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6Jan

Hip Hop Honeys: The Commodification of The Female Bootie!

hip hop honeysWe 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

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13 Responses to “Hip Hop Honeys: The Commodification of The Female Bootie!”

  1. I agree with you 10000%. If taking off clothes signifies creativity then we are all creative in our bedrooms and bathrooms. It is cheap. Very cheap. I have thought of this phenomenon several times and thanks for your article. I have asked ‘what on earth would cause a woman to do that’? and I have been called names for that. The bait is that ‘he who is not able to go nude is not liberated’ as you quoted. Yes, they use ‘freedom’, ‘right’ ‘civilised’ and such words to deceive the masses. What is freedom if it means going mad? As for the feminist movements the least said the better. Most still whack the men for these. They have not seen it the way you see it. Nope!

    Now surgery can do a whole lot and people are rushing for it. They are dying for it. It’s so sad, Belinda. Very sad. People want to look like others, like their pets, and all that.

  2. T.B says:

    I’m going to have to put my neck on the line here. I don’t get your point re feminism. The feminist movement is wide and diverse, there are some who actively campaign against the music video industry, they continuosly scream ‘exploitation’, to them it is tantamount to porn. They continously shout that the men are exploiting women , they are there shouting (I respect their views but it’s not my brand of feminism). your article states that we can’t blame the men, that the women choose to do it (this is where I get confused) because my own strand of Feminism believes in choice so therefore I cannot campaign for a blanket ban on video girls. My own brand of feminism believes in ‘true choice’ we can debate that but I would digress. My own brand of feminism cannot dictate what another woman can or should not do, what we fight for is equal opportunities so that the choices they make are real ones. If women have equal access to an education, security, opportunities etc, and they then choose to go into that industry, it isnt for me to come down on their choice (so long as it is a true choice). I just don’t get why feminism appears to be under attack when every week when you read any literature on the feminist movement they are attacking exactly what you describe. More importantly, there are various strands of feminist, and we all see the world differently.

  3. Belinda Otas says:

    @ TB, that’s okay, we are not a group of homogeneous hippies, who see things the same way, our lens varies and so do our views…
    Personally, I don’t call myself a feminist and still trying to understand the different feminist movements before I decide as to the one I think resonates with me…I am a lady who believes men and women, boys and girls, should be treated equally, from the boardroom to the playground…

    I don’t hear much noise about this right now as it gets worse…I don’t deny the fight for equality is raging either and every battle is different…I stand by what i wrote that we cannot blame the men for the fact that for so long, the blame was on the men but these women are in the videos by choice not force. I stick by it and mean it as it is. You talk about equal opportunities to education, security and opportunities, fair point but there are those who have all of these things you talk about and still drop it like its hot, are you saying they don’t have the chance to make an informed decision? Let’s just say, this is not going away anytime soon, that much is clear but we cannot keep blaming different factors for that long either, people have to look at their choices and be honest as to why they do what they do…If Feminism promotes such lewd representation of women based on the notion of equality, then I don’t subscribe to that because in time that too will have its negative ripple effect…the whole exploitation thing, fair game too but no one dragged these women along to start dropping it like hot potatoes…So, no, it was not an attack, it was me asking where are they? If I am not hearing them, then maybe they are a little silent on the rate at which it is growing here in the UK and young girls turning up in places that are neither certified or recognised with men they don’t know and exposing themselves to danger like one of the young girls in the documentary, who was sexually assaulted.

    I do appreciate your comment, it is another side to the argument.

  4. Belinda Otas says:

    @ Nana, it is about choices and they are not being forced to do this, it is their aspiration, maybe I am a bit too conservative and need to let rip a little but my idea of letting rip is different to other people’s idea of letting rip…

    But no, blaming men for this is no longer a valid excuse, it is time people take responsibility for their own actions…

  5. T. Bello says:

    With due respect I still don’t get your point re feminists. I have no issue with your views, which I think is sound on the whole. But it’s inaccurate to say feminist are doing nothing. You simply are not tapped into the networks, and mainstream media are not too interested in the issues. But even then, only 2 months ago there was a brilliant debate on Woman’s hour (Radio 4) where one strand of the feminist movement where calling and lobbying for a ban on theses types of demeaning activities, calling it exploitation and the other feminist strand where arguing that not all women are being exploited, some choose this industry. So the debate is ongoing. You say you know little about the feminist movement, in which case you can’t assert that they are not doing anything, because they are. My personal view is that if women have access to all the things I mentioned above and they choose this industry, then who am I to impose my moral values.

  6. Belinda Otas says:

    @ T.B – “You say you know little about the feminist movement, in which case you can’t assert that they are not doing anything, because they are.” ( I never said I knew little about the Feminist movement, pls, read what I wrote again, – “Personally, I don’t call myself a feminist and still trying to understand the different feminist movements before I decide as to the one I think resonates with me.”

    Trying to understand something is NOT the same as knowing little about it…

    I don’t claim to be an expert either, I am looking at different perspectives. I hear more about this from the African American Feminist movement strand than I do here in the UK. If you heard the Woman’s Hour broadcast, great! I didn’t and so you know that story and fight. Our source of information and interest on the matter is different!

