Why I find constant criticism about Tiffany Haddish sexist

Where I come from, young girls are told how to sit, how to smile and how to behave. That meant the many things my brothers could do, I could not because “that was not a

Where I come from, young girls are told how to sit, how to smile and how to behave. That meant the many things my brothers could do, I could not because “that was not a girl’s thing” Like when my family bought bicycles for all my brothers and not me. I was lucky enough to have brothers that lined up their bikes and told me “choose one and learn how to ride it” with that small revolution within our house, my strong mind had a free reign to become all I believed.
I keep reading about Tiffany Haddish and I want to focus on the fact that her achievements from homelessness to Hollywood is wrapped by a fog because of the many comments posted about the fact that she “went and had photos with the current regime in Eritrea”
Tiffany was raised by a non-Eritrean mother. Then she raised herself and not in Eritrea. The Eritrean father betrayed her. When a father betrays a daughter in our culture, the uncles and aunts and the rest of the family takes over. Tiffany did not have that Eritrean network. She was left to walk the empty streets of Los Angeles with a sick mother at home. She was made to cross the jungle of backstreets garbage dumpster to find food. She – most probably – had to fight gangs and more. She had to discover and discard the labyrinths of drug dealers and drug user and prostitution as a survival for a woman. She walked all that and alone! We, Eritrean were not there for/with her.
She decided to find her father and face her demons. Yes, because a father that just walks out on a child is a demon. Even if he is Eritrean! She faced him and then she forgave him. She gave the utmost respect a child gives to a parent, that is to bury him with respect in his land. Shall we say “their” land? Since she suddenly belongs to us; so much so that people keep criticizing her for being an Eritrean woman and having those visits with the current regime in Eritrea.
The photos are out for all of us to look at and dissect. But Tiffany did not have the “photos” she is accused of having. No, she did not. They did and tried to bask in her suddenly found glory. Tiffany did not know about Eritrea or its’ struggle. She wanted to claim her half DNA for her peace of mind. So she could “belong”. She forgave her father. How many of us would have done that? I am not sure, for we – Eritreans are proud and stubborn to infinity- and betrayal is something we do not take lightly.
I want to turn to Tiffany as a successful woman. Because if Tiffany was not successful, then her story would not make front page and not many would pick up their pen and use their time to write about her.
So Tiffany is a rich successful woman with tons of ambitions…in Hollywood none the less!
We keep saying that there are not many women in the highest echelons. When we find one, we try to discredit her by finding something “we” want it done in any other way, because she did not do enough “for us”! We attack women – and use any excuse – because they made it high on that echelon and her success is spectacular. So we look for the photo –op with EGDEF and unleash. Our utopia has to rule this woman life because …she took photos with government’s officials of the very country she visited for the 1st time. Let’s not forget that she was not raised by Eritreans parent and did not grow up around Eritreans. The only Eritrean side, walked out on her and divorced her. For, a father divorcing a woman should never divorce his child. That Eritrean father was not there to tell her about Eritrea. He left her to the wolves of the backstreet dumpster to feed herself. Could these criticism about Tiffany be a distaste about her pursuit for fame and landing in Hollywood?
Tiffany is an extraordinary woman, a role model for mine and all our daughters. She gave respect to the absentee father (shall I say sperm donor father?) and to us. The ultimate gift to herself, to her Eritrean father and Eritrea was to dress in our national dress and say it loud and clear in Hollywood “I am Eritrean and I represent all of you today”. That’s the photo Tiffany chose to have. Not the one with EGDEF!
Tiffany is extraordinary on her own rights and we should not be constantly demanding her to be “with us or against us” because the “us/Eritrea” she only met at a grown up age. Maybe there is a discomfort mingled with hidden resentment for a woman jostling in a world of opportunities we cannot find ourselves within. Then, unless we want to be Tiffany and encourage her and say thank you to her, I find some of the criticism I read on line by Eritreans to be purly sexist. Tiffany the woman that went to Asmara and did “koshmoshom” with EGDEF (words I read on someone FB) Wow! If Tiffany was a man, the word “koshomshom” would not have been used. Her ascent is mingled with resentment.
I would like to say to those that used that word and those that did not print it but it might have crossed their minds …just look at yourself in the mirror and try to walk the road from homelessness to Hollywood. Only then try to patronize an Eritrean woman…and even then! 
Tiffany is proud of being Eritrean and I am proud of her.
 Please see some photos of successful women. From all over! some are Eritreans and Tiffany is included.
Kiki Tsegai

aseye.asena@gmail.com

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25 COMMENTS
  • FM March 9, 2018

