Saturday, April 1, 2017

and the backlash is real, Colorism, Misogyny, and Hotep-ism.

   Though damn near having broke the internet, Kendrick's latest "HUMBLE" has received negative responses, especially from Black women/femmes. There is a bit in which Kendrick states:
" I'm so fuckin' sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin' natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin' natural like ass with some stretch marks". 
    This comes off as policing womens' bodies and telling us what to do. Many are interpreting this as him saying "stop wearing weaves and stop modifying your bodies!!!". However, in my opinion, it only sounds like Kendrick is stating his preference. Which a lot of male rappers do in regards to the women they like, all the time. Usually it is oppressive, so it is interesting that Kendrick is receiving criticism for stating a preference that actually opposes societal standards which have ostracized Black women and people for centuries. He seems to be addressing the media, not us Black women personally. I do agree, however, that even in sounding "positive" men can still be misogynistic. Misogyny and patriarchy, the oppression, degradation, and restriction of women on the part of men has molded the way we interact as a society completely. Our music, television, media, consumerism, and even what we teach our children from birth are all deeply rooted in patriarchy. It is how we function on a daily basis. Is Kendrick misogynistic when he chooses to state that he "Still will take you down right on your mama's couch in Polo socks" ? Possibly, maybe, very much so. Is he telling women what to do with their bodies? No, he is stating his preference. Is he stating it in way where it seems that women are objects to be purchased off of a shelf? Yes, much like most to all other men.

    Now, what people these days refer to as a "hotep" is usually a cis-gendered heterosexual Black man who is extremely afrocentric yet his pro-blackness often overlooks women and queer Black people. Their values are often rooted in misogyny and homophobia although they think they are helping the Black community. Think the dude in the dashiki in "Don't be a Menace to South Central Wile Drinking your Jucie in the Hood", stereotype and all. A "hotep" will probably tell a woman who wears make-up, synthetic hair, lots of jewelry and designer clothes to tone down her style a bit and be more natural, which is in fact oppressive and dismissive. I do not believe, however, Kendrick is taking on that tone whether on "HUMBLE" or any other track.

     The problem I have is the imagery. Which I think is the driving force behind all the back lash. The woman he has to represent his anti photoshop comments is light skinned with multi-racial features and long soft hair. Yes, her hair is natural, however it still the desired texture. Her image still promotes society anti-Black beliefs that dark skin + nappy hair = Ugly. What make sit worse is the juxtaposition. Immediately afterwards, the image paired with Kendrick stating that he would like a booty with stretch marks, is in fact a booty with stretch marks. However, it is only an ass, a dark skinned ass. We do not see this woman's face, we cannot even tell that this body is that of a woman. It is literally just an ass. Light skin girl gets to be the pretty face, representing natural beauty. She is the acceptable Black girl, the marketable Black girl, the digestible Black girl. Whereas the dark skin girl is only a body, only objectified and sexualized, only the stereotypical seductress or jezebel, less than human.

     Juxtaposition is the oldest tool used in film and this music video fucked up. That in my opinion is the main problem.

1 comment:

Whitney said...

Loved your post! I have recently launched new research on the influence of colorism on sexual desirability. Please take a moment to complete this short survey and share it with Black people in your personal and professional networks. Mobile link -


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