your own canoe. – African American Proverb

Mama’s baby…Papa’s maybe. – African American Proverb

Maternity is a matter of fact, paternity is a matter of opinion – African American Proverb

Mothers raise their daughters and let their sons grow up. – African American Proverb

African American Proverb

 My great-grandmother would say, every closed eye ain’ sleep and every goodbye ain’ gone, which means that things aren’t always what they seem.  This proverb lets us know that people are always watching our actions. – African American Proverb

Nothing can suffice a person except that which they have not. – African American Proverb

Nothing ruins a duck but its bill. – African American Proverb

Occasionally a man with a right smart education can’t find his knife when it gets in the wrong pocket. – African American Proverb

Old Satan couldn’t get along without plenty of help. – African American Proverb

Old used-to-do-it-this-way don’t help none today. – African American Proverb

One monkey don’t stop no show! – African American Proverb

Practice what you preach. – African American Proverb

Romance/ without finance/ don’t stand a chance. – African American Proverb

Rooster makes mo’ racket dan de hen w’at lay de aig. – African American Proverb

Talkin’ ’bout fire doesn’t boil the pot. – African American Proverb

Tell me whom you love, and I’ll tell you who you are. – African American Proverb

The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice. – African American Proverb

The more arguments you win, the less friends you will have. – African American Proverb

The rainbow might be better lookin’ if ’twasn’t such a cheap show. – African American Proverb

The squirrel can beat the rabbit climbing a tree, but then the rabbit makes the best stew that sort of equalizes the thing. – African American Proverb

The very time I thought I was lost, my dungeon shook and my chains fell off. – African American Proverb

The worm don’t see nothing pretty in the robin’s song. – African American Proverb

To this very day, my grandfather reminds me not to be naïve or gullible by telling me don’t take no wooden nickels. – African American Proverb

Using an analogy from needlework, my great-grandmother used to tell my mother to knit and tuck, meaning that as you work and go about your daily life, you should constantly save or ‘tuck’ something away for hard times. – African American Proverb

Wagon makes the loudest noise when it’s goin’ out empty. – African American Proverb

We ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we gonna be; but thank God, we ain’t what we was. – African American Proverb

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. – African American Proverb

When it rains, it pours. – African American Proverb

When the bait is more than the fish, ’tis time to stop fishing. – African American Proverb

You Smell Like Outside. – African American Proverb

You’ve got to work twice as hard to get half as far as a Black person in white America. – African American Proverb

African American Proverb

African American Slang and Phrases

  • I am blessed and highly favored.
    • Meaning: Used to signify that the Lord has been very good to you.
  • Girl, hold on…
    • Meaning: Proverb indicating someone is about to get a tongue lashing or ass whooping.
  • I’m a little sick, so bear with me as I sing this song…
    • Meaning: Generally said before someone takes the mic and sings like Aretha.
  • You got ____ money?
    • Meaning: Also see: You got McDonald’s money? or You got gas money? or Let me hold $20 real quick.
  • It’s about that time…
    • Meaning: Used to politely tell someone to get the fuck out of your house, apartment, room, presence, etc.
  • No shade, but…
    • Meaning: Used in a way so that you can say something offensive to someone without getting called out for. Similar to No offense.
  • Now, if you knew that homework like you know those song lyrics, you would get straight A’s.
    • Meaning: Used by parents when you come home with anything other than A’s.
  • Girl, have several seats.
    • Meaning: Proverb synonymous with please stop.
  • You better go on somewhere with that!
    • Meaning: Also see: I ain’t here for that.
  • So that’s how you gonna do me?
    • Meaning: Usually followed by an all right, then, be like that or I see how you are.
  • Swerve.
    • Meaning: Also see: Money talks, bullshit walks.
  • Black don’t crack, and brown don’t frown.
    • Meaning: See: Tina Turner, Stacey Dash, Halle Berry, Will and Jada Smith, Denzel Washington, Cicely Tyson, Nia Long, Angela Basset, etc.
  • Where they do that at?
    • Meaning: Typical response to something unfamiliar.
  • This ain’t that.
    • Meaning: Proverb informing you that a) your grasp of the situation at hand is false, or b) the speaker does not approve of the situation in question.
  • What y’all cooking/eating over there?
    • Meaning: Usually said by a freeloading family member or close friend that loves to eat.
  • Man, you play too much!
    • Meaning: Usually said when the joke has been taken way too far.
  • LAWD! Here he go!
    • Meaning: Used when someone comes spouting the same old nonsense or acting like a fool like they usually do.
  • All shut eyes ain’t sleep.
    • Meaning: Just because someone is or appears to be sleeping (literally or figuratively) doesn’t mean they’ve stopped listening or paying attention to what’s going around them.
  • You better eat while we’re here, ‘cause I’m not cooking when we get home.
    • Meaning: Common saying among black parents at social gatherings, e.g., barbecues, picnics, church functions.
  • You stay mad.
    • Meaning: You are constantly irritated by things that should not be irritating you. Relax.
  • Lemme holla at you for a minute!
    • Meaning: The pickup line heard around the world.
  • I love me some big/fat Luther.
    • Meaning: Usually said by an older African-American woman in reference to the late Luther Vandross.
  • Hell yeah, it’s real. Real expensive.
    • Meaning: Also see: It cost way too damn much.
  • That ain’t nothing but the devil.
    • Meaning: Usually meant to discredit negative diagnoses, verdicts, gossip, new technology, or music/other forms of entertainment considered distasteful.
  • Don’t do me!
    • Meaning: Often said after an attempt or attempts to make a joke and/or provoke someone with something they may be sensitive about.
  • You like it, I love it.
    • Meaning: A statement used to describe acceptance of one’s life choices.
  • Get your life!
    • Meaning: Contextual. See: Check yourself before you wreck yourself or YASSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
  • You’re tryin’ it.
    • Meaning: Also see: She’s going for it.
  • We family.
    • Meaning: Proverb indicating a bond that can’t be broken.

