Single Ladies, Nasty Bitches and Interracial Hoes


The sexual contradiction in American culture is both pervasive
and powerful.

While doing research on Latina teen pregnancy last week, I came
across a narrative
where a young woman said, “I heard that, If my
boyfriend smoked weed before
we had sex, then I wouldn’t get pregnant.”

I thought, wow, she is really serious. We have very little healthy, teen based
sex ed, yet our pop culture land is dominated by songs about sex.

I Wanna Fuck Every Girl in the World
Birthday Sex
Lol Smiley Face

The contradiction is interesting and dangerous.

It’s dangerous because, the combination of little teen sex ed,
pervasive pop songs about sex, and abstinence ONLY funded
sex ed in the schools systems leaves our young men and women
with limited information. Limited informed people make awful choices.
(<<<-- I sound like a sex ed expert, no?)
Which brings me to my Black Sexual Politics class. On Monday some students
did a presentation on Pat Hill Collins’ book of the same title.

For the class we also read Audre Lorde’s The Uses of the Erotic.

The student presenters also played a Lil Kim video for the song
How Many Licks.

In the video, Kim is pussy, dick, female orgasms etc.

My professor pointed out that in comparison to little Kim’s
video, Beyonce’s Single Ladies video looks tame. So I checked
out her VMA performance,
and it was confirmed.

3 women, dancing in a leotard, not that risque. The most provocative aspect
of her performance is the costume. Tight and sprayed on. It looks like
she is doing Black Broadway Showgirls routine, which I imagine is
what she intended.

Historically, Black women were not allowed to BE Ladies. Jezebels,
Mammies, Men, Welfare Queens, yes, but ladies. No. So given

that this is a part of the title of the song isn’t lost on me.

Lets take the Ciara video posted above. This video moved me largley
because of the element of female desire that is present.

The whole time I was watching it I thought, what is this woman
going to do next?

Ciara licks Justin’s ear, 30 seconds in. When was the last time you
saw a Black woman do something
sexual TO someone else in a music video?

We don’t.

Audre Lorde says that,

“Pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic,for
it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes
sensation without feeling.”

Online Black folks had a fit about the Ciara video. The fact that Justin was white,
bothered them. They thought she was being a hoe. The chain also bothered them
and in some ways took them back to slavery.

Folks over at Soul Bounce had an interesting roundtable discussion
about the video. They initially wrote a post titled, “How Can Justin Timberlake
Continue to Get Away with Fetishizing Black Women?” Implicit in this
line of thought is that it is permissible for Black artist who work for White
corporations to do this, but not a White artist.

My response to this line of thought is a few questions:

1. Where is Ciara’s agency in this line of thought?
2. What happens when we stop seeing Ciara as a victim?

3. Where is the critique of rappers and they “50 million hoe’s” in music
videos?

Then they came back and did a roundtable with had a more
nuanced discussion.

Peep the comments section.

Its interesting to see people struggle with race, sex and capitalism.

In some ways, what wasn’t explicitly stated is that the video is powerful
because we see a Black woman being sexual, and because this is so rare
we don’t know what to do with the feelings that arise when we see it.

Black heterosexual sex is everywhere and nowhere in pop culture.

According to the dominant Black narrative, it is okay for us to
walk around asking for *patriarchal fulfillment, (putting a ring on it)
but for us to express sexual desire, or even the erotic, we are automatic
hoe’s.

Sounds familiar? It is. The difference today is that WE are making a connections
and pushing back.

*No, all marriages do not constitute patriarchal fulfillment, however
her body of work is about getting men to do shit for her, pay bills, be a solider
etc. We all know that, in that this notion of Black male masculinity is
patriarchal and limiting. A man, a person, is more than their paycheck.

Katie Blancita, this one is for you Little boo.

Black Sex?

Single Ladies?

Sex Culture with no Sex Ed? Thoughts?

Comments

  1. [f?ng'k?] [blak] [chik] says:

    Personally, I still can't see what people were up in arms over Ciara's video. I guess they prefer the videos with black men & anything but black women in them…and viewing those women as sex objects.

