Tag Archives: respect

Lil Wayne and Black History Month

26 Feb

At the close of Black History Month, I want share 2 images I found on the internet that display why this month is so crucial. (they’re tiny so you may have to click on them).

21st century Venus Hottentot

I found this image on Facebook yesterday, but  I’d first learned of Saartjie Baartman (Sarah is her English name) at the very beginning of this month while doing some research for my thesis*. Saartijie was put display in London as a human freak show, and called the Venus Hottentot. During my research, I read “How Not to be a 21st Century Venus Hottentot,” where writer Fatima N. Muhammad compares video girls and hyper-sexed female rappers to Venus Hottentot, as they too are examined and put on display for their body parts.  She explains that mainstream hip hop has adopted racist 19th century ideas.

I don’t think anyone could argue with that after Lil Wayne’s offensive comment about Emmit Till in his song “Karate Chop Remix.”

Lil Wayne Emmit Till

I found this picture on Faanmail’s site (Thanks FAANMAIL! I love your posts).

Since the song leaked, the line “beat that pussy up like Emmit Til,” has been pulled from the song, and Till’s family has asked the rapper for an apology. Wayne has yet to respond. I’m not holding my breath. Anyone who thought putting that line in a song was ok has no respect for the Civil Rights Movement and isn’t real enough to own up to their mistakes.

Someone needs to strap him to a chair and make him watch all 14 hours of Eyes on the Prize.

But I’m not one bit in shock that Wanye would say something like that. It’s not the first racist thing to come out of a rappers mouth.

And it’s hardly different from his song “Mrs. Officer,” when he says, “Rodney King baby yeah I beat it like a cop.”

Once again he managed to disrespect women and diminish the importance of a tragic event in black history in just a few short words.

This line from Lil Wayne and the image of Saartijie Baartman portray the necessity for Black History Month and year-round community education, as history has already began to repeat itself.

Further Reading

Muhammad, Fatimah. “How NOT to Be a 21st Century Venus Hottentots.” Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology. Ed. Gwendolyn D. Pough, Elaine Richardson, Aisha Durham, and Rachel Raimist. Mira Loma: Parker, LLC, 2007. 115-140. Print.

http://faanmail.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/talk-back-lil-wayne-epic-records-and-sony-entertainment/

*My thesis is on the image of black women in hip hop. I explore how male rappers talk about vaginas in comparison to how woman rappers do. In addition, I look at how a rapper’s ethos is built on a racist and sexist ideology. It has to be at least 25 pages due in early April. Clocks Ticking!

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Are we taking the Volkswagen commercial too seriously?

5 Feb

VW Comercial pic

There has been much commotion about the new Volkswagen commercial, where a white guy speaks with a Jamaican accent.

Many say the commercial is mocking black people; New York Times’ Charles Blow called it  “blackface with voices.”

Though I personally wasn’t offended, my islander friends might have a problem with it.

My thing is: People quickly become outraged when the teeniest bit of insensitivity occurs from outside sources, but what about when one of our own is shamelessly racist?

Why is Kanye allowed to say, “You know white people—get money don’t spend it. Or maybe they get money, buy a business. I’d rather buy 80 gold chains and go ignant…blame it on the pigment.”

Why can A$AP Rocky say, “They say money make a nigga act niggerish. At last a nigga nigga-rich.”

Why is Lil Wayne entitled to decide, “Beautiful Black woman, I bet that bitch look better red.”

Sure, maybe the commercial was mocking a Jamaican accent. Sure, maybe it was a little insensitive. But when Kanye declares the pigment of his skin makes him ignorant— when Lil Wayne decides a woman lighter complexion is more beautiful than a dark skin woman —when A$AP Rocky says Black people act niggerish when they become wealthy, but it’s justified because they’re rich—suddenly, that commercial doesn’t seem so significant.

Perspective people—that’s all I’m asking for.

Is it because theses rappers are Black that they are allowed to say racist things? Is it not racist or less hurtful because they are Black?

I don’t think so. If anything it’s worse.

But the absolute worst part, though, is that they get away with it. We don’t call them out. How can we criticize companies for being insensitive when we do not shame people of color for their own blatantly racist remarks?

It’s hypocritical—don’t you think?

When Will We Stop Blaming the White Man?

16 Jan

post 2 images

Thanks to the NAACP and everyone who petitioned, Oxygen recently cancelled that triflin show that made a mockery of Black households All My Babies’ Mamas.

Since the controversy around the show, many people have asked who is responsible for the negative portrayal of African Americans on reality TV. The victory over All My Babies’ Mamas is just the beginning. Shows like Basketball Wives and Real Housewives of Atlanta have similar degrading portrayal. When housewife Evelyn takes off her hearing and starts throwing wine bottles at another housewife, or when Nene Leakes interrupts a party to get in someone’s face and tell them off, it portrays Black women as savage, uneducated creatures who don’t know how to act, and reinforce the same stereotypes we’ve tried to get away from. Yet, there’s hardly any fuss over these shows.

So who’s to blame for the horrifying image of Black women on reality TV?

Many like to point fingers at the networks. That’s what we did with All My Babies’ Mamas.

According to an article in Essence, networks create drama on these shows. They cut and edit so that the focus is on fighting and hostility. The normal, everyday lives of the housewives (or wherever else) are often cut out. Degrading our image is encouraged in order to increase ratings.

In an interview Nene Leakes, from Real Housewives of Atlanta told Essence Magazine, “We work for a White man who wants blood out of you. He makes you say shit you don’t want to say and if you don’t, he screams and scratches.” Similarly, Shaunie O’Neal, producer of Basketball Wives said that she went to the network saying the show needed more positive aspects but “the problem is that at the end of the day, the network decides what it wants.”

No. I don’t buy it. I understand that networks sacrifice our dignity for ratings. So what then? Everyone’s off the hook? We just let the network abuse the image of Black women. We allow them to portray us as uncivilized and irrational creatures? When are we going to stop blaming the White man?

If these women cared so much about their image, if they really wanted change, why not walk away? Or is the fame worth selling out?

Sil Lai Abram, writer from The Grio suggests that the viewers are to blame. She says we must stop supporting shows that perpetuate horrifying stereotypes of us.

I agree. So I didn’t pick up a copy of Ebony when they put Nene Leakes on the cover in January. I don’t support products from the housewives (books, fragrances, clothing lines etc.). I don’t care if their products are “Black-owned” if they make their profit by acting like fools on television and displaying atrocious images of Black women.

Everyone who participates is to blame for perpetuating these stereotypes. The network, the TV stars, and the viewers/consumers all play a role. But change is not impossible. If we stop supporting these shows, support petitions similar to the one against All My Babies’ Mamas, and urge media that is supposed to support Black women, like Essence and Ebony, to also stop supporting these programs, we can see a change in the way Black people are portrayed on TV.

See Sil Lai Abram’s article

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