African American Proverb

  • Omma do dis
    • Translation: “I’m going to do this”
      I don’t really find myself saying, “I am going to do this”,  too often, but because it’s so fun to physically say aloud “omma do dis”, it’s tempting.
      (singing “Rock me, Omma do dis” to the tune of, “Rock me Amadaeus” optional)
  • Word and Word?
    • Translation: Really and Really? Or can just mean, “cool” or “ok”.
      This “word” isn’t particularly important, but it’s said often, mostly after a declarative sentence. As in,
      Rodney: I’ll meet you at 8:30?
      Jamal: Word
      or
      Rodney: Rihanna just called and asked me on a date.
      Jamal: Oh word???
      In my experience, “word” is a great way to spice up an otherwise-lame-o sentence like,
      Rodney: So I guess my mom has been watching a lot of Perry Mason re-runs lately.
      Jamal: Oh word???
  • Twerking
    • Admittedly, I’m a lot more amused by watching twerking, than I am by the word, “twerking”. But I did learn the word from black people, so I guess it counts as a reason to show some twerking.
      If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video is worth only three words. Which I will explain in #4
  • Ohh maaa Gaaaa
    • Translation: Oh my God
      Black people say, “Oh my God” in a much more amusing way than white people do, and I’ve found that women are much more likely to say this than men. And when they do, it’s awesome.
  • “Fa ril” and “Fa ril dough”
    • Translation: For real and For real, though.
      These are a lot like “word” and pretty self explanatory. It’s just a more fun way to say, “Oh, no kidding?”
  • You wrong fa dat
    • Translation: You are wrong for that
      It was a slow week at my last job if one of the Southside ladies I worked with didn’t tell me, “Oh you wrong fa dat”, at least twice. It’s a great phrase and kinda reminds me of
  • Hayell Naww
    • Translation: Hell no
      A lifelong southsider helped me with my blaccent on this one. I was used to pronouncing it more like “Hay-ell naw”, but she told me she goes with more of a “heeee-ill naw”.  So pick one of those two pronunciations and try it out.
  • Bogus
    • Translation: Bogus
      Bogus is an underutilized word in modern America and it seems like the black community does a better job keeping it alive than other groups I’ve spent time with and I want to commend them for that. I’m also told that it’s common for black people to add an “h” to the end of  “bogus” in an attempt to shush their counterpart’s bogus notions, though I have yet heard it on my own.
  • Girrrrrlllll
    • Translation:  Girrrrrllllll
      This is a great multi-use word. It can mean, “You better be careful”,  “You go girl”,  “You are really something else”, ore most frequently, all of the above.
  • Lay her Down and Smack em Yack Em
    • Translation: Makes a man, healthy, wealthy and wise
      As far as I can tell, not a lot of black use that phrase but they will always get the reference when you use it.

