Nice for What? A Black Woman Spiritual

Imagine this: you just got off a long day of work and/or an intellectually exhausting ordeal of classes. All you can think about is the wine in the fridge, your furry slippers, and Netflix. You’re ignoring the texts from your family asking for an opinion or a favor because you need to be rejuvenated before you can even think about expending yourself in that way. You’ve been trying to ignore the guy across the street who’s been wanting your attention for the last two blocks. Because you zoned out there for a sec, you didn’t notice that he’s crossed the street and now walking next to you. He starts talking, waiting for you to take out your earbuds and you’re really not trying to stop listening to Bickenhead right now. But you sigh, and take them out anyway…

And then you scream “NICE FOR WHAT NIGGA??” as you walk across the street and continue to frolick home.

^^ This is how I’m trying to be all Summer ‘18. And then for the remainder of 2018. AND FOR THE REST OF MY BLACK ASS WOMAN’D LIFE.


Regina Hall "Well Hey" - Nice for What


Nice For What?


Let me acknowledge that we can always count on Drake for a perfectly timed summer bop. Nice for What is him staying in his lane. Let the reggae-ish songs go now. Give us more of these. Please and thanks. Originally I wasn’t in a rush to listen to the song but I was listening to The Read, my absolute favorite podcast, and they were gushing over the video to the song. So I figured to give it a listen. And then I finally watched the video tonight. Seeing Tiffany Haddish, Tracee Ellis Ross, Letitia Wright, and Issa Rae who was being a boss at a table full of old crusty white men, I cried. I continued to blast the song on repeat in the uber ride home. I remember saying out loud to myself this song is perfect.




I started thinking about my own life. I’m bouncing back from heartbreak, managing crippling depression and anxiety, having an existential crisis because I don’t know what my next career moves should look like, dragging myself through the exhaustion of the PhD process, all while still trying to have a fuck left to give about the personal problems of the people in my life. But most importantly: I’m standing on my own two feet and paying my bills. So, I’m trying to be nice to the randoms in my DMs for what??


Listening to the song really felt like Drake was trying to have a serious personal conversation with me. Like I was laying on a couch frustrated and seeking guidance and he proceeded to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose and told me to listen up and then answer one question for him. After laying out everything I’ve accomplished in life and on a daily basis, he clasps his hands and asks me: you gotta be nice for what to these niggas? Then the tears start to fall because I don’t really have a satisfactory answer. All I can hear is get yo life.


The Lesson:


This song has really helped me put who I am back into perspective. I have an issue with “niceness”. Being a black woman complicates this for me. I’ve been made to feel like my niceness is owed to anyone who requests it. I should smile at the random dude on the street because my serious face is not to his liking. I have an obligation to be an emotional crutch for my entire family and I should be available to provide my labor for every favor they ask of me. As a personality thing, I’m either irrationally irate or meekly mute. I’m a savage Sagittarius and an empath that sometimes cares about how the things I say affect people, I often opt to hold back my true feelings and they end up burning me up on the inside forever.


As a double-digit dress size wearing, dark-skinned, highly educated woman, I’ve settled for having slim pickings in a mate. While I admit that I’m just genuinely attracted to blue-collar workers I’ve taken some real bullshit from dudes whose idea of romance was “good morning beautiful” texts that they sent to every chick in their phone book and didn’t read books without pictures.


Something about listening to nice for what had me feeling like somebody was listening. Somebody was acknowledging my greatness and asking me not to doubt it. Telling me to be unapologetically me. An accomplished boujee ratchademic.





14 thoughts on “Nice for What? A Black Woman Spiritual

  1. I so loved and needed this. Navigating the extremes of nice and angry have gotten beyond tedious. It’s liberating when you reach the epiphany that you aren’t required to be either and can still live your best life. Thank you for this fresh take!

    P.S. I’m also a fan of “The Read”.

  2. I relate to this so much. I still haven’t heard the song, but after this, I may go give it a listen. I’ve had this issue for a long time, but last year I just decided to stop, because I don’t have the energy for all that, anymore.

  3. Yaaassss! Thank you for writing this. A coworker of mine told me to listen to this song and I’m glad that I did. I have always been told that I was mean looking and never smiled from men. What am I smiling for? You have not given me anything to smile about. You are right! Drake song is a theme for eternity.

  4. This was a word. As black women we’re just supposed to give, give, give to folks who would not do the same for us. You’ve put a name on the invisible expectation I have working as a sales associate/cashier. Give your all to the company and the customers even if it kills you. You could drop dead from spreading yourself too thin, but who cares! We’ll just find the next victim and keep it moving. Disposable.
    Ima listen to that Drake song now. This shall be therapy.

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