On Syd the Kid’s “Cocaine” Video


I have contended that in a world premised on oppressing women, openly Loving a woman is probably one of the most radical things you can do.

The homie @danyeezy, just put me on to the new Syd the Kid video. Syd is the only woman member of OFWGKTA . @Danyeezy reblogged a link to Syd’s video “Cocaine” from the blog Life is Fair Game.

I watch videos with the sound on and with the sound off because it helps me to focus on the images.

I also teach my students do so because a music video combine text with images, which makes them very powerful.

The song, the instrumentation of it is hot. Sounds like Pharell with…I don’t know a funky Fiona Apple.

I also enjoyed the non-normative gender presentations of Black girls IN A MUSIC VIDEO.

Queer Black girls are not featured in music videos.

However, as I listened to the song, I thought, is she saying “I wanna, I wanna, Do you wanna do some Cocaine?”

Why yes, she is.

I get it, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.Historically young people in general and young artist in particular have said and done outlandish things to stand out and rebel against their elders.

However, bodies have histories, and Black girl’s bodies certainly have histories.

Which brings me to a point.

In order to see masculine and feminine identified young Black women in a music video, the narrative is going to pivot on them “doing cocaine” together?

Given the history of both crack and cocaine in Black communities throughout the US historically, is “doing coke” something to sing playfully about?

Is this cost of entry to high of a price to pay? In other words, if the trade-off for having queer young women of color being represented in pop culture is the that they are performing “do you want to do some cocaine” and talking about “slapping bitches” is it worth it?

Is the trade off for being vulnerable and willing enough to grab a woman’s hand in a video that you to also be willing to say that you like “slapping bitches”, is that too high of a price to pay to BE visible in the first place?

Perhaps it is easier to talk about slapping “Bitches” than it is to be vulnerable. ~#allcity

On whose terms should Black girls be represented? And why?

 

On Cyd the Kid’s Video for “Cocaine”


I have contended that in a world premised on oppressing women, openly Loving a woman is probably one of the most radical things you can do.

The homie @danyeezy, just put me on to the new Syd the Kid, the only woman member of OFWGKTA . Her video titled “Cocaine”  reblogged a link from the blog Life is Fair Game.

I watch videos with the sound on and with the sound off because it helps me to focus on the images.

I also teach my students do so because a music video combine text with images, which makes them very  powerful.

The song, the instrumentation of it is hot. Sounds like Pharell with…I don’t know a funky Fiona Apple.

I also enjoyed the non-normative gender presentations of Black girls IN A MUSIC VIDEO.

Queer Black girls are not featured in music videos.

However, as I listened to the song, I thought, is she saying “I wanna, I wanna, Do you wanna do some Cocaine?”

Why yes, she is.

I get it, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.Historically young people in general and young artist in particular have said and done outlandish things to stand out and rebel against their elders.

However, bodies have histories, and Black girl’s bodies certainly have histories.

Which brings me to a point.

In order to see masculine and feminine identified young Black women in a music video, the narrative is going to pivot on them “doing cocaine” together?

Given the history of both crack and cocaine in Black communities throughout the US historically, is “doing coke” something to sing playfully about?

Is this cost of entry to high of a price to pay? In other words, if the trade-off for having queer young women of color being represented in pop culture is the that they are performing “do you want to do some cocaine” and talking about “slapping bitches” is it worth it?

Is the trade off for being vulnerable and willing enough to grab a woman’s hand in a video that you to also be willing to say that you like “slapping bitches”, is that too high of a price to pay to BE visible in the first place?

Perhaps it is easier to talk about slapping “Bitches” than it is to be vulnerable. ~#allcity

On whose terms should Black girls be represented? And why?

 

And You Even Licked My Balls: A Black Feminist Note on Nate Dogg

So I have been thinking of Nate Dogg in general but rap music in particular and the difference between how I as a Black woman and how White men relate to rap music.

