Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Black Gay Origins Of The Slang Saying "Take A Seat"

Edited by Azizi Powell

On February 1, 2016 African American actor John Boyega, star of the latest Star War movie, tweeted "Happy black history month" to his twitter followers. A blogger responded with a tweet to which John Boyega then responded "Take several seats".... The entire tweets from those two bloggers are included in the example section below. My comments about those particular tweets are given in the comment section below. I also plan to include these tweets in an upcoming pancocojams post about Black history month. The link for that post will be included in this post.

I decided to write this post as a result of reading those articles about John Boyega's tweet and then reading other articles about that saying (and similar sayings). My particular impetus for this post was the realization that there's not a lot of online information available about "take a seat" that not only accurately indicate what that saying and extensions of that sayings mean, but also gives props to Black gay ballroom culture for originating that saying.

This post provides definitions, comments, and examples of the slang saying "Take a seat" and related sayings such as "Have several seats" and "Take several seats. Take the whole stadium".

The content of this post is presented for etymological, cultural, and sociological purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

The slang saying "Take a seat" means to sit down and shut up (because what you are saying or doing isn't accurate or doesn't make any sense.)

"Take several seats" means that what you are saying or doing really isn't accurate and/or really doesn't make any sense.

Here's a definition for "have several seats":
"have several seats - shut up; to stop talking or engaging in your current activity in order to avoid further embarrassment or conflict.

John: "Britney Spears has more Grammys than Lady Gaga."
Jack: "Have several seats."

A "stan" is an avid or overzealous fan of a celebrity.

From Your Life, .Com! And Other Hilarious Tamar Braxton Catch Phrases April 1, 2013 ‐ By Veronica Wells
"Five years ago most of us had no idea who Tamar Braxton was. (Some of ya’ll had the album but most of you didn’t.) Well, all of that changed when “Braxton Family Values” hit We TV. Now, when you think of the Braxton sisters, Tamar’s name must be a part of the conversation. While Toni sang her way into our hearts. Tamar chatted her way in our affections and sometimes our nerves. Whatever the case may check out the catch phrases that made her famous."

"Have several seats
...“Have several seats” is reserved for the folks who are standing for the wrong principles. In case they think they’re vilified, a quick “have several seats” quickly lets folks know that you are not in agreement with their stance.

From "Tamarism 101: Get hip to Tamar Braxton's infamous quotes before Saturday's Birmingham concert" By Mia Watkins, on June 10, 2014 at 4:20 PM, updated June 10, 2014 at 4:26 PM
"Tamar Braxton may be known for hitting all the right notes but she can also turn a phrase. Anyone who watches her two WE tv reality shows, "Braxton Family Values" and "Tamar and Vince," knows that the youngest Braxton is a scene stealer largely thanks to her made for TV personality and her quick-witted responses. Ahead of her Saturday "Love and War" tour stop at Iron City, here are just a few of her famous catchphrases:

..."Have several seats"
"Have several seats" derives from the phrase "have a seat." It can be used to either shut someone up or let them that their doing what is called "the most," which is always a touch too much. One could even take it up a notch and ask the person they're in opposition with to "have a stadium of seats." It's even more effective."
It should be noted that these "take a seat", "have several seats" slang sayings doesn't have the same origin and meanings as the Chris Hansen catchphrase, “why don’t you take a seat right over there?" that was popularized by the television show To Catch A Predator

These quotes are presented in no particular order, except for the first comment about the Black (African American) Gay origin of that saying. These selected comments may not be consecutive order.

I've numbered these quotes for referencing purposes only.

From Madison Moore, November 29, 2012 [comments section]
Editor's Note: Most of these selected comments are about the general subject of the Black Gay (ballroom) origin of a number of American slang terms and saying. I'm including these comments because I consider them to be pertinent not only to the "take a seat" saying, but to a number of other American slang terms and saying.

1.Guest, 2013
"lol you also forgot "hunty" "stay pressed" and "bye felicia". Oh and my personal favorite: "B&&ch*, take several seats"
*That full word was spelled out in this comment.

