West Indian Word of the Week: Stush
A few summers ago a friend and I were kickin’ it at this Brooklyn house party. It was at one of those old prewar buildings with the huge rooms and scrollwork molding on the walls. Food in the kitchen, drinks in the hallway and a killer DJ the living room. A perfect evening where the music was on point, there was just the right amount of weed haze in the air, and folks were turnt up enough to have fun but not enough to start acting the fool.
All was well in the world til my homeboy tried to wine up on the wrong girl. You know her. Wining by herself, totally absorbed by the music and clearly doesn’t want her groove disturbed. Despite these signs dude made his approach and she gives him major side-eye, a long & loud suck teet and stalked off the dance floor mumbling something about ‘damn, stchupidy negroes.’
He returned to the sidelines salty, tail tucked between his legs. As I laughed at his failed attempt to steal a wine he kissed his teeth saying, “She too damn stush!”
Stush. I don’t think anyone has ever given me an explicit definition for this word but over time context clues informed me in that anyone described as stush was, stuck up, bougie, uppity, saditty, and, in general, thought they were better that other folk.
The funny thing (or maybe not so funny given the history of patriarchy that runs though Caribbean culture) is that I don’t think I’ve ever heard a man described as stush. Only women. Hmmm.
Anyhow, though I does have my own moments of stushness (yes I made up that version of the word) I try to remain firmly in camp #AntiStush. And it is this sentiment that informed my new #AntiStush Movements photo series (click to view our first installment).
#AntiStush is about finding the beauty in everyday people and situations. It’s easy when moving about the place, especially as a tourist, to get caught up in the high falutin’ and fancy, and don’t get me wrong, those are wonderful experiences to have. But down among the regular folk there are some truly unique and beautiful moments as well. #AntiStush is a reminder to seek, enjoy and celebrate those experiences as well.
Are people still using stush to describe folks or are the young’ins onto a next term now? Is stush ever used to describe men? If not, why? Tell me nuh!