  2. There is again..that automatic hoe stuff. If anybody knows me..they know I hate it. I have been rebelling against accepting societies sexual idealogies for women. Did yall know its okay for women to like sex? I stopped caring what anyone thought about what I do with whats between my thighs.

    Im with you FBC…what is so wrong with Ciara's video.

  3. I had not seen this video because I wasn't ever interested in it. I only watched a little now. I'm not a fan of Ciara.

    I think more female artist having a voice in how their song is visualized will slowly change what is comfortable for others. I also think there needs to be more female video producers/directors in hip hop/r&b.

  4. @FBC
    The issue is that WE can't be with anyone except for Black men.
    No White/Asian/Latino men and DEFINITELY not any women. Super no no.

    @Automatic Ho? Lols. I pefer the term, 50 Million Ho. Has a nice ring to it.

    @Nexgrl
    Rap videos are about the consumption of Black male sexuality. If there were women producers/directors, would they be able to put forth and alternate vision?

    Thank You all for commenting. Up writing early in the morning is apparently how this is going to work for me.

  5. The issue is that WE can't be with anyone except for Black men.
    ——————————————
    Some, in another milieu, may disagree.

  6. Listen here snark out. Lols.

    I am talking about, mainstream, Black community.

  7. Interesting, I won't say everything I'm feeling about this topic because it would be the length of a minature novel. I will say this though; Ciara fell off after the release of her new album Fantasy Ride, more or less, after the release of this video, and given some of the criticisms I've read in various places I have to agree that the sexuality she has been coerced, I blame the labels, execs, whatev, into displaying is uninspiring and contrived. Contrived because I find it funny that every female singer who "blossoms" into her womanhood @18-21 instantly becomes a lingere-clad, stilleto stomping, coochie popping, body twerking, pole working temptress; Christina Aguilera got Dirrty, Rhianna went bad, and Ciara wants to take us on a Fantasy Ride. Uninspiring because, taking inspiration from your quote of Audre Lorde, the type of sexual maturation played out by these young ladies "emphasizes sensation without the feelings". Looking closely at Rihanna in the 'Run This Town' video I couldn't help but notice how child-like she looked, even though she plays the role of a sexually confident "woman" well in her black garters and red lipstick. Sexuality and exploitation have become one in the same for our young women, especially our young black women. That is the issue

  8. Model Minority says:

    @digigum

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    I am going to push you a little bit.

    1. What does it say about our society that at age 18, singers becoming "coochie popping" temptresses?
    2. There ARE people buying this work, otherwise it wouldn't get made, what does the fact that we buy this material say about us?
    3.I am thinking along the lines of Chris Hedges assertion that pop culture is arching towards Pornography, ie Milie Cyrus on the strippers pole at an award show a few months back.
    What does it mean when pop culture arches towards pornography?

  9. @Model Minority
    My pleasure chick, I enjoy the stimulating conversation….

    I think I can sum up all three questions with this thought: We as a species can't or don't want to master our biological/physiological urges. I feel as a society we are regressiing to our most basic, animalistic selves. We have laws and mores that serve to make us 'decent' human beings yet we still have to wrestle with that which is natural.

    Example; it's a crime and socially unacceptable for an adult male, let's say 21 of age,to have a sexual relationship with a 12 year old girl, yet it's no secret that this type of thing happens every day. Often this behavior is attributed to, but in no way justified by,the physical appearance or 'maturity' of the female in question. She may not have looked like a 12 year old, but she probably acted like one which is,sadly, canceled out by the strength of raw sexual attraction and subsequent urges. In the wild, numerics are not an issue, when a female is able to reproduce she's fair game. It's reminiscent of 13 year old girls being married off in 3rd world countries, not a new practice in itself. We've also seen this played out between older females and younger males as well;Mary Kay Letourneau,Pamela Turner,Debra Lafave. A sixteen year old Miley Cyrus is a perfect example of this "forbidden fruit" complex, one of the biggest pink elephants in American society. We are sexual creatures. Men are visual creatures and women are the eye candy etc. I belive this is also the case in reverse as well.