2. Jaimee398, 2013
"The list or phrases on it arent racist or meant to be racist. Its actual phrases people say. Its a gay thing, not a black or white thing. And it is hilarious the things that come out of our mouths or that get turned into the new phrases people say."

3.Bennett Schneider > El, 2013
"I hope not to diminish your experience and cultural integrity, but language is fluid. It cross pollinates always and has for as long as we have spoken. African and African American language has a hallmark of wonderful fluidity and redefinition. That improvisational poetry has long influenced all language types in American English; it is a gift for which all should be grateful. I don't know how one could make language used so widely, exclusive, esp. in this day and age of instant communication.

Gay male slang has also been one of the more fluid and improvisatory languages - for example, in England there is an actual Gay dialect form the early 20th Century now studied in colleges.

To the claim that black LGBT slang should remain spoken and written only by bona fide black gay male practitioners of a certain sub-set, how would we regulate that? Should gay men not say "Gurl!" if they are white, Asian, and Latino? What about black gay men you do not consider of the correct sub-set; how will they know? Or does their being in the black community make that automatically OK, even if they have not spoken it much before? Can Black women say it? because they has been enormous cross over between black gay slang and black female slang.

We could, forgive me for suggesting, look at the marvelous inventions of language coming from black gay men, as a gift to the the whole community. It could be a shining source of pride that these valued members of our community keep us alive and creative and smiling with better turns of phrase than we might have had in a community of exclusivity. (of course this begs the awareness of White Privilege and the loooong denial of white culture's "gifts" to black people and others... like, opportunity, freedom, money, and access).

4. Alixi > Jaimee398, 2014 [In response to the comment that this is Gay slang and not just African American slang.]
"But majority of it is African American slang. Don't understand how whites make fun of slang and AAVE all day long but refuse to acknowledge the source when it's widely known

5. Jessie > El, 2015
"There are white people in the ball scene. I'm pretty new, but I've walked, got my tens, won my category. I'm not going to code switch to standard straight white people talk just to make the tumblr types comfortable."

From "Get Your Life and Other Tamar Braxton Catch Phrases" [comment section]

6. Fallon, 2012
"Catch phrases from the gay community you mean.. Ok then

7. OSHH > Fallon, 2012
"Right, this is just a resurgence and twist on phrases I first heard in the 80's. Besides have several seast and you need to sit down etc those have been around also"

8. OSHH > Fallon, 2012
"Right, this is just a resurgence and twist on phrases I first heard in the 80's. Besides have several seast and you need to sit down etc those have been around also"

9. She needs to have several seat, 2012
"She's heard "have several seats" from youtube blogger makael fromt the skorpion show and she wont profit from because she didnt originate it. They're really good friends he said it on the show."

10. Just saying!!, 2012
"I can't believe all the shade in the comments section. Did you people come to this article just to tell everyone you don't like Tamar!? You knew it was going to be celebrating her catch if you don't like it don't click on the damn article--it's REALLY that simple! With that being said...HAVE SEVERAL SEATS and GET YOUR LIFE. :) (Y'all tried it...but failed!)

[question posted in Sept. 4, 2011]
"What does the slang "have several seats" mean?"

11. "Best Answer: Context is really the only way to answer your question. Next time you post something like this, use it in a sentence."
Lex T, 2011

12. "The people with the answers above need to have several seats! Which means you're stupid and need to go sit the feck down somewhere. Take a seat!!! In fact, take several seats... (how's that for context?)

Common sense..."
mz, 2013

13. "It's a way of telling someone to shut up after they've said or done something to disgrace themselves."
chichidark64, 2013

From [all of these comments are from January 12, 2016. These comments refer to an American television program entitled Real Housewives Of Atlanta. The women starring in this reality series (now) are all African Americans. The first blogger takes her (or his) screen name from the title of that series.
14. Real Housewives of Atlanta
"Pick your head up OFF the floor because NENE LEAKES has RETURNED. Don't miss her arrival on an all-new #RHOA Sunday @ 8/7c."

15. Sandra Sanders
"I knew that big mouth lady coming back if she has no other projects., back to Atlanta house wives..its her side she has nothing else to appear in.....have several seats Nene,.....all them bills got to keep the money flowing.."

