Heavy sigh. Here we go again…
I was so happy and proud when you incorporated Trinidadian rhythms into your video for “Don’t Matter.” So you can imagine how disappointed and disgusted I was to see this article in the Trinidad Express. And then the video of you practically mauling a fourteen year old girl before a cheering crowd at a Trinidadian nightclub made the rounds of the blogosphere. And then the comments began. Let me backtrack for a second here.
I was already mulling over a post about blog comments, partly fueled by the casual racism I’ve noticed on celebrity blogs. The truly offensive Jennifer Hudson chicken post on That Other Blog has now been edited to remove the tastelessly captioned photo, but it is forever comemmorated here at one of my fave new blogs, The World Around Us. Said site also made the unnecessary and stereotypical joke about e mail fraud when posting about Nigeria’s Next Top Model. But I was pleasantly surprised that the commenters to the site were rightfully outraged by their use of negative stereotypes.
Not so much the readers of Perez Hilton, who left me open-mouthed at the racist statements made on his post about the same show. Seriously, scroll down and read the comments if you want to be depressed about the state of racism in America today.
So then this Akon thing happens, and I can’t look away from the comments pages. And I find the same ignorant beliefs being spouted again and again. “This is a part of Caribbean culture, get over it.” “That’s how they dance in Trini.” “Those Caribbean girls get down like that.” And all of the old school disses delivered to dark skinned people that you might expect. Allusions to African jungle beasts and all sorts of phrases and images you’d be more likely to expect in ancient documents from an English plantation owner, than you would from the people you sit across from in your office cubicles today.
As a Trinidadian blogger, I feel obligated to respond.
Yes, suggestive dancing (better known as wining) is a part of Trinidadian culture. Yes, at Caribbean fetes and at Carnival, you will find legions of men and women grinding sexily on each other. Yes, scandalous dancing is celebrated throughout the Caribbean, all you need to do is do a You Tube search for “dutty wine” or “dancehall queen” to find an array of NSFW videos of women getting down on all fours to degrade themselves. But Akon took it to a whole ‘nother level.
First of all, that girl is 14. In all my years as a proud Trini, I have never seen anything like that, and I say with confidence — that kind of behavior is NOT representative of my culture. Regardless of age, Akon’s treatment of that girl was shocking and reprehensible. Perhaps I shouldn’t have expected much from the guy who sang these songs.
I have dismissed the brief thought I’d entertained of going to see Gwen Stefani in Miami, seeing as Akon will be one of her opening acts. But I have a strong feeling that Akon keeps the blatant, unrepentant misogyny and adults-only antics to international performances and urban nightclub acts. He wouldn’t dare bring shame to Ms. Stefani’s Sweet Escape Tour, would he?
The women who participated in Akon’s dance contest are culpable in the sense that they sought his attention. They clamored to get on stage, to prove their sexual prowess by dancing for a screaming crowd. If you’re the kind of lady who takes it off for beads at Mardi Gras, is an expert booty clapper, or thinks nothing of dropping it like it’s hot, then you might understand where they were coming from. I personally do not. But to say “she looked for that” as some of the commenters have said, is completely wrong. And now her preacher father has come forth to defend his 14 year old daughter’s sullied honor.
Akon’s behavior was shocking, abhorrent, and completely unacceptable. No wonder his record label is desperately trying to remove this video from You Tube, and limit the downward media spiral of their blossoming star. Not that I ever bought his CDs before, but having seen this video, I can no longer support anything that Akon does. He’s been officially banished from my playlist, along with R. Kelly. If you want to learn more and read other intelligent (and differing) perspectives from Caribbean bloggers, please visit Karel McIntosh’s Caribbean PR blog, What Crazy Looks Like, The Mad Bull’s Blog, The Manicou Report, Attilah’s Four Fingers and a Thumb, and Elspeth Duncan’s Now is Wow.
Go Shorty, It’s Your Earth Day!
This weekend, there’s bound to be an Earth Day event near you. I’m gonna try to make it out to Earth Fest 2007, here in Key Biscayne. But if you can’t make it, then you can support Earth Day and environmentally friendly initaitives by — you guessed it — buying beauty products!
CARGO PlantLove lipstick has hit store shelves just in time for the green celebration. The lipstick case is made from a polymer derived from corn, and it’s biodegradable. $2 from your $20 purchase goes to St. Jude’s, and best of all, if you plant the outer casing into the ground, it grows wild flowers! LOVE that. Click here to check out the variety of shades, some of which were designed by celebs. Of the celeb-designed shades, Mariska Hargitay’s my favorite. I’ll do a big post about environmentally friendly makeup next week. For now, if you want a big tease for next week’s product reviews and interviews… click here. All of your questions will be answered!
Disco was Made for Afrobellas
So Lauren, one of my bestest BFFs is in town for a gigantic birthday weekend! She’ll be crashing at Casa Afrobella this weekend, but last night we did it up on South Beach with dinner at Cafeteria and a jaunt down a typically overcrowded Ocean Drive (Ugh, I hate driving on Ocean Drive). And I noticed an undeniable theme — disco is BACK. Did it ever go away?
But seriously, at the restaurant it was non-stop disco, and all along Ocean Drive it was like a disco classics CD was on. Wet Willie’s. The Clevelander. All of the usual sidewalk cafe suspects were blaring bubblicious beats and female singers, not Latin music or hip hop as I usually expect. But then, this was late on a Thursday night. I’m sure the weekend will find us back at Crime Mob and Trick Daddy.
But all that disco fabulousness got me thinking about that era, when it was all about the afrobellas in spangly clothes, under strobe lights. I’ll be writing a lot more about forgotten afrobellas from the Seventies in weeks to come, but for now, I’m ending the week on an up note with one of my favorite disco jams.
We gonna boogie oogie oogie till we just can’t boogie no more!
What’s your favorite disco song, and who’s your favorite disco era afrobella? Happy weekend to you all!