    With female singers these days it's like ok, sex sells,let's make her cute and marketable but once she hits 18, once she's LEGAL, it's really on and poppin. Those lines of legality are becoming more and more blurred with each passing year. When popular culture arches towards pornography, it means trouble, it means we have no moral compas from which to judge right and wrong,we are no longer concerned about morals or decency, we are only concerned with sensation, with pleasure, again taking inspiration from your Lorde quote. We buy this material because we either do not recognize this is what it is or we just don't care.

  10. what does the fact that we buy this material say about us?
    ————————–
    That's exactly what it says about us!
    – that we choose to want this and that we'll give value to have it.
    .
    We are we are we eat. What we feeds, grows; what we starve, atrophies. We continually are presented the choice between letting the physical master the spiritual or letting the spiritual master the physical. I've tried each in my life.
    .
    The trap is that the physical depends upon external sources to be sated and so we become dependent upon something/one else to feed the need. This thread and others here document how the someone elses exploit our choices to cede control of our satisfaction to them. The methods they use are debasing, maybe because we already debased ourselves when we chose to base our satisfaction on something external.
    .
    Growing the spiritual, however, makes us more ours and less someone else's. It's an internal state of being that grows increasingly independent. It becomes the freedom to act and not be acted upon.
    .
    "Spirituality is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the infinite. Spirituality impels one to conquer difficulties and acquire more and more strength. To feel one's faculties unfolding and truth expanding the soul is one of life's sublimest experiences."
    – David O. McKay

  11. Model Minority says:

    Growing the spiritual, however, makes us more ours and less someone else's. It's an internal state of being that grows increasingly independent. It becomes the freedom to act and not be acted upon.
    ======
    I have been poorer this year than I have been, since I was a child. Like food stamp poor.
    This is material because this Adult Onset Poverty radicalized me to the extent that I had to Question the School + Work + School sandwich.

    It was no longer working.
    The school debt, the personal debt and the economy served as direct evidence that my desire to use Corporations to do public good. It became clear that it was not working for me.

    What is also different about me is when I was trying to make sense of my world, earlier this year, while facing such poverty/uncertainty (grad school applications, relationship turmoil, looking for a place to stay) I had to cultivate that internal state.
    (I would imagine that there is a corollary between the intensity & personal nature of my blog posts and the internal spiritual development of 12/08-4/09)

    This is what I needed to hear tonight.
    Its a reminder that Dec 09-4/10 will PROBABLY be the same way, and that thats okay.

  12. the brothers are trying to hold on to us. God forbide we marry out like some groups of azn women currently are. That would drive them batty.

  13. Model Minority says:

    I use to roll my eyes into the Back of my throat when I saw a CUTE black man on the street with a white woman, (women of color were okay, sorta, as long as they were brown).

    It wasn't until I WAS walking down Fulton street in Bedstuy with a white man that I slowly learned that who a Black man dated, was none of my business. Who I dated surly wasn't the business of any of the Black men that stared me down Like I was selling bricks of crack in front of they mommas house.

    The point that I am getting at is that we don't possess them and they don't possess us.

  14. The point that I am getting at is that we don't possess them and they don't possess us.
    ————————————
    Good to see that having eliminated acceptance of a person of one color possessing a person of another color, we're ridding ourselves of the idea that a person of one color can possess another of the same color. But, why is this an innovation?

  15. mdot…

    Love the commentary…on expressions of black hetero sex everywhere today… While this might be truer for Black women, Black men are being trivialized, marginalized and denuded more and more each day. I see it in sports on the regular, it is the subject of hundreds (at least) of You Tube videos (i.e. "so-and-so rapper is gay" videos), and was announced as a Hollywood tactic by Dave Chappelle on Oprah..

  16. Model Minority says:

    @D-Will

    Glad you like it, cuz I LIKES to write it.
    Oh Please. Re black men. I rides for you all to be able to express AN ENTIRE range of masculinity and not just that 50 Cent MTV driven shit. Peep the piece I wrote, http://modelminority.blogspot.com/2009/05/are-n-ggas-really-that-homophobic-part.html

    @Manaen
    Ummmmmm.
    This is an innovation because possession, patriarchy are all required for Capitalism to work the way that it does.