    Tiffany is a success against all odds. Yet, as she tells her own story there was something that kept her searching to fill the void in her heart; finding her father. All is up to personal interpretation but she is entitled to have her own interpretation but her relentless search and quest to find her father paid off. She was able to reunite and reconcile with her father, in fact walked her through the aisle on her wedding. This is not small accomplishment. Her relentless search for him is something to ponder on – maybe the spark, the determination and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel might have been instilled in her by him at her early age. It is not Eritreans who claimed her, it was Tiffany, who in honor of her father that she claimed her African roots. This is the yearning of every African American to locate his place of origin(s) in Africa. It is in that context the Black Panther movie was able to hit to the deepest yearning of almost every person of African origin. Going back to Tiffany Haddish, as she builds up her career as a comedian and movie star, her ability to know who she is will be something to stand on and lean against. Let us give her space to breath and grow in her career and identity. However, let us be for her if she needs us or when she needs us. Finally, I would like to remind our readers that there are hundreds of children fathered by Eritreans and abandoned by their fathers. Some are coming of age like Tiffany and searching for their roots, others have been embittered by the abandonment and occasionally your run into them bearing Eritrean names.

    In this case, Tiffany is the exception not the norm. I wonder if we knew when Tiffany was homeless yet to do better with dogged determination, what we would have done as Eritreans? Would we galvanize our resources to at least rent her a decent apartment until she is on her two feet? Think about that. It is easier to follow and adore when one is successful and quite the opposite when one is in the condition when Tiffany to be, in need of our help. We do not hesitate passing negative judgments and blaming the victim. As I wish continued success to our sister and daughter, Tiffany Haddish, it is time for Eritrean Diaspora, especially those of us in the west to keep our cultural and family values. I remember many years ago an African American father whose daughter married an Eritrean saying, “I see now my daughter found a country.” This was a profound statement of someone yearning for a country to belong for 500 years and seeing it to be fulfilled in his own daughter. Unfortunately, the Eritrean part of the family never understood such yearning and sabotaged the marriage; ending in divorce, hurt and disappointments. It is time to start reflecting on Eritrean identity – sorting out its positive and negative values not simply tossed back and forth with the media trends.

  • Kidane March 9, 2018

    You are welcome Kiki, I only expressed my deep and sincere inner feelings. It is refreshing to see a consensus on the participants of this topic. Too much has been said about the painful extermination process of our people and the destruction of our beloved Eritrea. Comment comment comment and more comment to the extent of each one of us thinks that we are experts in everything about Eritrea. I strongly believe that this mentality is the main culprit for our disunity. Challenge to each commentator on this forum, let’s build something around us by continuing this discussion, like stopping the disintegration of the opposition.

