At VH1’s Tuner blog, contributor Bené Viera recaps and dissects rapper Lupe Fiasco’s new video for his controversial track “Bitch Bad.” Contrary to the title, the Chicago MC’s lyrics break down the gnarly path of objectification in hip-hop lyrics and the effects of those words on impressionable minds.
This brings us to the final act of the story, where Lupe parallels modern day black entertainment (read: music videos) to historical blackface, tap dancing and performances blacks once participated in for the enjoyment of white audiences, which reinforced negative stereotypes. A girl and a boy who were subjected to the “bad bitches” imagery as youth are all grown up. As a woman, she believes being a bad bitch is a compliment. As for him, well, he associates nothing good with bitches. In the background, caricatures of Sambo, blacks tap dancing and the video model/rapper in blackface plays repeatedly. The video vixen/rapper struggle with the images they’ve just presented to the world for money.
The allegory in the Gil Green directed video symbolizes new age minstrel shows. Beyond tackling the perception of bitch being good or bad, which is subjective, Lupe points out the ideal of black entertainers pimping themselves through reinforcing stereotypes all for a buck, or in this case, millions of bucks. One would have to understand history to comprehend what he did here. If you’ve seen Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, you’ll immediately recognize the similarities. Frankly, it’s probably one of the most important videos of the year. Because whether you consider “bitch” empowering or degrading, there is something to ponder on: What’s the message being ingrained in children, all for the sake of entertainment?
Read Bené Viera‘s entire piece at VH1’s Tuner blog.
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