Writer Jamilah Lemieux is still sorting out her feelings about why a music video featuring the love story of a white girl and black guy gave her pause. The video is filmed at her alma mater, Howard University, which would seem appropriate, given that the singer and lead actress, Jillian Parker, a white girl, is also an alumna of the HBCU. Lemieux parses through her concerns in a piece for Ebony:
The video is shot entirely on Howard’s campus and shows the singer kicking it with her HU lacrosse teammates and crossing paths with the football team. She connects with a particularly tall, dark and fine member of the team and we watch them frolic around the school … until she shows up at his dorm room and another girl answers the door. He pleads his case (See? He runs back to her), but she leaves him out in the cold.
Jillian Parker is White. Her on-screen boo, like the vast majority of Howard students/alumni, is Black.
And I am bothered by this video. Bothered …
My personal feelings about interracial dating are complicated. Which isn’t so uncommon, nor should it be surprising — race is complicated. And the history of romantic/sexual relations between Black and White people is certainly complicated. Do I instantly roll my eyes when I see a White woman and a Black man holding hands? No. But do I feel uncomfortable watching Parker and this big, dark Black guy walking around Howard’s campus through camera angles that were clearly intended to ‘artistically’ juxtapose the difference in their colors.
I won’t pretend that had this video taken place on Georgetown’s campus, it wouldn’t have had triggered any sort of reaction in me. I just would have likely dismissed it rather quickly. But Howard is hallowed ground — for me and for a lot of Black people. Our school is known as “The Mecca,” short for “The Mecca for Black intellectuals.” I think of all HBCUs in that way. Safe havens. Not the place where White girls go to find desirable men.
Read Jamilah Lemieux’s entire piece at Ebony.
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