  • meretse March 9, 2018

    ኣይትሓዙለይ
    እዛ ዝሓለፈት ሰሙን ኣብ ታሪክ ቃልሲ መሰል ህዝቢ ኤረትራ — ሓደ ዓቢ እምኒ ዅርናዕ ዝተነበረላ ሰሙን ኢያ ኔራ። ብሰንኪ ሓርበኛ ሞት ሓጂ ሙሳ ብጸሕ ክጸሓፍን ፡ ክንበብን ፡ ብኡ መሰረት ህዝቢ፡ ክንደይ ግዜ ክንጽመም ሎሚስ ይኣክል ዝብል ናይ ሓባር ምልዕዓል ፡ ናይ ቀረባን ሩሑቑን ምንቅስቃሱ ዘዛምደሉ ግዜ ክጥንክር ንጽበ ኣካላት ኔርና። መኣስ ንሱ ጥራሕ ብሰንኪ ኣኣብ ቐብሪ ሓርበኛ ኣቦና ሙሳ ዊዒልኩም ተባሂሎም ክሳብ ሕጂ ኣብ ደሃዮም ክፍለጠሉ ዘይተካእለ ቤት ማእሰርቲ ተዳጒኖም ኣሎዉ። እዚ ይመስለኒ ሕቶ ኣክርያ ዘሎዉ ቤተ-ሰብ ዘይኮነስ ሕቶ ኹልና ኽከውን ይግብእ። እንተወሓደ ኩሉ ሰብ ብዛኦብኦም ኢሂን ሚሂን ምተገበኦ ዝብል ሪእቶ ኔሩኒ። ኣብ ክንድኡ ግን ሓንቲ ዙርያ ተከዲና ኣብ ሃሎዉድ ኣብ ቅድሚ ዘመናዊ ካመራ ንዝተርእየት ጓል ኣንስተይቲ ሆያ ሆየ ከበሃለላ ሪኢናን ሰሚዕናን። ክንደይ ጀግንነት ሰሪሐን ዝሓለፋን ከምኡ ገሊኤን ክሳብ ሕጂ ኣብ ዝባን ብሽግለታ ተሰቂለን ብሰብ ተደፊኤን ዝከዳ ዘሎዋ ጀጋኑ ዘይተነገረለንስ ንሓንቲ ናይ ሃሎዉድ ጓል ክንድ’ዚ ……? እግዚኣብሔር ይምሓሮም ስዉኣትና። ኣምበር ናትናስ እንዳሓደረ ኢዩ ……. …….

  • rezen March 10, 2018

    Quote: “ኣይትሓዙለይ እግዚኣብሔር ይምሓሮም ስዉኣትና። ኣምበር ናትናስ እንዳሓደረ ኢዩ ……………….” Unquote Meretse, March 9, 2018

    It is said that it is NOT the QUANTITY but the QUALITY that counts. Indeed, Meretse said it admirably and uniquely where ‘dots’ […………] are alive & meaningful beyond words!!! >>>”ናትናስ እንዳሓደረ ኢዩ …………….” Yes, WE Eritreans have a long way to go before we find, not only OUR DIRECTION, but also fundamentally OUR OWN SELVES. WHO ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE? WHAT DO WE WANT? Meretse, was humble enough to say “ኣይትሓዙለይ” but deserves our open gratitude.
    Over one hundred and thirty (130) years have elapsed and we are still without a compass of our own, thus completely lost without admitting it. Arrogance (መን ከማና) seems to be part of our nature, culminating into psychological phenomenon of gnawing at, and insulting, each other on the Internet – a perfect characteristic of deeply ingrained sociologically mixed-up and lost people. Alas, that characteristic will NEVER help us to find our direction but only to drive us deeper and deeper into the unavoidable grave yard. And that will be THE END of Eritrea, for ever. ” ኣይትሓዙለይ” ።

  • Mara Tzibikti March 11, 2018

    Erm I find this article an insult actually – not normally to comment but found myself feeling heavy hearted reading this. Firstly, I will take the liberty for just one moment to speak on behalf of Tiffany and any Eritrean women who have had an absentee parent. I have yet to come across a video where Tiffany describes her father in a manner as this article suggests! Perhaps, her feelings on the inside reflect that of these lines but on the outside she holds a dignified stance on her past struggles and emotional rollercoaster or experiences. Yes, admittedly in agreement with you our culture tends to celebrate anybody that joins the global stage but can very quickly criticise is true but that is only because of the cultural differences and the lack of understanding between the generations. The understanding of complementing either two cultures, or traditional and having grown up in the diaspora is yet to be understood – most are fully aware this can probably never change or is still a long way away. I join you in celebrating successful women all over the word, although don’t think Eritreans should feel guilty celebrating Eritrean women because they are Eritrean. There isn’t a necessity to draw a balance just because one is not fully Eritrean.
    I don’t like grapefruits.

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