Okay....lots of news and views. First, I reviewed the Rammstein show for Exclaim! here a couple of weeks ago, which was great. Granted, not a big fan of their music, but the show itself was impressive. Lots of pyrotechnics, the fans were excited, and my fellow photographers? A bit assholish, but what can you do?
What some people do when they are clearly sexist, is just pretend that you are not there, and proceed to step in front of you and even physically push you aside like an annoying fly to get those important shots. What I have learned is to stay back, relax, and as soon as the show starts, start tackling motherfuckers who try and block my view. I, like them, need good photos, and will be just as assholish when I need to be. So there. I don't fuck around.
Anyhoo, it was an interesting crowd: Old folks (I was surprised until I remembered how old I was when I first heard of the band), young people, Goths, some Nationalist Skinheads (?), and tons of rabid regular folk who dressed the part but were really psyched to see the band, the first time they had played in Toronto in over a decade. The singer, Till Lindemann is really fucking weird but with an amazing voice and persona. I wrote that he was so sexually charged in a S&M/sexually deviant way, which I found intriguing, and man, they really thought out their stage show. A bit too choreographed , but again, its a stadium show, and I'm used to tiny, smelly club shows.
When I was in NYC I got an email from a producer from WNYC who invited me to participate in this segment for their program Soundcheck, called Smackdown. Essentially, it is two journalists / critics who debate a pop culture issue, and for this one it was Odd Future. I'm assuming that the producer found my brief writeup after hearing about their SXSW appearance, but regardless I agreed to participate.
Whoa. I really had some issues with the other journalist who was participating, and I'm still shaking my head. I've been on the radio before, and television, but this was not one of my shining moments. You have to talk fast, make salient points very quickly because the clock is ticking. I was getting so angry at the other journalist, that all I could see was red. I just don't get it. You can click on the Odd Future link above to listen to the whole thing, but essentially, I was talking about how their usage of violence and misogyny towards women ( and specifically Black women) was offensive and quite frankly, tired. The other journalist disagreed and felt that Odd Future's lyrics were positive, that they were actually "making young people aware that violence against women" was a real issue. I was muttering "bullshit" under my breath for the duration of that call. There is a lot more I could say, but I'm not.
One of the commenters on the WNYC website criticized me, and in theory, he had a point: I wasn't saying that young black kids were all of a sudden going to go out and start beating on Black women because of Odd Future's music, but it might have sounded like I was. No, that's not what I meant, but they are perpetrating a real myth, a real issue, that Black women can be used and abused and it's okay, because we are not as valued in society as White women are. I do believe that there is no reason why young Black kids need to talk that shit, regardless of a woman's cultural background. It is not going to drive people to be violent, but it does perpetrate the myth amongst their listeners - I have a real problem with that.
On the other hand, let these kids have their fifteen minutes of fame. It will fade away when someone else, more controversial comes along.
The Psychology Today Debacle
Today a post I wrote on the Psychology Today bullshit article went up on Blogher. For those who haven't heard, some asshole wrote a pseudo-scientific article on how Black women are deemed the most unattractive of all the women in the entire universe.
What else can I say? I've written here before that I really do think that there is this passive / aggressive thing going on against Black women, and a lot of it is Obama - backlash. I read the article early Monday morning before I went to work, and I was annoyed. Another article? Jeesus.
Today I was thinking to myself about how much unnecessary shit we go through on a daily basis. The inundation of articles detailing the desperation and unattractiveness of Black women over the past couple of years, is really depressing. This particular one was over the top in its evilness. I will admit, being a single, childless women in her 40's does not help, and know I know why the small handful of married ( young) black women I know are so fucking arrogant. Do secretly they think that they are successful for "finding a man?" because they know the odds are against them?
The whole thing is just so sad. And depressing. But the writer has some serious issues. But on the other hand, it is not a great feeling knowing that someone in the world hates you so much ( and the publication, Psychology Today) cares so little about your feelings that they would publish such hateful nonsense. And all in the name of "science."
On Racialicious today, they published a portion of a blog post that I found enscapulates how I feel, and how I'm sure other Black women feel about the issue:
Stop acting like we don’t have a right to this collective anger. Anybody with a brain that thinks and eyes that see and nose that knows KNOWS that we have a right to this anger. The “Angry Black Woman” is angry for a multitude of reasons. We’ve been America’s favorite Whipping Girl since the first African woman set her foot in Virginia in the 1600′s.
When we embrace our curvy bodies, we’re told we’re fat. When we accept our thin frames, we’re accused of lazy or bad cooks. We’ve been charged with nursing and caring for the children of our white employers from Antebellum times through today, but we’re constantly being portrayed as bad mothers. We put a weave in our hair trying conform to a beauty standard that has nothing to do with us and we’re still called “nappy-headed hoes”. When we go to school, get degrees and a career, we’re “un-marry-able”. If we work and have kids early instead of going to school, same thing happens. When we or others decide to celebrate us, white women scream out “REVERSE RACISM” but we have to comb through 50-11 magazines with white women on every page to find ONE with a Black woman on the cover. We bare it all in a video or keep condoms in our nightstands and we’re called sluts. We dedicate ourselves to The Church or are decidedly single and we’re prudes or “bitter”. All too often, we are forced to choose our race over our gender or risk feeling the wrath of our Brothers, despite having to live with the realities of both. From Saartjie Baartman aka “Venus Hottentot” to Satoshi Kanazawa’s “scientific” study claiming Black women being less physically attractive than EVERYBODY else, we’ve been studied like freaks of nature instead of just regarded as human beings with the same value as all others.
We’re pretty much damned if we do, damned if we don’t. So, the stereotype of “The Angry Black Woman” is rooted in a very visceral truth. We’re tired of this shyt. Stop telling us to stop getting upset. Stop telling us to not be mad despite having to deal with this crap ALL THE TIME. Why are we supposed to put up with this reckless disregard for our humanity with a smile on our face? Because we’re women? Because we’re Black? Please, miss me with that bull. We are HUMAN first. This anger is righteous and all ignoring it and the causes of it will do is create a dyspeptic breeding ground for spiritual, psychological, social and physical dis-ease.