By Lavern Merriweather:
Popular singing stars Katy Perry and Taylor Swift have found themselves in some very hot water lately. Ms. Perry, in fact, seems to be racking up quite a number of offenses against people of color.
A few years back at the American Music Awards show, she – for some inexplicable reason – thought it would be cool to dress as a geisha. According to some Asian civil rights groups, it wasn’t. They didn’t appreciate Ms. Perry dancing around in traditional Japanese garb making a mockery of it.
She also didn’t make friends with the Muslim community after her video “Dark Horse”. In one scene of the video, a sacred talisman symbol of Allah was burned and destroyed as Katy sits there licking her lips and gyrating while dressed as – I’m guessing – Cleopatra. A number of Muslim groups took her to task about being so utterly disrespectful, as well they should have. Yet, Ms. Perry doesn’t seem to want to learn her lesson.
In her latest monstrosity called “This is How We Do”, Katy is wearing a cornrow hairstyle while spouting off nonsensical comments trying to sound more urban. I watched the whole video out of pure curiosity, because I happened to stumble on it while flipping channels. I would have been angrier if it wasn’t so pathetic.
I have to ask; why the hell is it that white performers think wearing a Negro hairdo and warbling supposed ethnic sayings makes them hip? Either that or she was deliberately trying to make herself look that stupid, because she thinks the people who normally talk that way or wear their hair that way are stupid, lest we forget how much shit black women get for our hair from the white elite. We get shit for damn near everything we do, but this is an especially sore spot. It really gets me how white folks think our mannerisms are so foolish. Yet, they always copy them.
I don’t know if Katy was genuinely expressing some inner black diva or not. All I know is that whatever she was trying to pull off, she failed miserably on all counts.
That brings me to America’s favorite sweetheart Taylor Swift. The media’s sickening refusal to let go of the VMA moment where she got rudely interrupted by Kayne aside; I actually like most of Taylor’s songs. At least Taylor, unlike some artists, writes and produces her own stuff. Still, that doesn’t get her completely off the hook with her video “Shake it Off”.
The video and song itself are very silly. However, the controversy comes when Taylor dons a backward cap while doing some goofy breakdance moves as a bunch of black hip-hop dancers straight out of an 80’s movie twirl and spin on their heads behind her. But that’s not the worst of it. She then decides to do some fake twerking. In what is probably the most she will ever spend around Negroes in her entire lifetime, Taylor – surrounded by a bunch of black females – starts imitating the newest dance sensation. Once she realizes she can’t quite get it right, our plucky heroine just shrugs, then gives up.
When a few critics took Ms. Swift to task, a number of white female bloggers came to her defense. One woman even pointed out that Taylor has several forms of dance in the video, and she can’t perform any of them as well as the back-up dancers. I’m not disagreeing, and I’m not here to criticize or question whether Taylor was making fun of black people or not. I don’t know what the hell her intentions were. Maybe it was all done in good harmless fun. However, it really isn’t up to white person to tell us how we should feel about their imagery of us, particularly when you take into account the long standing and negative history of black folks portrayals by white artists.
Much of it today is still seen as entertaining like the film “Birth of a Nation” which was a recruiting tool for the Klan masquerading as a movie. At least that’s the way I see it, especially since the original title for the film was “The Klansman”. So, if I come off as little less than trusting of your motives, then that is my right.
Another white pop icon and repeat offender Justin Timberlake is also feeling the heat for his use of the slang term ‘ninja’. I found out recently that the word ‘ninja’ is supposed to be a replacement for the word ‘nigga’, which was derived from the highly offensive n-word as – I suppose – a way to make the word less vile. Apparently, Justin doesn’t want to stop making bonehead decisions. Either that, or he must like the taste of foot, because he keeps putting his in his mouth. E channel correspondent Maria Menonous felt the need to protect Justin by telling us overly sensitive Negroes that we should just get over it. Since Maria thinks that Justin didn’t mean any harm by his thoughtless behavior, we whiny black folks should stop complaining about every little perceived insult. Well if some overpaid, privileged, arrogant white woman believes that, then we black folks better take heed.
Like I stated before, it is not – I repeat – NOT for a white person to tell black people what we should or shouldn’t take personal offense to. That also goes for any non-black person, especially when one of them has their very own ‘Negro moment’. We will be the first group that they bitch to, as opposed to the white people that actually said or did something obnoxious to begin with.
Another thing that gets on my very last nerve is talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and her wannabe “Soul Train” bullshit. Perhaps she actually is a fan of all that black folks dance music that she plays every show. Still, from where I sit, it looks utterly phony and contrived. If I got my own TV talk show and came out strutting my fancy moves to music by white artists, I doubt highly that I would be met with her same enthusiasm. Black folks get enough crap for daring to step outside the box by appreciating such acts as AC/DC or Nirvana. Yet, DeGeneres can play black folks tunes all she dang well pleases.
Funny how we are so beneath white people but they still manage to find our music or mannerisms appealing. The so called fist bump was originally named ‘knuckles’ and ‘daps’. However, the minute it caught on with white people ,they just had to change the name. It’s like the white male twin comedy duo Randy and Jason Sklaar once said “Black people create something. White people cultivate it. Then, white people ruin it”. That about sums it up as well as anybody could.