Apologies for the late post! I posted this way earlier today but didn’t realize until now that I posted to the new blog wordpress made for me that I didn’t know I had, instead of this one. Couldn’t figure out how to post to this one until just now, even though I’ve done it before… Very odd. 😛 Anyway, back to things that matter.
In our group discussion last Wednesday, we spoke about how the skin color of a model of clothing, be that a traditional model for the fashion industry or simply a person wearing a specific type of dress, can entirely change the perception of the wearer. Douglas sometimes chose native models for his Indian Fashion Show, and oftentimes chose slender women of European ancestry that mirrored the bodies showing clothing at Parisian fashion shows. Whatever his choice entailed, the effect of the fashion show changed dramatically. Similarly, Beyonce’s and Rihanna’s outfits served to make both their African and Caribbean ancestries salient, juxtaposed with their American identities, in addition to their identities as women/sexual objects/beings. (For reference, their videos are at the bottom of this post.) Some would argue that it takes only personal perseverance, determination, and talent to become famous in the music industry; others, like Bene Viera at Clutch Magazine, argue that Black women have less choice in what they wear if they desire fame. She compares their success to Kreayshawn’s and other white female rappers, who didn’t sexualize themselves in their videos and still received wide recognition for them:
It’s ironic how the White girl mimicking Black culture has been viewed as quirky, cute, and interesting in the past. But sisters who fashionably rock bamboo earrings, gold nameplate necklaces, and blonde streaked weaves, will inevitably be considered “ghetto” by society. It’s equally problematic that every female emcee post Queen Latifah and MC Lyte who has had massive mainstream success all had to sell sex.
In this case, as in the ones above, the meaning of the “bamboo earrings, gold nameplate necklaces, and blond streaked waves” changes according to the skin color of the wearer. Women’s Wear Daily quotes Kreayshawn bemoaning her hardships as a white girl: ““When I was younger, growing up in the ‘hood, being the only white girl, like, there’s time when you’re like s—t, it sucks being white, you know?” Colorlinesanalyzes the immense privilege she flouts when making statements like this, without acknowledging or even realizing her privilege at all. Jamilah King, from Colorlines,further analyzes her persona with a list of “5 Reasons Why People Love to Hate Kreayshawn.” Does Jamilah’s list match up with our course readings and our discussion about Beyonce and Rhianna? How does his list carry over to another V-Nasty’s public persona (another white, female rapper)? For some context of her views on racism and whiteness in today’s pop culture, see her reaction to public commentary on her and Kreayshawn’s use of the n-word and claims that they are “acting Black:” (and I’m sorry, I don’t know how to upload a video to the blog! I can only copy the links.)
For reference, here are Beyonce’s and Rihanna’s videos, along with Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci”: