These shots are just part of the progression of the performance of Abigail Elphick in the Victoria’s Secrets store in Short Hills Mall, Milburn. N.J. The performance was recorded and posted online by Ijeoma Ukenta, to protect herself from further harassment. (Courtesy collage by W@H Creative+)
This year’s Olympics has officially started, but not in Tokyo.
New Jersey was the site of a performance worthy of a gold medal, Emmy, Oscar and possibly even a Soul Train Music Award.
For what, you ask? Multiple categories: Best Karen Soundtrack, Best Dramatic Performance by a Karen, Karening So Strong There’s No Need For a Supporting Karen, and the most coveted of all…White Tears of the Year.
Yes, even though there are still five months left in 2021, Karen judges have determined that it is scientifically impossible for any future Karens to top the Karening of Abigail Elphick. That’s ABIGAIL ELPHICK… A-B-I-G-A-I-L E-L-P-H-I-C-K. We wouldn’t want you to miss this Karen’s name. Not after the award-winning performance she gave in a Victoria’s Secret store in Millburn, NJ’s Short Hills Mall.
Surely, you’ve seen the multiple videos of this performance critics are calling “Spellbinding,” “Captivating” and “Whiteness on a whole-nuther level.”
If you haven’t, let me summarize.
Elphick, excuse me, ABIGAIL ELPHICK was caught on camera trying to physically assault a Black, Muslim, Nigerian woman named Ijeoma Ukenta and then proceeded, in true ‘Karen’ fashion, to play victim, accuse the assaulted Black person of assault and throw one of the most engrossing (and just plain gross) public tantrums in recorded history.
Apparently, there is a six-video sequence that captures this Karen magic. I have only seen two, and for a person tired of non-stop videos of Black trauma, that’s probably two videos too many. Regardless, video one opens with a scene of ABIGAIL ELPHICK making a scene, raising her hand and charging at Ukenta who is already filming her.
Ukenta backs up a bit and, stuttering over her words a little (likely in disbelief), tells the woman “no,” “excuse you,” “uh uh” and then repeats a series of “oh my God” and “Do you see this?” utterly astounded by what had transpired.
Ijeoma Ukenta just wanted some new draws. That’s all. But Karen of the Year, or at least of the moment, Abigail Elphick, had other ideas. (Courtesy #WordinBlack)
The sister, as the videos reveal, had a coupon for a free pair of panties. Apparently, while searching for the coveted draws, ABIGAIL ELPHICK bumped into Ukenta, and refused to offer a humane “Pardon me” or “Sorry” or “My bad. Please excuse.”
That’s when Ukenta, in true Blackworld fashion responded, “Excuse you.”
Let me stop here. I’m willing to bet a year’s worth of Black BBQ invites that when you read the sister’s response (“Excuse you”) you literally heard her voice in your head.
Abigail Elphick lunges at Ijeoma Ukenta in Victoria’s Secrets in Shot Hills Mall before she realizes Ms. Ukenta has begun recording the interaction. (Screen shot from video)
Anyway, ABIGAIL ELPHICK, who just a moment prior was the full-on aggressor, then backs away, throws the item that was in her hand toward the store clerks and presumably onto the counter, and then falls (literally) into a fit of hysterics, holding her head, curling into a ball on the ground, crying.
But it’s the way she falls to the ground (in dramatic, CinemaScope, slow-motion fashion) that convinced the judges that this performance guaranteed ABIGAIL ELPHICK the vaunted White Tears of the Year trophy.
Academy Award-winning thespians were asked for commentary on Victoria’s Secret Karen’s performance. They all agreed that ABIGAIL ELPHICK’s transition from aggressor to victim was the stuff of legends.
One star of stage and screen said it was “Terms of Endearment-level stuff.” Another exclaimed, “Driving Ms. Daisy lives!” Yet another tweeted “That Karen’s performance almost had me crying white tears, and I ain’t even close to white.”
One former reality TV star had Mitch McConnell tweet for him, “Where was Abigail when I was in office? I coulda used her bigly, the likes of which you’ve never seen.”
The problem is, we HAVE seen this act before. Maybe not as dramatically executed, but we’ve seen it too many times. Black people minding their own day-yum business, shopping, studying, walking, chillin’, only to have their peace disturbed and lives potentially threatened by the Karen and/or her personal security force (i.e. police officers of whatever city the Karening takes place in).
In another video, this particular Karen is seen literally laying on the floor, shaking and convulsing, most likely from the fear of having to be held accountable for acting a fool or from the rapid spike in caucasity levels she surely endured in that moment.
And throughout, ABIGAIL ELPHICK yells hysterically that Ukenta is filming her and appeals to security to take away the sister’s phone. Ukenta, in response, indicates that she’s filming in order to protect herself. And rightfully so, especially as Abigail later lies to the police about “what all had happened.”
But proving you can’t keep a good Karen down, she rises off the ground like a very pale phoenix, and proceeds to chase Ukenta around the store.
Let me repeat that. She chases a customer whom she already assaulted around the store, leaving the soul sister to wonder aloud “Where’s security?”
Now, you know sh*t just got real when a Black person is calling for the police… and/or mall security.
Despite the madness, but very predictably, it’s the Karen who summons 5-0. Lord have mercy, if Blackfolk had a nickel for every time this scene went down, we’d have enough coin to send all the Karens to outer space with all those gazillionaires who are trying to colonize the cosmos.
Abigail Elphick, realizing that Ijeoma Ukenta is recording their interaction in Victoria’s Secrets turns on the waterworks. (Screenshot from Ukenta’s video)
While ABIGAIL ELPHICK was in the middle of her white tears fest, Ukenta commented that she was filming every second of the encounter “Because who the cops gonna believe, me or her?” That last sentence was paraphrased for language, but you get the gist.
And that’s the really sad part: WE get the gist. Apparently, for the Karens and Brads of the world, it’s not enough to weaponize law enforcement against us or media images or textbooks. White tears coupled with Oscar-worthy performances have been weaponized since long before Carolyn Bryant, the Karen whose lies and white tears got Emmett Till lynched. And certainly, they’ll remain weaponized long after ABIGAIL ELPHICK’s White Tears of the Year award gets dusty in her trophy case.
This Victoria’s Secret Karen showed a commitment to her craft so intense that some are even talking Karen Hall of Fame status. And lesser Karens would be tempted to keep their white tears to themselves.
But in an America built upon white tears, don’t bet on it. ABIGAIL ELPHICK isn’t the first Karen, and she certainly won’t be the last.
–theGrio contributed to this article
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