African American Proverb

  • Finnin to.
    • Meaning: This expression is used to state a desire to do something, as in I’m finnin to slap him, He’s finnin to eat some food, etc. The expression is a corruption of I’m fixing to, which is a Southern United States expression that means exactly the same thing as finnin to. I became familiar with finnin to when the sound bite of a rural, uneducated Mississippi black man by the name of Erick Hubbard went viral in April 2011. He was complaining about a devastating tornado that took away his burger. I was finnin to eat my hamburger, it took it! he said. I didn’t think he was speaking English until someone broke it down for me. (You can watch the video below).
  • Bourgie (pronounced boo-zhee).
    • Meaning: It is a corruption of the Marxist term bourgeoisie. American blacks use the word to describe someone who has pretentious airs and taste, who is fake. It is also used to describe black people whose politeness, cultivated manners, and courtesy are considered contrived, excessive, not natural. She bourgie is a common putdown for girls that are considered pretentious.
  • Uncle Tom.
    • Meaning: This old expression for a servile black man who is excessively deferential to white people is still active in the idiolect of African Americans. The expression was particularly popular in the 1960s thanks largely to Malcolm X’s constant demeaning references to Civil Rights leaders as Uncle Toms.
  • Dip.
    • Meaning: It means to leave suddenly, as in I gotta dip.
  • Ma Boo.
    • Meaning: It means my boyfriend or my girlfriend in Black English. It’s a corruption of the French word beau (pronounced bow), which means boyfriend.
  • Booty (pronounced something like boo-di).
    • Meaning: It is a Black American English word for a woman’s buttocks. The word’s Standard English meaning is, of course, loot or money/goods obtained illegally. When a woman is described as having lotta booty, (that is, a lot of booty) don’t for a moment think she has lots of loot to share with you.
  • Bootylicious.
    • Meaning: A woman with a lot of booty is called bootylicious. It’s a blend of booty and delicious. The word was popularized, but by no means invented, by Destiny’s Child (the music group that Beyoncé was a part of). One of the songs in the group’s 2001 album is titled bootylicious. The Oxford English Dictionary recognized bootylicious as a legitimate English word three years after its appearance in Destiny’s Child album. It defines it as: “(of a woman) sexually attractive.”
  • Big ol’.
    • Meaning: It’s the shortening of big old, but it often sounds like big-o. It’s an adjectival phrase often used to modify just about any noun: he is a big ol’ idiot, that’s a big ol’ car, my big ol’ dad, etc. The nouns the phrase modifies may be neither big nor old. As I think about it, it seems to me that the phrase should more correctly be described as an intensifier, which is defined as a word or phrase that has no meaning except to heighten or deepen the meaning of the word or phrase it modifies. I should add that big ol’ isn’t an exclusively African-American expression; it’s a southern American English expression, which now enjoys currency in other parts of the United States.
  • Baad/baddest.
    • Meaning: In Black American English, bad, or, more correctly, baad, isn’t the opposite of good; it is, on the contrary, the superabundance of good. You should feel flattered, not offended, when a Black American says to you: men, you baad. It means you’re really good. The comparative and superlative forms of bad aren’t worse and worst, as they are in Standard English; they are badder and baddest. The baddest guy in town isn’t the worst guy in town; he is the coolest, most fashionable, and most socially adept guy in town. Badass also means brilliant; very good.
  • My bad.
    • Meaning: This phrase is used to offer apologies for a wrongdoing. If someone hits a person in error, for instance, they would say something like: Oops, my bad. It means: I apologize; it was my mistake. Forgive me. Many etymologists say the phrase was initially restricted to Black American basketball players in the 1970s and the 1980s, but it’s now part of general informal American English.
  • Dry begging.
    • Meaning: In Black American English, this phrase means asking for something in a vague, circuitous way. For instance, instead of saying I’m hungry. Could you kindly share that your food with me? a dry beggar would say something like: That food looks really good. I haven’t eaten all day. We call this fine bara in Nigerian Pidgin English. (Bara is the Hausa word for begging.)
  • Finger-lickin’ good.
    • Meaning: The phrase is used of food to mean it’s so good you would lick it with your fingers. It is actually not a uniquely Black American English expression; it was popularized by Kentucky Fried Chicken, an American fast-food chain, whose motto, until 2011, was finger-lickin’ good. I’ve included it in the list because I’ve heard the phrase mostly among African Americans here.
  • We straight.
    • Meaning: In Black American English, straight can mean all right. So we straight [we’re straight] means That’s OK. No worries. We are all right. President Barack Obama brought this expression to national limelight in 2009 when he visited a black-owned restaurant in Washington, DC called Ben’s Chili Bowl. After paying for his meal, a cashier, who is black, asked him if he wanted his change back. Nah, we straight, Obama said. If the cashier were white, Obama would probably have said something like: No, it’s OK. You can keep it.
