Please pardon me while I take a deep breath and decide how I want to tell you this story. It has so many layers, and I want to get it right.
Maybe I should tell you about the lady who wants to pull a Kylie and Kendall by taking ’90s-era hip-hop artists, putting her name on it and selling it as a children’s book. I could write about how she and her husband-boyfriend chilled in blackface. How she made a commercial using Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.” Or how they use the words “nigga,” “OG” and “ghetto” like they invented them and made them cool.
Perhaps I should frame this in terms of how white people stole and appropriated every piece of art ever created by black people and transformed it into something “American.” They did it to jazz and made Kenny G the highest-selling jazz musician in the modern era. They did it to the blues and rock ’n’ roll and made the Rolling Stones “the World’s Greatest Band.” They watched the slaves on Saturday nights and invented “American dance.” Every American art form is a remix of black art.
Or, instead of a lesson about cultural appropriation, I could make this a macro think piece about the overall historical boldness of white people (I refer to it as “caucasity”—white audacity). How they refer to colonialism, land stealing and gentrification as “progress” or “expansion.” How they think that everything belongs to them. How they don’t think that claiming something that doesn’t belong to them is the same as stealing.
Nah, I’ll just keep it simple.
It all started when a tweeter named Illuminaughty noticed this on Facebook:
A B to Jay-Z (I guarantee that they think this name is so clever) is a children’s book that was created by Jessica “J. Pain” Chiha, who came up with this project with her “baby daddy” Danny so they could “get money” for their own “ghetto superstar” (OK, I know the language makes you wanna throw up in your mouth, but they wrote it, not me).
Seems legit, right? Who wouldn’t want to teach their kids the ABCs by looking at rap songs? I know it sounds like the most Caucasian idea ever, because there is already a centuries-old, verified way to teach children the alphabet, but if white people weren’t always tinkering with shit, we wouldn’t have the microwave oven or atomic bombs.
So Illuminaughty messaged the publisher because she wanted to know who was getting her money. And also because her Twitter name is @sweetfacedinero.
Apparently, despite all their supposed knowledge of hip-hop, the Chihas didn’t understand that, while it may work in their neck of the woods, “no answer” is not an acceptable response in black culture. Illuminaughty wanted to know more, because—did I mention her Twitter handle? So she did a little digging and found this:
And this jewel on the Instagram account:
After people discovered the book, they complained so much that at least one website removed it, and the Little Homie (the Chihas’ company name/social media brand) made its social media accounts private. But the pair have already raised over $8,000 on Kickstarter.
So there you have it. The caucasity of dopes. It is more amusing than it is infuriating because we have seen this too many times. Either they don’t know what culture is or they don’t have one of their own, so—as they did the land of the First Nation and the bodies of Africans—they just took it.
Some people will call this “outrage” because anytime something happens on social media, they easily dismiss the voices that object as being outraged. No one is torch-and-pitchfork angry at the Chihas (y’all do that, not us).
Maybe we should stop allowing them to even touch our culture if they aren’t willing to respect it. Perhaps we should completely cut off the Kardashians, the Jenners and people who blithely suck the sweet parts out of any civilization they see, swallow it as if it were their own and try to make a profit off the remnants they vomit back up. At the very least, we should call them what they really are: