by Kendra James While I was less than impressed with the whole broadcast, here are…
Tag: Justin Timberlake
By Arturo R. García
In the post-Airbender era, it’s more important than ever to talk about questionable casting decisions, and outright white-washings like the Akira remake is shaping up to be.
But it’s also important to keep an eye on who’s not talking about it.
By Arturo R. García
Just because you enjoy something doesn’t mean you’re able to do it. Example: I’m an NCAA basketball fan. Doesn’t mean I’m qualified to run the point at Cameron Indoor Stadium anytime soon.
By that same token, though I’m willing to believe that Jimmy Fallon sincerely enjoys hip-hop, well, somebody should’ve stepped in before this Late Night With Jimmy Fallon sketch made air:
After re-reading some of the responses to the Ciara/Justin Timberlake post and extensively confabbing over brunches about it, we finally figured out that the greatest transgression Ciara committed wasn’t the BDSM imagery (though some wanted to switch the argument from that to “this is just racist!” or otherwise dodge-the-discomfort comments and conversations) or that she and her gurls were doing their private dance for a white guy. It was the white guy himself.
Then we did a bit of snooping. Thanks to our gal-pal in the sex & relationship scene, Twanna Hines of Funky Brown Chick, we found an Essence listing of white guys who have paired with Black women. We looked at the posts—and at each other—and decided that they didn’t go far enough.
Therefore, in an effort to make sure such a pop-culture faux-pas don’t happen again, we’ve composed a list of white guys who are deemed The Race™-sanctioned—any Black female performer can be seen with these white performers and know she’s doing right by Us™. Our criteria:
- We know they’ve dated, are dating, are married to, have and/or have babies by Black women. (Having Black or Black biracial daughters, adopted or biological, is an added bonus. ‘Cause, as some of us wanna believe, if the white guy can touch/sex up/adopt/father a sistah, they can not possibly be…well, you know the rhetoric.)
- They can actually have performing-arts skills. (This leaves out Kevin “K-Fed” Federline.)
- They’re famous in their own right. (This kinda sorta leaves out Gabriel Aubry. Some early men-watchers know him as a model. But many more know him for siring Halle Berry’s baby. If you don’t believe us, say Aubry’s name and “model.” Then say Aubry’s name and “Halle Berry’s baby’s daddy.” Record the results.)
- We get the 6th Sense* that they’ve been with sistahs but aren’t talking about it.
- We sistahs have sensed the sexual tension between these dudes and the sistahs on-screen.
- They’re not Justin Timberlake.
So, in some sort of brunch drink-induced order, and with some of the sexiest snaps we can find on Google (oh yeah, the numbers correspond to the criterion/a we believe these guys fit. We assumed points 2, 3, and 6 for all of them):
by Racialicious Special Correspondent Wendi Muse
In a recent discussion about the content of Ciara’s video “Love, Sex, Magic,” in which the songstress collaborated with Justin Timberlake, many readers commented that the video itself served as a classic example of race baiting via sex and sexuality on the small screen. The video demonstrated what some considered a clear example of exotification and sexual exploitation of black women for the fodder of a white male audience. And again, in recent weeks, came the criticism of comments made by Kate, of the TLC show about adventures in parenting Jon and Kate Plus 8, who declared her attraction to, and arguably, fetishization (in the connotative sense) of Asian and Asian-American men.
These accounts garnered considerable attention from tv audiences, gossip column connoisseurs, and critical race theorist alike. Yet despite the aforementioned controversy, few considered the experiences of the interracial couples “on the ground.” In many instances, interracial relationships exist as some conversation piece or pivotal point for people who talk about race, but there is little attention paid to the simple fact that, like any other relationship, interracial relationships deserve the respect and courtesy of same-race relationships, respect in this sense meaning the right to exist sans accusations of racial essentialism and an excessive amount of societal self-projecting solely on the basis of the relationship being interracial.
In simply beginning an interracial relationship in the United States, one often suffers a considerable amount of social pressure, be it from family members, friends, or co-workers. When the presence of an interracial relationship is noted, its very existence at times solicits a barrage of questions in the minds of onlookers, one firing after the other. The questions range from the simple, “how did they meet?” to the complex, “do they really love each other or are they just together because they wish to rebel against social norms?” to the intrusive, “how is the sex?” Some of these questions are customary when considering any relationship, yet with interracial relationships, there seems to be an exceptional increase in curiosity, one that certainly rivals that of intraracial pairings.
And while there are plenty of unuttered questions, there is an equal, if not greater, number of unspoken answers, guesses and assumptions as to the many aspects of the relationship. In relation to interracial couples, the participants are rarely given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their reasons for being together in the first place, at least not in the same way as intraracial couples. For example, if one were to date someone of the same racial background, the issue of essentialism, the idea that one has chosen his or her partner solely on the basis of race and the characteristics one attributes to said race, is rarely considered. Thus we have the double standard. People of the same race could very well be dating each other for calculated reasons, one of them being race, yet this is rarely considered and applied to such couples. Only interracial couples fall victim to such assumptions.