  • Put your foot in it.
    • Meaning: In Black American English, this phrase is used to compliment excellent cooking. It means a meal is remarkably cooked. My first encounter with the phrase some years back wasn’t pretty. I complimented the cooking of an African-American friend of mine. In response to my compliment, she said, yeah, I put my foot in it. I immediately became nauseous. I was about to throw up when she told me it was just an expression. I thought she meant she literally put her foot in the food. I didn’t realize it was a self-praise of her culinary exploits.
  • Do I look like Boo-Boo The Fool?
    • Meaning: You know when someone makes a mistake and then lies to you about it, but the lie is so bad that you’re actually more offended by the terrible lie than the actual misdeed itself? That’s where the phrase “Do I look like Boo-Boo The Fool?” comes from.
    • The brilliance of black parents is that they can make you feel stupid with a few words and a glare. Forget corporal punishment, although they are good at that too. Black parents will read you to the heavens and make you reevaluate your entire life. For example, let’s say a kid comes home past their curfew and the parent asks the child why they are late. Instead of accepting the repercussions or come up with a believable excuse, the kid answers with, “See, what had happened was my phone restarted and changed my clock so I thought it was 10 p.m., instead of midnight. I called the house phone, but it rang busy and I forgot your cell phone number. So I then tried to email you, but the message didn’t send”. The parent will promptly respond with “Do I look like Boo-Boo The Fool?”. Meaning, do I like like a simpleton? Do I look that dumb? Oh, so you think I am stupid? At this point, the adolescent in question is thinking to themselves 1) “Who the heck is boo-boo the fool?” and 2) “I don’t know? Maybe you do look like boo-boo the fool”. But saying, “no, you do not look like Boo-Boo The Fool” is worse than a wrong answer, because duh, the question is rhetorical. And if you don’t understand that the question is rhetorical, you will piss your parent off even more because they will further question your processing skills.
  • I’m not one of you little friends.
    • Meaning: Another staple for black parents. This statement will be affirmed to you with a swiftness when you seem to forget who exactly you are speaking to. Scenario: your parent storms into your room unannounced, without knocking, because why would they knock in their own house? They then give you an order such as, “take out the trash”, without a single care for what you’re currently doing, because why would they adhere to your schedule? You respond in a way that’s logical to you, “Okay I’ll do it when I’m done…”. Before you finish the last word, you already know you messed up and wish you could start that sentence over. At this point, your mom is slowly turning her neck around like that scene in the exorcist. “Excuse me?”, she asks. You are too scared to repeat yourself. After a mouthful of expletives and reminders that you live in her house and are lucky to be there, she will finish it off with “I don’t know who you think you are taking to, because I am not one of your little friends”.
    • I’m not one of your little friends is one of the most dismissive phrases someone can use. It draws a line saying “no matter how much I love you, this relationship ain’t equal”. Your parent couldn’t care less how you and your friends converse with one another. When you’re speaking to them, you speak with respect. Also, your parent calling your friends “little” is not in regard to stature, they could all be over six feet tall. In this case, “little” means your friends are not on your parent’s level, caliber, importance; which is why you will not speak to them any type of way. Again, black parents are masters at humbling you.
  • Whose mans is this?
    • Meaning: These are words you do not want to hear If you’re out at a function enjoying yourself. As soon as this phrase is said, you immediately stop what you’re doing and head over to see what happened. And on the way you are praying that the person in question is not a friend or acquaintance of yours. Why? Because “Whose Mans Is This” is only said when someone did something so wild and outlandish, the rest of the party needs to know where this person came from and who brought them, because it is time for them to go.
    • “Whose Mans” is the first thing asked on Black Twitter when one of our own celebrities is “doing too much”. Although we may not know these celebrities personally, we feel a kinship seeing that they represent the culture at large. So it really hurts when a celebrity does something that embarrasses us. As much as I love Kanye, I’ve unfortunately had to use “Whose mans is this?” in reference to him way too many times over the past few years. One of the most recent times is when he dyed his hair several colors trying to look like a rainbow sherbet push-pop. I was so appalled and hurt that I had to ask this dreadful question, because at the moment he definitely was not my mans.
  • One monkey don’t stop no show.
    • Meaning: “One monkey don’t stop no show” is pretty straight forward. It’s the black version of “the show must go on”. In the middle of your hustle and striving, no person or circumstance will impede your progress or keep you  from keepin’ on (bonus black phrase).
  • Just tryna make a dollar out of fifteen cents.