While I understand that sexism and patriarchy is systemic, that we LEARN and are taught how to be “men” and “women,” how to be racist, how to be sexist as well as  how to Love, how to forgive.

What I am getting at is, to be crude, we don’t pop out of our mommas knowing how to be men and women, we are taught from infancy on through blue and pink clothing,  girls being told to sit a certain way that is lady like, boys being told crying is weak, and not manly etc.

I also know that there are several structural things impacting the lives of Black men and women such as archaic drug laws, mandatory minimums, three strikes, the underdevelopment of public education, gentrification, police who shot and kill Black people with impunity, and the lack of good grocery stores in working class and low income neighborhoods. All this shit matters.

Culture matters as well. Culture meaning,  music, books, websites and films.

Culture is hegemony’s goon.

Which brings me to Nate Dogg. The recent coverage of his death clarified for me why some issues that I have thought of about rap music but didn’t have the language to articulate.

I am a little troubled over how White mens investment in Black mens misogyny in rap music isn’t interrogated. And how that shit impacts me and the women who look like me.

Society is organized by and for men.

And our lives in the US are hyper segregated racially.

By and large Black people don’t live around White folks, so most White men can experience the pleasure of singing “and you even licked my balls” in the comfort of their cars, homes and apartments, whereas a young Black man said to me nearly two years ago on 125th street that he wanted to “stick his dick in my butt.”

On the street, in broad daylight.

That shit was so absurd I thought HE was singing a rap song initially. No, he was talking to me.

Consequently, largely, White men are  not subjected to the kinds of violence and sexism that is sung about in the songs that Nate sang the hook on. As a Black woman, I am.

As a woman, as a Black women who Walks like she has a right to be in the street, this means my ass is toast.

For example, there is an officer in my neighborhood that harasses me so fucking much that I am now on a first name basis, Peace to Officer Anderson. Typically he stops me because there is apparently a 11pm curfew in DC for children under 18 on week nights. He normally asks me from his car, “Hey, how old are you.”  Dead ass, the second time he did it, I responded saying I was grown. o.O

After the third time, I was like “Mr. Officer whats your name because this is either the second or third time you have asked me that, and seeing as we are going to keep running into each other, I thought we could just on speaking terms.” He smiled. Doesn’t MPD carry 9mm’s too? Sassing officers of the state who carry legal weapons?  Ummhmm. And, he told me his name.

My clarity on this issue came about after I read a excerpt of a post on NPR about Nate Dogg by Jozen Cummings. He writes,

“There’s also “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Get None),” a song that was never chosen as a single from Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle but has become a favorite for many DJs trying to work a room. The song is a tour-de-force of misogynistic lyrics, but only Nate Dogg can make a verse about dismissing a one-night stand sound so sensitive and endearing.”

“Remembering Nate Dogg, Hip-Hop’s Hook Man”

by Jozen Cummings, NPR.org,  March 16th, 2011

(via beatsrhimesandlife)

Then I reblogged and responded on tumblr saying:

In some ways, Cummings comments re Nate Dogg remind me of why I think The Chronic and Doggy style are the Devil, in terms of rap music. Men in general and White men in particular have a different relationship to the kinds of violence that I am subjected to as a Black woman who WALKS like she has a right to be in the street. Shit…two weeks ago I told two dudes to kill me or leave me alone. Dead ass. This ain’t for play. This is our lives.

Have you ever thought about White men’s investment in rap lyrics by Black men that are hella outta pocket?

I went to look for Cummings racial identity and I learned that he is African American, Japanese and Korean, so I am not saying that he is White. What I am saying is that his writing about Nate Dogg’s misogyny reminds me of how when the misogyny bomb is dropped, people who look like me tend to get hit with hella sharpnel. Whereas White men get to live out their thug fantasies singing along with Nate “And you even licked my balls.”

The Chronic and Doggystyle are sonically genius, however, did they up the ante on allowing White men and even some Black ones live out their Black sex fantasies?

Do you see the connection between Black women and White men that I am trying to make, why or why not?

“Choking Women During Sex”: The Life of a Meme.

