by Carmen Van Kerckhove
I’m continuing my series breaking down the top trends in race and pop culture of 2006. So here we go with numbers 7 through 4 of my list. Check back tomorrow for the top 3, and if you missed it, check out yesterday’s trends 10 through 8.
7. The new minstrel show
6. Racism on college campuses
5. Fear of a Latino takeover
4. The return of the white man’s burden
7. The new minstrel show
North Carolina hip hop group Little Brother titled its late 2005 release The Minstrel Show, and they couldn’t have been more prescient because minstrelsy made a huge comeback in 2006 in all forms of media: movies, television, music and even the internet.
- MOVIES: Tyler Perry made a killing by cashing in on the public’s love for black men in dresses. Diary of a Mad Black Woman was nominated for an NAACP Image Award (yeah, I know) and its sequel, Madea’s Family Reunion, opened No. 1 at the box office with $30 million.
- TV: Flava Flav, the new millenium’s Stepin Fetchit, ruled reality TV in 2006. The March finale of his VH1 show Flavor of Love drew 6 million viewers, making it the highest-rated show ever for the cable channel. And when the show returned in early August, 3 million people tuned in for the premiere. But Flavor of Love is just the tip of the iceberg in Viacom’s not-so-classy depictions of black folks, as I outlined in this post. In November we heard a rumor that BET was going to start a reality show starring Bobby Brown and Karrine “Superhead” Steffans (author of Confessions of a Video Vixen). And TV commercials continued to rely on the archetype of the big black sassy mammy for humor.
- MUSIC: Byron Crawford really nailed it when he wrote: “Flush with revenue from the likes of Mike Jones’ Who Is Mike Jones?, the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song),” Three-Six Mafia’s Academy Award-winning theme to Hustle and Flow, and D4l’s “Laffy Taffy,” record labels are rushing out to sign the most coon-like negros they can find.” Cases in point: DJ Webstar and Young B’s Chicken Noodle Soup, Ms Peachez’ Fry That Chicken, but perhaps the most egregious example is Jibbs’ Chain Hang Low, which is set to an actual minstrel tune known as “Zip Coon” or “Turkey in the Straw.” No subtlety there. And don’t forget the ongoing tradition on The Maury Show known as the Not a Baby Daddy Dance. Of course, rapper NYOIL tried to address the minstrelsy problem in hip hop with his problematic and controversial video, Y’all Should All Get Lynched. See varying analyses of this video here and here. Continue reading