Simply Ari: Simply Me
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There are some topics as a writer, I feel compelled to touch on, because I believe that there is a perspective that needs to be brought to light. A perspective that "pop culture" most often does not deem worthy of addressing, and that is through the lens of faith. According to Dateline, the Oprah interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, which aired on March 7, 2021 drew in a whopping "17.8 million viewers, the largest primetime audience for any entertainment special during the current 2020-2021 season, and for any entertainment special since the Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020, according to Nielsen Live+same day ratings."
Since its airing, mainstream media both in the United States and abroad (namely in the U.K.) have been going crazy! The turmoil, scrutiny, and dare I say public shaming that this couple has had to endure over the past four years has been overwhelming to say the least, and until now, we, the public, have only gotten a glimpse of what it has really been like to be a "royal", for Markle and Prince Harry. In this post I will be touching on the following topics that I pulled from the interview: Mental Health and Well-being, the claims of Racism, the role of Fear, and considering next steps.
I am not a health care professional, nor do I claim to be. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression. suicidal ideations, or are otherwise struggling with your mental health, know that it is OK to ask for help and that the Simply Ari Media family, is praying for you.
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First, let's get into the state of mind Meghan Markle appeared to be in during the interview. To put it plainly, she looked anything but happy. There was no appearance of light in her eyes, she seemed downtrodden, tired, oppressed, subdued, and most notably, fragile. I strongly believe this interview only revealed the tip of the iceberg of her own emotional unraveling and struggle over the past few years. All I kept saying throughout the two-hour special was, "I just want to hug her." Watching her trying to muster up the strength to push through some very hard-hitting, "no-cut-cards" questions, was a bit heartbreaking for me, because it was clear that she wanted to both put on a brave face and courteously find a way to reveal her truth.
For us as a nation, perhaps more than ever, due to this global pandemic in which we currently find ourselves, we can at the very least, empathize with Markle. She and Prince Harry both, used the word "trapped" a number of times, throughout the interview. In Markle's case, is was a physical, psychological, and emotional entrapment that she was unable to break through. She recalled a conversation she had with someone in power, inquiring only to dine out with her friends. Her inquiry was rejected because there was so much heat on her in the press. The individual in power, said to her "No, you're everywhere right now--" to which Markle responded, "I've been everywhere, but I've been nowhere." Which, upon hearing it, I thought was a very powerful and telling statement. Markle mentioned to Winfrey that her keys, her passport, and essentially her identity, she no longer had access to as a member of the Royal family. Perhaps not all at once, she faded into the relentless grip of the monarchy.
In previous posts, I have shared about my own struggles with fighting emotional demons, asking for help when it felt unbearable to carry, and fervently seeking the Lord to guide me through a very dark time in my life. Having the courage to speak up, was one thing, but as a Christian, having the faith and reminding myself that even if I can't do something on my own, I serve a God Who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I can ask or think, as Romans 8:28 declares, is truly what saved my life.
During His ministry, Jesus never said that weapons would not form against us. He did however promise that those weapons would not prosper. It was because of His obedience, that He became what He created to teach and fulfill the work of God the Father. It was because of Love, that He was beaten, bruised, pierced in His side, and willingly died on the cross for you and me. And it was by His power, that rose Him up on the 3rd day, to conquer, death, hell, and the grave. For those in Christ Jesus, we as Believers, come to understand that what Jesus did on the cross over 2,000 years ago, has the same power and potency that it did back then. The devil is already a defeated foe, and the blood of Jesus Christ covers, heals and restores everything that tries to come against us: sickness, disease, and attacks of any kind! Matthew 11: 28-30 says, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." This passage of scripture is my personal prayer for Meghan and Harry as they navigate through this season of their lives. I pray that by the Holy Spirit, somehow they would come to know in greater measure the Grace, Love, Favor, Mercy, Peace and Liberty, that is found in the Lord.
One of the other topics that stirred the viewing audience was just how bad the racial tension was for Markle. Upon her arrival to the U.K. she stated that she was assured by the powers that be, that she would be "protected." To her shock and dismay, this did not pan out the way that she had hoped. Her greatest regret we later found out was trusting that statement. Her name, her character, and her intentions were all called into question by U.K. press, and the racial slander spewed at and about her, was enough to cause even the strongest person to crumble, and yet, she stood firm, even if her hands shook in private. The turning point for Markle I believe was when the "blackness" of her future child and heir to Prince Harry was called into question, causing a "concerning" stir in palace conversations. Though Meghan did not hear these discussions herself, Harry did, and if his posture in the interview was any indication of how uncomfortable that conversation was in its entirety, we can make an educated guess that it was quite, "awkward."
Upon listening to U.K. broadcasts directly relating to this expose of sorts, and hearing what journalists have had to say in reference to Meghan and Harry's claims, they have said that context of the conversation is key. Which I believe to be true. However, even if it is not given, the fact is, Personal experience is reality. Even if it makes others uncomfortable. What Meghan and Harry faced and experienced was real to them, that is their truth. Who are we to question it? In my humble opinion, the problem here is that no one wants to consider the possibility of such a statement regarding Archie's skin complexion, could be true. An acknowledgement of the possibility or an indication that the matter is being investigated could change the conversation, give others courage to speak out, and could be a catalyst for real change pertaining to race relations in the United Kingdom. Former broadcast journalist of Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan, who is under tremendous fire for his racially charged comments about Meghan Markle, asked in a live broadcast, "If the color of Archie's complexion was brought up innocently," essentially, would it be still be seen as racist?
Ignorant? Yes, absolutely; but innocent?
Let's take a look at the definition of "innocent" shall we? According to Google's English Dictionary provided by Oxford Languages, the word innocent means, "not guilty of a crime or offense." The only person or persons who are capable of determining the "innocence" of the question is the one who is on the receiving end of it. No one else.
We know that racism in the United States is institutionalized. What we are learning is that as it pertains to the U.K. the apple doesn't seem to fall too far from the tree. Racism manifests itself differently, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Before Meghan Markle entered the equation, it was only in recent years that we learned about Dido Elizabeth Belle and Queen Charlotte .
From what I have gathered, it seems that the deeper concern is the perception of the Royal Family and Britain as a country, and whether or not they will they be viewed as racist? Possibly. The Royal Family is not exempt from being human. They are human first, which means they too are flawed and then they are "royals." They are not perfect and the perception that they are, to me is the most tragic and damaging lie, because it is an impossible position to try to live up to. Perfectionism is rooted in fear. Prince Harry said it himself in so many words that his family is afraid of tainting their public perception. This begs the question, who is really controlling the narrative or perhaps the propaganda? Is it the ruthless tabloids? Or is it "Firm?" Just something to consider.
When Oprah asked, "Are you afraid of what the backlash would possibly be from the interview?" Markle somberly responded, "I've already lost e-- I've already lost so much. I just want to tell the truth." She and her husband, have given up a great deal individually and together, and the decisions that have been made and in some cases were forced to make for their own sanity and the wellbeing of their family, their son Archie and future daughter (which the coupled revealed they were having during the interview) will undoubtedly effect them moving forward. There is a strain and a deep hurt that I believe they both are feeling. It is my sincerest hope that with time, forgiveness, and grace they will heal, and they can continue to persevere resiliently and create the life that they desire for themselves and for their children.
As it pertains to those in power in the United Kingdom, now is not the time to be silent. Silence is loud, and it can be damaging and deafening. If the Monarchy is to be an example, I am of the opinion that they need to right the wrong and address these issues head on, not make an example out of Meghan and Harry. Luke 8:17 declares, "For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all."
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