By Sexual Correspondent Andrea Plaid
My gurl S., who followed the Justin Timberlake/Ciara post and thread very closely, just about fell out while we talked on the phone.
She was apoplectic over Timberlake pulling Ciara’s chain in the video, of that salient image of BDSM (and possible race play) as well as the article about race play I linked to in the comment thread. Too through, she told me she “had to get up from the computer when I read about race play.” “I mean, I knew about it, but I never read about it in detail. I just can’t believe it!!”
“I know,” I told S. “I know.” ‘Cause I’ve heard this reaction to race play before. Talking to another blogger, she flipped out pretty bad about it. I had to calm her down by saying, ‘I feel you. Personally, I think of race play and, yeah, I feel the body memories of slavery, too. And, yeah, I even felt a negative undercurrent in Hernandez’s piece, one of ‘This isn’t uplifting The Race!’ But, S., I’ll tell you what I told the blogger: the reality is–whether we like it or not–people are into it.”
“And, I added, “you can’t flip out about race play [with the Racial Uplift] argument because some folks can use the same argument about your liking anal beads: ‘The slavemasters–and white men–have stuck all kinds of objects into us to violate us. Why would you want to do something like that? That’s not uplifting the race!'”
S. got quiet. “Yeah, you’re right.”
Unfortunately, this argument gets whipped out among people of color when a PoC steps out of sexual line of “acceptable” sex practices and partners, especially in a public space, like Ciara did in her “Love Sex Magic” video. On the thread from the other day, she gets “read” as a slut corrupting the youth or a victim of the patriarchy or both. Some of the comments:
“Ciara is clearly desperate…her albums aren’t selling like the execs thought they would…in sense she is a slave…so the video is perfect fit.”
“The video is way sexualized to a point that’s unnecessary…My issue is with the fact that Ciara chose to go so far that she came off as tacky.”
“I don’t know that I’ve witnessed this much (grand plié in 2nd position) crotch, thigh waving and close-up butt rumbling by non-brown bodies in a music videos of late…She is dancing around and below him, she is an armrest for him, she is performing for him (and us – not an essentially bad thing, but a thing I’m keeping in mind) . . .”
“Ciara tends to be very sexualized in general. Did anyone see her performance with Chris Brown at the BET awards? This is how she markets herself…But I feel Ciara’s video is too sexual, and I blame that all on her. We need to start making women accountable in these situations.”
“I think the portrayal of Black women in general, rather a Black rapper or rip-off artist like Justin Timberlake, is discraceful no matter who does it. We have girls and boys, Black, white, latino, asian, in middle school watching this crap, and thinking this is how men and women act, and women should have to get half naked to get status while boys have to be immature, crass, and disrespectful, its alienating to the self and destroys creativity. What ever happened to convincing and natural sexuality?” Read the Post Your Sex Acts–And Partners–Aren’t Uplifting the Race
by Latoya Peterson
Reader Crash Happy tipped me to this provocative article published on SoulBounce, asking “How Can Justin Timberlake Still Objectify Black Women and Get Away with It?”
Contributing editor Ro writes:
Someone please explain why Justin Timberlake continually gets a pass to fetishize and exploit the image of Black women. Right now. Because after watching him aggressively pulling on a chain wrapped around Ciara’s neck only to later use her bending body as a leaning post in her new video for “Love Sex Magic,” it’s getting ludicrously difficult to understand.
It been years since “Nipplegate” after which he distanced himself from Janet Jackson, cowardly allowing her to endure the overly harsh criticism alone. The outcry against his actions from those of us in the indignant minority was quickly overshadowed by an increase in album sales, multiple music awards and an increase in his Pop stardom miming Black music and culture. Instead of subjecting his next project with trepidation–let alone dismissal–nearly every “urban” club, radio station and music channel on the planet had the masses bumping to a song with a hook that’s about shackles, whipping and slavery.
From behind a wry smile and with his hair faded he actually tarnished a reigning, Black Pop star’s image arguably beyond repair by exposing her breast on national television and then built his street cred further by bringing sexy back, Middle Passage style. He’s transitioned from the post-racialist’s pop culture dream of somewhat harmlessly lusting after beautiful Black love interest in the video for “Like I Love You” into something more sinister. He uses the scapegoat of S&M edginess in which he is the aggressor, the dominant force, to subordinate his object of desire when she is Black.
Ro goes on to argue that while both Ciara and Janet Jackson chose to collaborate with Timberlake, “that just makes his ability to exploit their collaborations to the point that they are subjugated to his dominance, wittingly or not, more protestable.”
The comments over at SoulBounce were as provocative and engaging as the post. Here are a few of the choice ones:
You talk about JT “miming Black music and culture,” but until we get away from this insular view of racial ownership of culture (and a type of music) we will never be an integrated society. By making him out to be an imposter because he borrows from hip-hop and collaborates with black women (although his last popular single was with Madonna), aren’t you singling him out soley for the color of his skin and not the content of his musical product? That seems like precisely the kind of thing we are trying to get away from as a country.
Luce | March 25, 2009 5:02 PM | Permalink