Tiffany Haddish explains that racism is behind her decision to be child free

Tiffany Haddish sent social media into a frenzy last month when she spent 26 minutes shaving off her hair on an Instagram Live. She wasn’t having a Britney Spears moment, she was shaving it off for a role in an upcoming project. Tiffany, 40, talked with basketball player Carmelo Antony for his “What’s in your glass” series. Tiffany has been very vocal about BLM and women’s rights. Last month she gave a speech at a protest saying that she couldn’t even drive to Beverly Hills without getting pulled over. In her talk with Carmelo, she discussed racism and how it affected her decision to have children. She’s afraid to give birth to someone who looks like her because they could be hunted down and murdered. Below are some excerpts of the conversation and here’s a link to the full interview.

On her rise to fame
It’s a slow long road. Most people think it happened overnight. I’ve been doing this since 1997. I feel like once I started not pretending to be something that I’m not, when I started being just myself, the world opened up for me.

On speaking at a protest and her decision not to have kids
I was crying every single day until I went to that protest. I got to get on the stage and speak. I’m not a fearful person but I have watched more than two of my friends growing up be killed by police officers. It makes you feel like, as a black person, we’re being hunted. We’re slaughtered and they get this license to kill us and that’s not ok.

[Now that I'm getting older] people are like ‘when are you going to have some babies?’ There’s a part of me that would like to do that, and I always make up these excuses like, ‘Oh, I need a million dollars in the bank before I do that, I need this, I need that.’ But really, it’s like, I would hate to give birth to someone that looks like me knowing that they’re gonna be hunted or killed. [gets choked up]. Like, why would I put someone through that?

White people don’t have to think about that. So I talk about that and how we have to come together as a community. We need to find some common ground and move forward as human beings.

On shaving her head
I noticed more men are hitting on me too. All these years, I’m like ‘don’t touch my hair.’ Now I want everybody to touch it. It feels so good. It’s so soothing and relaxing. When it rains and the raindrops hits your head it’s like God giving you a thousand little kisses. I got goosebumps on my head for the first time. I was like ‘what is this?’

She lost an old boyfriend to covid
I was dating this dude back in 2000. He was fine as hell. His name was Hennessy. He came over my house and we would hook up. He left my house and he never called me. I thought he just didn’t want to be bothered with me. Years went by and he talked to one of my cousins. He’d been in prison for like 17 years. I felt like he abandoned me, I thought it was a good relationship. We talked on the phone. He was getting himself together. Right when this COVID thing happened, that killed him. He was really pulling things together. RIP Hennessy.

[From Youtube via People]

Despite being so joyful and making others laugh, Tiffany has been through a lot. She had a rough childhood growing up with a mother who abused her and she had an abusive ex husband who once caused her to miscarry. She has found a way to flip the script through comedy and being her own person.

She teared up when she said that she was scared to lose children to a system that was built to crush them. She isn’t alone. That was one of the main reasons that I decided not to have children when I was 21 (besides wanting a life that allows me to move freely). It is traumatic to have to consider the life expectancy and quality of an unborn child’s life because of racism and white supremacy. I hope that the outcry, the protests, the recorded spectacle of trauma for BIPOC, will lead to a more equitable future for us all.

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20 Responses to “Tiffany Haddish explains that racism is behind her decision to be child free”

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  1. Jess says:

    She is so great and this is so sad.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      I know others who made this decision about reproduction. Just another reason we need to make sure women have choices. You never know the reason behind someone’s decision to not bring life into the world. Some women have to consider how the life they bring into the world will be treated by an unjust society.

  2. JanetDR says:

    I doubt that she is alone in this. It is horrible that this is where we are still.

  3. Michelle says:

    Need to go back and read but just here to say she looks amazing and I wish my head was a better shape like hers.

  4. Lisa says:

    I’m glad she’s openly talking about something she’s so passionate about. How else are we going to learn to strive to be better without it? I also love that she was the one who broached the subject instead of being asked about it.

    That being said, it pisses me OFF that women constantly feel the need to explain (because of constantly being asked) why they are child free. It is none of our business. We don’t ask men the same thing! Deciding not to have children is just as valid as having them.

    Sorry- hot button for me.

  5. J ferber says:

    I love her so much and have followed her career closely. She’s so real and vulnerable and hella funny, too.

  6. Lolafalana says:

    Amen to all of that, and can I just say too though- very few women can pull off a bald head – like her, Sinnead, and ? That might be about it. She looks amazing.

  7. Esmom says:

    My heart goes out to her. And I get it. I’m white and more and more I question my decision to bring kids into this extremely messed up world. I love them more than anything but I am terrified of the future for them, and the older they get the more my anxiety increases. And that is without the added terror of feeling like they could be killed by police for just existing.

  8. Veronica S. says:

    I mean, who could blame her? I’m white and have no desire to raise children in this country, one without social safety nets and where even the future of women’s reproductive rights is uncertain – not to mention what kind of problems climate change will have wrought 20-30 years from now. I can’t imagine carrying all that fear on top of living under white supremacy. The police state brutality a lot of white Americans are waking up to right now has been the black reality for most of their existence. Unfair to ask anyone to live with that.

    • lucy2 says:

      Same here. The past few years, and especially the past few months, have made me feel even more relieved I don’t have children, and her fear is so much more real and immediate than anything I have been scared of. I really applaud her for saying this out loud.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Same. My husband & I actually tried a few years ago & it turns out it’s nearly impossible for me to get pregnant without a lot of interventions. It was painful, but now I’m glad I don’t have to worry about raising kids in this current environment. Most of our friends who conceived during that time decided not to have a second kid. I think a LOT of people are making reproductive choices based on the state of our country & the world.

  9. Chaine says:

    My heart hurts for her.

    • detritus says:

      Totally. It’s So heart breaking to hear that she’s scared to have children because of how our system treats black children.

      Not because she doesn’t want them, which is a fine choice, but because she doesn’t want them to suffer. Oof. That seems from a place of deep pain, and it’s not even something arguable.

      No one wants to be Breonnas or George Floyd‘s mama. No one wants their heart to break when they can’t come to their baby’s aid. All the pressures of keeping your children safe and you have to protect them from the system itself.

  10. Blairski says:

    Thank you for sharing how this institutionalized danger has affected your life, Oya. It’s important to hear personal testimony, for those of us who don’t make decisions based on whether our lives will be threatened based on the color of our skin. I’m glad you’ve joined the CB writing team.

  11. WTF says:

    I understand the sentiment. Hope she’s on some serious birth control, cuz Common is fine AF. If I quarantined with him for 1day, I’d be knocked up.

  12. Faye G says:

    This is so sad to hear, I’m really glad she is speaking out about these tough decisions black women have to make. Our country is in a really dark place right now, I hope we will collectively change for the better, and soon. Women of color need to be as free as white women to make important decisions about their lives, not living in fear.