Justin Timberlake tug’s on Ciara’s chain in the Love Sexy Magic video.

Various conversations have been generated around Jay Electronica’s comments and $20K bet with Nas on whether “All Women Like Being Choked During Sex.”

Crunktastic wrote a post at Crunkfeminists, “Why Jay Electronica Can Choke on His Own Words.”

Then Latoya cross posted it on Racialicious.

Then Davey D linked to the post on his blog and made an interesting comment.

First he said,

all women deserve respect and maybe you with hold it when u get disrespected.. This aint a situation where folks need to jump through hoops to earn respect per se especially when they haven’t done wrong…

Because there is systemic violence against women all over the world simply because they do have vaginas and hence aren’t considered equal with men, then we should recognize that sort of oppression and counter.. ie there’s a woman in Iran who is getting stoned for some male defined transgression..

The gray text is a good working definition of gender based oppression concisely explained in 34 words. I appreciate Davey D for saying this. Makes my work a bit easier.

On Crunkfeminists, a commenter provides context for why conversations about “non vanilla sex” are important and the writer emphasizes the fine line between choking and non consensual sexual domination.  Commenter MtnTopFeminism writes,

While we do have to challenge ourselves not to have gut reactions against kinky or nonnormative modes of sex, that fact doesn’t get all forms of sex off the hook. It is critical that we engage in discussions that focus on the varying levels of sexuality and how pleasure cannot be restricted to vanilla norms. At the same time, it is also important that while we are open to new expressions of sexuality, we never lose sight of the dangers associated with them.

…Within a BDSM relationship trust becomes the main component. It isn’t just about “I like to get slapped around.” There is much more there. Without that open communication and honest dialogue, many practices, including erotic asphyxiation, are highly dangerous and even deadly. Not only that, but it isn’t just women who like to have such things done to them…a fact which is often ignored. Without discussing the three main tenets of BDSM—safe, sane and consensual—we head toward dangerous territory by merely accepting any discussion on kinky sex at face value.

Latoya cross posted Crunktastic’s post on Racialicious. And peep game. The sister of the woman who was at the concert and spoke up read the post and left a comment. (The internet amplifies offline sound and light, via @afrolicious).

Speaking of @afrolicious she mentioned this in the comment section around having expectations for artists gender politics. She writes,

I learned a long time ago not to trust an image, especially that of a rapper. As much as I want hip hop to respect me as a woman, I don’t get that often, even from the best of the creators. Additionally, I don’t expect progressive gender politics from most people, so to some extent I’m not disappointed.

It’s not a perfect rationale, but it’s how my filter works.

I hear her rationale,  and it is most certainly useful. I also believe that some statements can’t go unaddressed.

Another comment is from Rob, my colleague and a blogger at the Liberator (peep game here) wrote,

So here’s one of my initial reads: left-of-center hip-hop head blogosphere/twitterverse latched to jay because he’s a throwback to the golden age of conscious, Nation of Islam infused, east coast centric rapper who cares about his craft. However,the other side of all those early 90s dudes coming out of the NoI/NGE tradition is that when talking about women they were paternalists at best, if not outright misogynists. I don’t think anyone from that era escapes indictment.

I know lots of people have already made that connection, but I thought it bares repeating not to excuse what he did, but to historicize the comment and the evolution (or lack thereof) of gender politics in “conscious” hip-hop?

I responded saying,

I hear you on historicizing Jay Elec. However, I wonder if you or anyone would be willing to do the same thing in the face of White racism. What I am getting at is, in the last 24 hours, you are the second Black man to bring up the history out of which a Black man is rooted to contextualize their misogyny, the other time occurred in a conversation about Jim “I chase women out of windows” Brown last night.

I mean…I don’t hear people saying well you know…The Tea Partiers come out of a very particular history…..feel me? While I am not saying that Jay, the Tea Partiers or Jim Brown are analogous..I am certainly thinking of HOW and WHEN we deploy the “lets historicize” for a minute Renina steez. I guess this is me interrogating the historicizing…which is what your comment asked for.

