so, I got tired of seeing the image below of the Ghana Black Stars fan whenever I visited my blog and thought that it is high time I put up another post. since this is the month of love and US black history month - i would like to speak to a topic that has affected american black females for centuries and as i am starting to witness, african females as well.
last night, after simultaneously studying and keeping my eye out for the wisconsin and hawaii primaries (more of the latter than the former), I caught the last half or so of BET's "25 Events that (mis)shaped Black America." Under normal circumstances, I would not be caught dead watching late night BET, but my brother was watching it, the show seemed to have some usefulness, and I am a big Michael Eric Dyson fan.
One of the (mis)shaping events that caught my attention was the the hyper-sexualization of the black female or the misogyny of the black female as portrayed by hip-hop. First, I found it interesting that BET should admit that the negative effects of the portrayal of african american females as b****es and hos since they are one of the major exporters of these images. But I started to think that the hypersexualization of the black female is not limited to hip-hop music as well.
Earlier in the week (or maybe last week), I was put off a bit by cover story on the BBC news website, "Ivory Coast's 'big-bottom' Craze." Initially, my annoyance stemmed from the fact there are other more pressing concerns in Ivory Coast other than bum and breast enhancement creams and some song's tribute to big bottoms. But after this BET special, I began to wonder whether the African continent also exports this idea of a hypersexualized black female thru its music in similar ways to Nelly and Ludacris. Granted the history of the black female in the US, especially in light of forced sexual relations with white slavers and the simultaneous systemic emasculization of American black men during slavery stands in stark contrast to the situation on the continent (or I may be wrong here)...but how different is Meiway's call to shake our lolo's from Baby Huey's insistence that the bum should be popped, locked, then dropped? The videos are strikingly similar. I also wonder, is this an anomaly amongst blacks - I mean, are there other people groups that dissect and exploit intimate parts of the black female physique in order to sell records or initiate dance crazes? Africans have also had their own share of exploiting female sexuality by colonial masters (remember Hottentot Venus).
Of course, before I close, I must admit, that although I hate the images of half-naked black women on BET and Awilo's soft porn music videos, I can't help but play some of these catchy tunes on my iPod during a workout. I'm a huge fan of soukous music - HUGE. Additionally, I never leave the house without making sure that my jeans properly "fit" and accentuate what needs to be accentuated. I have struggled alot with the issues I just raised - especially the added dimension of African music turning towards lurid depictions of black women. A part of me says, its just music - not only that, but it's music with an irresistible beat that I cannot find in other genres. And perhaps, in some cases, there is a genuine appreciation for the black female physique. But then another part of me, the one that started this post, wonders if I am contributing to the degradation of black women by espousing any such music. I am slowly leaning towards the latter....
I would really really really like to get your opinions on this topic (also, let me know if I should clarify a bit). Let me know if you think it is "just music" or whether we have allowed the hypersexualization of black women to go too far or whether I have approached this topic incorrectly in comparing the African American situation with that of the continent.
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