    “My personal view is that if women have access to all the things I mentioned above and they choose this industry, then who am I to impose my moral values.” – We are all entitled to a personal view and no, you cannot impose your moral values on anyone neither can you police morality, people will do what they want to do no matter what…

    My point is that this is about choices people make and my concern is for young people who are getting into this without understanding what they are getting themselves into or the dangers they could be exposing themselves to as demonstrated by the documentary… It is also the fact that women can no longer blame men for this. It is both ways now and its time women took their responsibility in all of this…when I have heard debates about this, the women are always quick to blame the men and jump on the bad wagon of exploitation but no one has asked about some of the women who get into this and that they too must take responsibility for their action and question why they would want to represent the women as such because their action beams around the globe and soon, that is the view of women based across the ocean, men in some parts of the world have. I am not speaking from hearsay, I am speaking from the experience of a friend or have you not heard of African American women getting propositioned when they go to some parts of the world and the men think all African American women are video vixens??? Silly yes, but can you blame ignorance…

    If you don’t get the point I made about feminism, there is no other way I can explain it, so we can leave it at the point that we see the coin differently. Thanks!

  7. T.B says:

    It’s quite clear from the tone of your last comment that you have taken exception to an opinion that differs and or challenges your presumptions, which is a big shame, as I said on the whole I think your asessment is sound but your broad assumptions about what the feminist movement is or is not doing is incorrect. you are right it’s best to leave this, I would refrain from commenting on your blog.

  8. Lara Daniels says:

    Wow…What a piece. Let’s face it, Sex sells. And for as long as there is going to be a world economy, there’ll always be issues of sex sales. Ever since the creation of the world, women have been the scapegoat for this endemic problem. Personally, I have never been able to understand why women would belittle their God-given dignity for the sake of money. And you are right, the men are not the ones shackling women to lose every form of propriety. it’s coming from the woman’s free will. As I think more about it, the girls in these videos usually come from homes where they have been abused through every channel possible, so that as adults, they have no self-worth, or rather, their sense of selfworth is kind of twisted. Some of these girls acually think that they are excercising a form of power over men when they are expose their bodies…for them, it’s not about money. It’s about power – sex power. Unfortunately, what they don’t realize is that they are as much as victims as the man that they think is being held under their spell.

  9. Belinda Otas says:

    @ T.B – I am not sure the exception of tone you are talking about but the fact that I gave my opinion the way I see it. If it differs to yours and you feel I have taken a tone with your point of view, then maybe you are taking an exception to an opinion which does not correspond with yours. I have had stronger comments on this website before and people agree to disagree…If you read the whole comment again, we are coming from two different POVs, which we are both entitled to. I cannot find the tone you talk about, other people have read this same post, some commented, some sent an email to give their thoughts and one or two also raised a point similar to yours, I gave them the same response and there was no issue of tone, so in all honesty, I can’t but say we see it differently and interpret things this differently…

    My comment ended on the note “If you don’t get the point I made about feminism, there is no other way I can explain it, so we can leave it at the point that we see the coin differently. Thanks!” in others words, let’s agree to disagree…

    If you want to refrain from commenting in the future, that is simply your choice and wish and I cannot circumvent that as I don’t have the right to deny you of your choice and wish. Nevertheless, your comment and POV on this subject is appreciated. Thanks!

  10. Belinda Otas says:

    @ Lara, Sex sells for sure and you make a great point about this being about power. That didn’t cross my mind but reading your comment, it is ever so true, sex sells, the music videos sell, the executives go home rich, the artist are loaded and the women get the crumbs though it is still a lot of money…they are well connected and their money making machine cannot be stopped like that. The oldest debate on the block which is not too far from the oldest profession on the block, they are all interconnected, just different levels, avenues and audience. I think it grates me because of the young people getting into this without a clue, thinking fame and money, some are unaware and just plain ignorant of the dangers…one of the young ladies in the doc was sexually assaulted and the pervert walked free when they went to court, claiming she consented, after all, she did sign whatever they gave her to sign, that is if they have the paperwork for their craft at all…I am sure she didn’t think he would go that far and start touching her in ways she did not permit…

  11. Femi Ojo says:

    Nice article! Globalization has also helped to fascilitate the erosion of our cultural values, pride and integrity! This is one of the many destructive leviathan of globalization which has helped the promotion of nudity, how can a reasonable lady expose all that needs to be covered infront of the cameral in the name of pursuing a dream? What a paradox!

  12. Belinda Otas says:

    Thanks but yeah, you can say that again…and then you have those who argue for choice, okay, fine, we all have a right to be who and what we want but when we become consciously blind of the dangers by the bling, $ and £, that worries me, not to talk of young girls getting in way over the head and live with the consequences for the rest of their lives…while one cannot impose their morals on others or police morality, our moral boundaries in life are derived from our values, my view. Hence, what do we place value on these days? Money, safety, pride, integrity? The list goes on but hey, who am I to tell others what to do? What’s sad is the fact that the men they are shaking it for also tell you, they will not marry that kind of girl. Go figure! I rest my case!

  13. […] There is a music video, Mr Endowed Remix with D’Banj ft. Snoop Dogg, making the rounds on Facebook at the moment which I find very interesting because of the international collaboration between D’banj, a Nigerian artist and Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg is not one of my favourite artist. I have a passionate dislike for some of his lyrics and music videos but you do have to admit that he has been successful at what he does. Being that I have heard it too many times, it would be silly to ignore that this is a good step on the career ladder for the artist, so let’s give honour to the young man for his achievements. I am sure some of us have seen the same video and feel proud that D’Banj is Nigerian. That’s all well and good and well done to him but I have to say, I was not impressed with the half naked women in the same video while the men were looking sharp! I won’t get into that subject again for it was the focus of a previous blog –  The Commodification of The Female Bootie […]

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