He then explained that historicize is not the same as rationalize. I was relieved and I felt where he was coming from.

Our responses to Jay Electronica’s posts are influencing how I shape my research. I realize this after watching this meme evolve and, especially after a meeting with my professor Wednesday and hearing her tell me that I need to asks questions that give Black women the space to talk about desire, pleasure and danger. She felt that I was letting the interviewee’s off by going into pop culture and not asking them directly about #desire and #pleasure.

In responding to Jay’s comments I have read about women talking about their experiences. This is a positive outcome of this conversation.

Thoughts?

Why does sexual conversation’s send people into rigid randy mode? Hella defensive?

See any good meme’s lately?

White Men X Rap Music x Black Masculinity

Black men have a very particular history in this country. In popular imagination they are violent, hypersexualized monsters.

Think Birth of a Nation, Minstrel shows, lynching as a political tool.

In rap music, arguably since The Chronic, the main type of rap artist who shines is the thug who gets money, “ho’s” and clothes. In fact, this is the predominant Black male figure in mainstream rap music and elements of this kind of masculinity can be seen in underground regional and underground national music as well (underground meaning music that doesn’t get radio play but has a substantial and growing fan base.)

How am I connecting Black men in being violent in rap music to White mens masculinity?

David Ikard does it for me.

Ikard talks about Black masculinity using Walter Mosely’s books Always Outnumbered Always Outgunned in the essay “Like a Butterfly in a Hurricane: Reconceptualizing Black Gendered Resistance in Walter Mosely’s Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned Walkin’ the Dog” which is in the book Breaking the Silence.

In the following quote, Ikard is analyzing how a character, Munford Brazille, in Mosley’s book Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned,? has just gotten out of jail.? Brazille is trying to make sense of why he kept getting out of jail after continually committing? crimes. Ikard writes,

“I got in trouble again, and again they got me off. I kept on getting in trouble, and they kept getting me off. Didn’t wake up ’till I got to be nearly old as aI am now. Then I realized they kept getting me off because they [white me] needed a Munford Brazille. They need us.” Illuminating the link between black crime and white manhood Munford calls attention to how he was used, directly and indirectly by his white “benefactor” to secure the notion of white mens moral and masculine superiority over Black men.

Next Ikard connects Black men’s violence to White men’s masculinity when he writes,

By playing the role of? “bad nigger”- reckless killing other Black men- he unintentionally? reifies the man/boy, civilized/primitive binaries used to sustain white male superiority and to emasculate Black men.

Note: to reify something is to make it seem like its natural when it really isn’t.

For instance, Black men are NOT naturally violent (no one is) but if you look at media representations of them throughout history, you may be led to think that.

You ever wonder why it hurt Black men to be called “boy” by White men?

Because historically the assumption about Black people during slavery is that they were incompetent children who couldn’t take care of themselves so they needed to be enslaved and looked after. #absurd.

Language makes power visible.

Ikard explains the history of what it meant to White men’s masculinity for Black men to be called boy and for white men to be called “master”, “boss” and “mister.” Ikard writes,

Socially these binaries were visible (particularly during the Jim Crow era) in the ways that white men would refer to black men as “boys” and “children” while demanding by force and law that Black men refer to them with deferential titles such as “mister,” “master” and “boss”…reinforced the paternalistic notions that white men were the moral and physical guardians of Black people. Without White guardianship, the thinking went, blacks would perish in “civilized” society.

How does this relate to rap music?

I wonder to what extent is the thugged out cat allowed to be the MAIN cat in mainstream rap music because it reaffirms White men’s humanity and masculinity.

Ikard quotes Munford saying, he basically kept getting out of jail because “Then I realized they kept getting me off they need a Munford Brazille. They need me to prove they human.”

Are the Munford Brazille’s in the rap game proof of White men’s humanity?

Why or why not?

Did I completly lose ya’ll?

Let me know.