Meghan's response to 'angry black woman' trope as 'difficult' claim resurfaces

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Meghan's response to 'angry black woman' trope as 'difficult' claim resurfaces

While Prince Harry's new memoir Spare was not set to be available for another few days, leaks have exposed a reportedly heated confrontation between the two royal brothers over his wife Meghan Markle.

The Duke of Sussex accuses Prince William of "knocking him to the floor" in an extract seen by the Guardian, which left him "dazed" and with "scrapes and bruises". Describing the row at his London home in 2019 in his book, Harry also says William called Meghan "difficult", "rude" and "abrasive", which Harry calls a "parrot[ing of] the press narrative" about his American wife.

Previously Meghan has told how this language is commonly used to create an 'angry black woman' trope that has been used to describe herself along with other women of colour.

She recently discussed the topic on her podcast Archetypes - which we've revisited in light of the claims made.

Meghan's response to 'angry black woman' trope as 'difficult' claim resurfaces rriqudiuriqkkinvPrince Harry and Prince William reportedly had a heated row in 2019 about Meghan (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

On each episode of her Spotify podcast, Meghan and a new guest 'investigate, dissect and subvert the labels that try to hold women back'.

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During one episode with actor Issa Rae, 37, Meghan, 41, discusses the stereotype, arguing there is a difference between being "difficult" and being "clear".

Meghan said: "I remember when I was auditioning, the idea of even black roles, and I remember those casting sheets where the description of the character - she always had to have an edge or an attitude.

"This idea that a black woman must be angry when we all know sometimes things make you feel angry or sad or hurt or upset and that's not a gender or racially specific feeling."

She added: "This trope of the angry black woman, it persists, and… it was being reinforced constantly in ways we hadn't even realised."

Meghan's response to 'angry black woman' trope as 'difficult' claim resurfacesMeghan has spoken about the 'angry black woman' trope in her podcast (Getty Images)

When Rae said that she took her friend calling her 'particular' as a compliment, Meghan responded: "I'm particular," adding, "You're allowed to set a boundary, you're allowed to be clear. It does not make you demanding, it does not make you difficult. It makes you clear."

The trope also came up when speaking on the podcast with Starbucks chairwoman Mellody Hobson - the first black woman to be chairperson of an S&P 500 company in 2017 - where they discussed how the word 'difficult' can also be used in lieu of 'b**ch'.

Meghan said: "What these people are implying when they use that very charged word, is that this woman, 'Oh, she's difficult'.

"Which is really just a euphemism or is probably not even a euphemism. It's really a codeword for the B-word.

"My friend said to me, there's a certain point when you come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to like you; the goal can't be for everyone to like you, but the goal can be for them to respect you."

Meghan's response to 'angry black woman' trope as 'difficult' claim resurfacesShe says 'difficult' can be a codeword for the 'B-word' (Getty Images)

She went on: "It actually has a really interesting parallel here and it's a strong [comparison], especially in the context of this larger notion of "difficult women" who are threatening the human social order.

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"[People assume that] being masculine is being aggressive and dominant and being feminine is being submissive and nurturing.

"But, you know, it really annoys me these labels because actually being feminine, you know, amongst the animal kingdom, involves being aggressive and promiscuous and competitive, and dominant, and dynamic and varied and all the things that males are so these distinctions between masculine and feminine."

Meghan also cited activist Maya Angelou's poem - Still I Rise - when thinking about the trope, saying: "I thought today about the unfair trope of what the angry black woman looks like against what the strong black woman feels like, and that no one better than Dr Angelou could put it into words."

Listeners hear a recording of the famous poem and at the very end, Meghan poignantly says the last line which is 'Still I Rise'.

Meghan's response to 'angry black woman' trope as 'difficult' claim resurfacesThe book is out next week (Penguin Random House)

Aside from the leaked allegation, the term has been a recurring narrative to describe Meghan. In December 2018, The Sunday Times quoted an anonymous source who described her as 'difficult' to work for.

The headline nicknamed her 'Duchess difficult' and the name stuck for many titles.

Despite a huge security operation to protect the content of Prince Harry's upcoming memoir, an extract was leaked to the Guardian on Thursday.

This story is based off a translated version of Prince Harry’s book Spare.

Saffron Otter

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation