Tag Archives: hiphop

The 10 biggest race and pop culture trends of 2006: Part 2 of 3

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

Wait, not the Sean Jean, now?!

by Jen Chau
get outta here with that gear!Have you ever worried about not being let into a club because of the way you were dressed? You know, your clothing wasn’t quite dressy enough, or you were wearing sneakers? (god, you really should have known better! what were you thinking?!). Well, apparently, a spot in Nashville has taken all of this so seriously that they have gotten very specific about the gear that is unacceptable. Thanks to my bro for the heads-up on this. ;)

A Nashville Nightclub has introduced Brand Specific Dress Codes.  The sign outside the club displays a list of unacceptable brands, including: Southpole, ECKO, ENYCE, Sean Jean, Phat Farm, FUBU, etc.  The brand specific dress code is creating controversy both because it discriminates against style and because the brands chosen suggest racial profiling.  One shop keeper described, “You see black people wearing more of these type of clothes. I have it on now. I think he pointed his finger toward black people (talking about) the grills and the Sean Jean. I think he’s talking about more black people.”

I agree. The grills and the Sean Jean needs to stop. :) Seriously, this brings up a lot of questions. I honestly don’t think this situation is as much about race here as it is about the club’s assumptions about “the kind of people” who wear these brands…although it probably does go back to race for the club. They are probably thinking Phat Farm = hip hop, hip hop = thugs, thugs = trouble. And of course hip hop is synonomous with black, so…. :| I mean, let’s be honest — what were they thinking? Probably that the people who wear Ecko and FUBU are thugs up to no good who will only do damage to their place. Or maybe the management just doesn’t think this crowd is “refined” enough to be partying at their establishment. Clearly, this situation reeks of assumptions and stereotypes…and possibly even some classism. I can see how all of this is being pinned on racial discrimination, though, because again, the assumption at play here is that only black individuals wear these brands.

Well, I don’t know how it is in Nashville, but if it’s anything like the big apple, good luck. I mean, when you are trying to get into these places, you’re at the bouncer’s mercy. I think that it’s a club’s prerogative to let people in based on their arbitrary/random rules and whether they feel generous on any given night. It’s all so silly and superficial, but that’s the way it goes in the land of drinking/dancing/seeing and being seen. This is why I stay home. :| :)

But clearly this club hasn’t done its research. If it had, it wouldn’t blindly ban Sean Jean. I mean, have they caught sight of the Sean Jean “2 Button Grey Sharkskin Jacket!?” ;) Suave!

I think that if folks want to boycott, they should definitely show up to the club in this, this, or any of these. :)