Here we are at some metaphysical cross roads of black media representation, digital social media, and the future. Black women, men, and POC are killing journalism. Eviscerating racists, leftists, liberals and right alike on social media. The first POC-correct, feature length movie is hitting THE silver screen, nationally, in October, and diverse black webseries are prolific. Still killing the rap game. And then we have this.
This is happening right now. I look at this video and these boys look exactly like dancing black bucks, parading jiggaboos. The Tyler Perrying of black women (implicitly low-income) who are probably more like these boys’ mama, cousins and sisters than any of them care to acknowledge, is so fucking old in my book. If you’re only funny in a wig you’re not fucking funny.
Funny or Die
I’m empathizing with the video’s creator. It’s that desire to rise above those very black charicatures that are the punchline, through social media that is so apparent in viral videos and today’s black comedy. It’s the easy target of black women that makes the comedy cheap and tired. It’s the dancing jigaboo that, historically, has been a hit.
Making light of the lives of ,maybe too-close to real, black people who apparently need to be either partitioned off to find ‘baby daddies’ or turned into the butt of the joke, is actually an alternative to being upset about the disgrace they’re forced to choose between. Turning pain into politics, and making a meaning out of all the mess is really hard to do. Which is why we have these bottom of the barrel scraping the floor of funny videos and memes.
But we have to push past cheap laughs. At best they’re just a selfish way of making ourselves feel better about fucked up systems that keep all of us down. For the black men who acted in the video, emulating that supreme ‘welfare queen’ stereotype, it just screams desparation. It seems real funny right now, when there’s black folk behind it, but the minute the domain for ratchetpeoplemeet.com goes up to $1000 we’ll be wondering what the fuck and what for.
Are We Really Ready to Go Out Like This?
Black artists come from a tradition of struggle, overachievement and making major statements with our work. See Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Monique. But the one thing these comedians remembered is they’re not representing themselves, black people don’t have that luxury. When you have an entire culture of history on your shoulders, you can’t just shrug it off and ignore it.
Are we really ready to go out like this? To the extent that the producer got a group of individuals together to produce something greater than or equal to what any one of them could have done, yes its art. Video production itself is a crazy skill that takes time and devotion.
As a writer I want to honor the creator’s agency. I mean that’s part of being free blacks right? It’s not the only imperative that our talents be used to do better. It’s enough that we honor our talents and the skills we’ve worked hard to achieve. It’s more than enough when we give ourselves permission to grow from this shit, make better content each and every time.
On the other hand we all have to take ownership of our work and where we’ve been.This video is the complete American stereotype of blackness, and its produced by black people. With our history of media misrepresntation and especially the power of social media this is not something we should keep fucking around with. It’s your choice to laugh or not laugh, to reach 1Million views overnight or to go for the archives, but recognize that your choice is bigger that you may ever know. You could be the one. Why you wasting it?
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