16. Juanita V White
"You should have several seats as well. It's an ignorant mouse that has only one hole to crawl into. Why shouldn't she make money while she has the opportunity? You're sounding silly and hateful"...

17. Darren Diver
"Take several seats, the Queen is back!!!! You can't have Atlanta housewives without Nene!"

From Brittany Fogarty on Instagram: “Page 6.
New Mob Wife Cast member Already Causing Trouble Nov 4, 2015

Note: Mob Wife is an American reality television. All the women starring in that series are White.
WARNING: This page contains a lot of profanity.

18. nguerrero2789@littlegirlblue_
"But she didn't so you don't. Youd think those people paid your bills with the way you talk. You dont even know them. Have several seats, in fact take the whole stadium"

19. nguerrero2789@bluur_x
"why am i pathetic? I was defending britt lol"

20. britfogarty@nguerrero2789
"hahahaha thanks for having my back boo 😘 she must have been angry and read it a little too quick... We all have our blonde moments πŸ‘©πŸΌπŸ˜‹ thanks for the love πŸ’œ"

Editor's note: I'm assigning one number to the tweets from John Boyega and RandomNASCAR_. I'm also quoting a portion of the article to give these tweets context.

21. From
"February is always a special month. Not only do we celebrate love on Valentine's day, but we also commit to honoring Black History.
To commemorate the start of this time of year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor John Boyega tweeted a simple greeting to his 460,000-plus followers:

John Boyega
✔ ‎@JohnBoyega

Happy black history month X

8:25 AM - 1 Feb 2016

For some of his followers, however, Boyega's message wasn't one worthy of sharing. For those who took the time to challenge the actor, Boyega had clever comebacks to silence them all.

RandomNASCAR_Posts ‎@randomnascar
@JohnBoyega good point lots of great people to remember. Hopefully we'll get to point where we dont even notice colors

8:59 AM - 1 Feb 2016

John Boyega
✔ ‎@JohnBoyega

@randomnascar please take several seats black history is more than that."
As a reminder, read my comment about these tweets in the comment section below.

Also, read this pancocojams post about Black history month - Stacey Dash's Comments About Black History Month & A Video Of Group Of Black Children's Responses To Those Comments

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. On February 1, 2016 African American actor John Boyega tweeted "Happy black history month". One blogger randomnascar responded with this tweet:
    "@JohnBoyega good point lots of great people to remember. Hopefully we'll get to point where we dont even notice colors."

    Bodeya then replied with the tweet "please take several seats black history is more than that".
    -snip- and some other African American internet sites considered John Bodeya's "take several seats" tweet to be a "clever comeback". I think that John Boyega was indicating his disdain for the "tourist approach" to Black history month which only focuses on a small number of famous historical and contemporary Black Americans. I also am disdainful of that approach, but I wish that John Bodeya had taken the opportunity to teach rather than make a snap.

    I'm a 68 year old African American woman and it seems to me that a lot of Americans-including some Black Americans-may think that Black history month is supposed to only focus on the accomplishments of some Black "firsts" and other famous Black Americans.

    Here's a quote from
    "Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history"...
    I added italics to highlight the part of the purpose of Black History month that appears to me to be either unknown or purposely or otherwise forgotten.

    The reason why Black history week and later Black history month was started was because the history of Black people in Africa, in the United States, in the Caribbean, in South America and elsewhere wasn't included in the public school curriculums or in any other American mass media. To a large extent that is still the case.

    I don't agree with the blogger randomnascar that being colorblind should be our goal. I prefer seeing and studying and celebrating the beauty of all "colors". Furthermore, when institutional racism and personal racism still exist is both counterproductive and dangerous.

    I believe that Black month doesn't start with New world enslavement, but begins in and still includes the African continent and all the African Diaspora. Furthermore, I believe that learning about Black history should occur year round in schools, on the internet, and elsewhere. I also believe that -given the way that the United States public education system and its curriculums are structured-if there weren't any month designated as "Black history month", there would be even less attention given to the study of Black history and (also) the presentation of information about specific famous Black Americans.