    • Meaning: An ode to the black entrepreneurship spirit over the years. Black people built this country for free and were the backbone of the economy during slavery. America has flourished on the backs of black people; our labor, services, and ingenuity. And when slavery ended, we didn’t even receive the 40 acres or mule we were promised. I have yet to see a reparation check for the work my ancestors did. Today, our communities and schools are severely under-resourced, widening the achievement gap and hindering many Black Americans chances at getting a good job. Furthermore, America is a “good ole’ boys club”, so even if a black person has the same education level and experience as a white man, they will be grossly underpaid. So, no matter what rung of the socioeconomic ladder you fall under, this mentality of trying to make whatever you get stretch to something much more, remains.
  • Let me call you back when I get in this house and get settled.
    • Meaning: 9 out of every 10 black women has weekly phone calls so long that it takes up your drive from Santa Monica to Pasadena. For non, Los Angeles residents, that’s the same time it would take you to commute from New York City to Philadelphia on the train.
    • Once they’ve talked to the point of physical exhaustion, this is how the phone call ends, “Alright girl, well I just got home. Let me call you back when I get in this house and get settled”. The person on the other line usually says “Okay girl that’s fine, call me back”. Both parties know that there won’t be another phone call. That was their farewell. I don’t know why Black people just can’t say “I have to go, good talking to you, bye”. I guess we don’t want to make the other person feel like we’re no longer interested in their conversation. I’ve heard every nonsensical reason to get off the phone, many I have used: “Girl, I just opened this grape juice, let me call you right back. “Girl, this wind is blowing at my door too hard, I’m gonna have to call you right back. “Hold on the microwave is on in the kitchen and I’m in the bathroom, I’ll call you back
  • God knows my heart.
    • Meaning: God knows my heart is code for “Yes, I know my actions are wrong but God knows that deep down inside I want to do good; just way way deep”. Once someone has said “God knows my heart”,  just know they’ve already made up in their mind that they are A) Currently sinning B) About to sin C) Premeditating a future sin D) Justifying a past sin or E) All of the above.
    • I know God is tired of us co-signing his name on our mess. But that is exactly what grace and mercy are for. Yes, lawd.
  • I know my car.
    • Meaning: Friend: “You should probably pull over and get gas, you’re on E”
                     Me: “I know my car”
    • Black people wait until the last possible moment to fill up their gas tank. Two of my favorite early 2000s rap songs document this refusal to keep ones gas tank full no matter how much money you have.
  • See, this right here is what we not finna do/ You’ve got the wrong one.
    • Meaning: “See, this right here is what we not finna do” means just what it sounds like it means, “this conversation, this situation, is not going to happen”. This occurs when someone feels too comfortable with you and has taken your demeanor as an indicator that anything can be said or done. Perhaps they are used to conversing with people who allow this type of behavior. Whatever the case may be, at this point you are left with no other option but to let them know you are not that same person; that you are in fact the wrong one.
  • You ain’t neva lied.
    • Meaning: Black people are great “hype-men” for one another. We believe in call and response, highly interactive communication styles. Just like we do in church service, we verbally affirm what the other is saying when pure truth is being handed out. For example, when I speak to a friend and say “Man, 2017 was one of the most disrespectful years of all time”, they will promptly respond with, “You ain’t neva lied”.
  • Beyoncé of black phrases) Do you have McDonald’s money?
    • Meaning: Do you have McDonald’s money is the first-ballot Hall of Fame, Stephen Curry unanimous MVP, GOAT, Michael Jordan of black phrases. Where do I even start with this one? This phrase deserves a whole post alone. Black parents rarely acquiesce to the non-life sustaining requests of their children. Every time we ask for something, we’re putting ourselves at risk. Growing up in a black household, nothing is really “yours”; your parents are simply kind enough to let you temporarily and carefully use something. Anything that is not required shelter, food, clothes, or school supplies is extra and they remind you of it at every moment.
      So when asking for a childhood luxury such as McDonalds, knowing good and well your parents went out of their way to buy weekly groceries to cook for your ungrateful self, they are going to ask you one simple question to determine if you can in fact have McDonalds: “Do you have McDonalds money?” From the tone in their voice to the look on their face, the question is extremely condescending.
      Of course you don’t have McDonald’s money, you could be as young as young as five or six years old. You don’t have a job and you probably don’t have an allowance because why would your parents pay you to do what you’re supposed to do while living their household. Yet, this is exactly why you cleaned the whole house, massaged your moms back, told her you loved her and put a smile on your face before quietly entering her room to ask for a Happy Meal.

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