Hip Hop Honeys: The Commodification of The Female Bootie!
We cannot continue blaming men, when we as women are willing to sell our soul and body by shaking our booties and twin girls in front of the camera; while the man has all his clothes on. We cannot complain they are taking advantage of us either. Old, excuse, old story, find a new one…
I would like to be honest and tell you that I too want to be rich. I don’t want to suffer, in fact I want to be so rich and comfortable, it would be described as ‘stinky wealth.’ Yes, that kind of wealth but does that mean all my challenges will be solved? No! But it does mean there are things I can deal with faster because I have the means and of course, be a source of help to others. But am I willing to take off my clothes to shake my perky backside, that is if it is perky and share my breast with the world, hell to the no! In fact, if I were to audition for a role in one of these hip-hop videos, they would turn me down. I am very proud of my body and appreciate every mark and scar on it. In fact, I call them my beautiful scars but no matter how fine I thnk they are…the casting director will take one look at the shunt marks on both arms, the surgical scars on my neck and other places, I best not mention and say “Sorry love, maybe after you have those marks looked after surgically, we can talk.” These are not the scars make-up can hide for long, I must add. But hell, I would be dead and long gone before I ever consider cosmetic surgery to fix anything on this ‘Fine and Fly’ body of mine. Unless it is medically needed, it is a capital NO! Surgery is not playground neither is it the type of pain I would intentionally subject myself to.
Seems like ages ago now but between 2005/2007, my creative writing lecturer at University asked us to write a piece on a subject that really grates and irritates us. I opted for the theme of the objectification of Black women in hip-hop videos. My piece was titled, Black, Sexual, Sensual and Spiritual, where I explored the issue of scantily clad naked black women in hip-hop videos. That was last decade. In my naivety, I concluded that with more powerful women becoming outraged and movements across the US, like Take Back the Music, which If I am correct was led by Essence magazine, it would stop. How wrong was I? How bloody wrong was I? Because guess what? 2011, start of a new decade, it is the same old shit and this time around, it is worse. It is not just black women anymore, though they seem to be more of them than other races, then again I may be wrong on that but from Latina babies to White ‘couchy skinny lattes,’ they are all in the videos. Please, forgive my choice of words. Since we are hell bent on being rich no matter the cost, we can put up with a few words we deem derogatory. At the end of the day, what could be more derogatory than shaking your clit, your best weapon and money making machine by wearing a see-through tong in front of the camera and then tell the world that has always been your aspiration.
I am sorry if I sound judgmental. Actually, come to think of it, I am not sorry. I am going to tell it like I see it. I mean what I am writing and saying and what I am saying and writing, is written and said with the full intent of saying and writing it. Watching the BBC documentary, Music, Money and Hip Hop Honeys, had me all confused. I didn’t know you could now enhance your backside, looks like I need to catch up for I am way behind by the sound of things. But I must say, it broke my heart to know a young lady would enhance her breast with all that money as in the case of China Black, not her real name by the way, wear all that make up, straighten her teeth and even thought about enhancing her buttocks. Ironically, she is yet to get a job in the industry. Obviously, jobs are also hard to come by in this seedy world of money, sex, dancing and ‘shakies,’ even when you are ready to take off your clothes. Life knows how to play a cruel joke and game on you sometimes. I thought it was only people being made redundant that were having a rough time. But seriously, hip-hop honey?? No chil’, more like hoochie honey! You might not be sleeping with them but hell, what’s the difference? What’s to desire when they have it all on display and for free.
I am fully aware that we all take different paths in life, our aspirations vary, our dreams differ and the dynamics of the circumstances we sometimes find ourselves cannot be explained. I do not for one second belittle the struggles or challenges many people face before they make the hard decision to take it all off. For sure, I understand the harsh reality of life and there will be times when you have to do what you need to do in order to pay your tuition fees or sort that medical bill. I also understand that everything has a price. However, the overriding reason most young girls see this as glamorous is because of the fame and money. All I am saying is…the time has come when we must stop pointing the finger at men, claiming they control the industry, they make all the decisions, we just do as they say. No chil’, you have a mind of your own and like one of the artists in the documentary said, no one forced the women to do it and one of the honeys claimed she had a brain. And to think, some of them don’t even get paid, they do it, believing this could be their big break. Ha! I no longer feel cheated by the unpaid work experience I did while at university. Now, I am grateful I got in at all and the chance to learn.
Listening to Diggy Den or Dodgy Dan brag about how he can make a girl take of her clothes and do what he says. For me, that hurts as a woman. Listening to members of K.I.G and their breakdown of the women they come in contact with? OMG is all I’m saying. But to hear one of the guys say the girls are not individuals, he would take out and marry…say no more. So, this is where I ask, where is the feminist movement? Surely, this is why you are a movement? This is what you should be fighting against right? Or have I got feminism all wrong. Please, somebody help me out because I don’t know what’s what anymore.
No matter how much we talk about this, it will go on and on, and is going to get worse…all in the name of pushing boundaries and being creative. If these are the people our daughters are looking up to as role models, we don’t need to wonder why our babies are having babies and shacking up. The dangers are out there and like Nel Hedayat pointed out, they are scary and the truth is, we are not really talking about the other side of this game. We are so focused on the bling, dollar and pound, we are consciously blind. From racism to health issues to the possibility of being sexually assaulted or even violated you name it, they are all on offer. Tony Blackman, a champion of hip-hop culture talked about us learning a thing or two from these women embracing their body, being free to express themselves and taking up their sexual and sensual power. No disrespect, I am all for being empowered, from the body to the mind, as well as embracing your sensual and sexual side but if this is what it means to be quote on quote “liberated,” I don’t want it. I am very happy to be liberated one-on-one with my own dark chocolate or white Adonis when he comes. Until then, the clothes stay on and all forms of shaking and dropping-it-like-its hot will be done in the privacy of my bedroom and in front of my mirror! Thank you!
Image: BBC Website