Just a moment, lovely

WHITE RAPPER FAQ Part 2

aamerrahman:

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This is a follow up to this post here: http://aamerrahman.tumblr.com/post/53978736048/white-rapper-faq

1. ARE YOU SAYING WHITE PEOPLE CAN’T LISTEN TO RAP?

Stop projecting your anxieties onto me.  You’re white.  You can do pretty much whatever you want. It’s a sweet deal.

2.  IF SOMEONE LOVES A CULTURE LIKE HIP-HOP, AREN’T THEY ALLOWED TO BE PART OF IT? BLACKFACE WAS ABOUT MOCKERY.  WHITE RAPPERS LOVE HIP-HOP, THAT’S WHY THEY MAKE RAP MUSIC.

Blackface wasn’t just about mockery.  It was an industry, a structured form of entertainment that allowed white people to benefit from their projections of black culture.  A key element was the ability to define blackness to a white audience and profit from this performance.  This whole issue is as much about the economic dimensions of white rap and its relationship to an audience as it is about the basic intentions behind it.

A white rapper like Iggy Azalea acts out signifiers which the white majority associates with black culture - hyper sexuality, senseless materialism, an obsession with drugs, money and alcohol – as well as adopting clothing, speech and music – as a costume that they can put on and discard at will.  It’s a cheap circus act.

3. WHY ARE YOU BLAMING THESE WHITE ARTISTS FOR BEHAVIOUR THAT IS REGULARLY CELEBRATED BY BLACK ARTISTS?

Supply only exists to meet demand.  In fact, the hyper-sexual,  materialist and misogynist trends we see in mainstream rap are a manifestation of the desires and imagination of a majority white consumer base.  In other words, these are the images of blackness white people want to see being reproduced for their entertainment and consumption.

This white fanbase has demanded increasingly fetishised images of black and brown people for almost 3 decades now - I mean seriously, I recently heard two white radio hosts (a man and a woman) discussing how much they wanted to touch Nicki Minaj’s ass to see whether it was real or not.  Like some kind of modern day Hottentot Venus.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_hottentot).

But while they are fundamental part of the shaping of commercial rap and its problematic imagery, white people take none of the blame.  The economic structure of the music industry dictates that black people do not control the production of rap music, but must simultaneously be held accountable for its problems and answer for all of its shortcomings.

3. WHY IS IT OK FOR AN ARTIST LIKE SCRIBE (FROM NEW ZEALAND) TO RHYME IN AN AMERICAN ACCENT BUT NOT SOMEONE LIKE IGGY AZALEA? THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT IGGY IS WHITE AND SCRIBE IS NOT.

Scribe and Iggy Azalea are not simply ‘different’ because of the colour of their skin.  Race is not just some cosmetic difference between people.   In this case it is the door to a discussion about class, history and culture.

Hip-hop was created and pioneered by people who had directly suffered colonisation, slavery, intergenerational poverty, criminalisation, drug epidemics, racial profiling, demonisation by media, over-policing and mass imprisonment.  Hip-hop has always naturally resonated with people around the world who have experienced similar things – just look at the rise of Arab/ Muslim Hip-Hop in the last decade (and across the 3rd World in general).

Scribe has actually grown up in a community directly affected by racism and poverty.  His American accent is in no way the type of appropriation being exercised by someone like Iggy Azalea, who basically impersonates her idea of a black woman for fun.

5. SO…

So if you participate in a culture built heavily on people’s experiences of racism but you have never experienced racism yourself, tread lightly.  Basically, everyone take a page out of Brother Ali’s book.  Last time I saw him live, he took a whole chunk out of his show to genuinely talk to the mostly white crowd about privilege, racism, colonialism and their part in it.  If you simply take from a culture without giving back to its legacy, or at least consistently acknowledging the people who pioneered it, you are a thief.

This ‘post-racial’ and ‘colour-blind’ idea that Hip-Hop ‘belongs to nobody,’ that ‘anyone can rap’ with no strings attached is basically to deny and delete the history of a culture.   Only an incredible sense of arrogance and white entitlement could lead someone to the conclusion that Hip-Hop’s roots as a rejection of violent oppression and racism are suddenly irrelevant, especially when those conditions still exist today.

6. YOU CALLED YOUR POST ‘WHITE RAPPERS FAQ.’ DID YOU REALLY MEAN ALL WHITE RAPPERS? WHAT ABOUT MACKLEMORE/ AESOP ROCK/ (INSERT CONSCIOUS WHITE RAPPER HERE)?

My first post was specifically about artists like Iggy Azalea and Kreashawn.  Of course there has always been a spectrum of white artists in Hip-Hop who engage with the art differently with different levels of respect and self-awareness (see Brother Ali above).  However, simply being conscious does not give you immunity to criticism or the right for people to question your presence and intent.  Regardless of how ‘conscious’ a white rapper might be, all the points in (2), (3), (4) and (5) still apply.

Also, for everyone who keeps screaming ‘Macklemore!’ at me, please explain this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H83YWalKuKc

7. WHAT ABOUT EMINEM?

I specifically didn’t talk about Eminem because Harry Allen (Public Enemy’s one time ‘Director of Enemy Relations’) wrote this amazing piece in The Source 10 years ago:

http://www.harryallen.info/docs/TheUnbearableWhitenessofEmceeing.pdf

Everything in that article is still 100% relevant and true, and yes - Eminem opened the door for all of this.

8. RE: FALLON/ TIMBERLAKE ‘HISTORY OF RAP’ - OH, SO YOU’RE SAYING THAT BLACK THOUGHT AND QUESTLOVE ARE TOO STUPID TO KNOW THEY ARE PART OF SOME MINSTREL SHOW?

No, I’m saying that capitalism means people have bills to pay and they end up in compromised positions.  It also means that talentless people are regularly rewarded over those with genuine ability.  So instead of being truly celebrated as a genius and being able to program his own 24-hour  music network, a pioneer like Questlove has to play drums on Jimmy Fallon’s show five nights a week.

Imagine how much smarter your kids would be if they grew up watching  Questlove TV instead of MTV.

* EDIT: Yeah, I photoshopped Elvis’s face onto Eminem. LOL.

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A message from Anonymous
So I was just wondering if you have any book recs? Devotionals or Bible commentaries or studies or w/e? I have read the Bible multiple times, but I feel like I'm still just skimming the surface, and I would like a text that does go deeper into meaning/context/translation/etc. But I want something that tells me not just the "accepted" status-quo-preserving interpretation of Scripture, but gives me different points of view. Do you know of anything like that?
A reply from millennialgospel

Sure!

For a study bible, I use the English Standard Version here, which is really great for including supplemental material like maps and timelines and stuff. 

For critical resources I recommend:

  • Eve: A Biography by Pamela Norris (if you’re interested in women in the bible)
  • if you want to read the book that was extremely formative for me personally and also is literally the reason this blog exists (for me, at least), read A Theology of Liberation by Gustavo Gutiérrez
  • for commentary/dissection of the Bible itself, check out anything by Robert Asher. He has done a lot of translations of different books of the Bible that are very accessible. 
  • if you want to read several different points of view, Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies From the Underside by Thistlethwaite and Engelis a great resource. 

that’s all I have off the top of my head, I think. Hope it helps!

- A 

WHITE RAPPER FAQ

aamerrahman:

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1. OMG HOW CAN YOU COMPARE RAPPERS LIKE IGGY AZALEA AND KREASHAWN TO BLACKFACE MINSTRELS?

(http://aamerrahman.tumblr.com/image/53915908191)

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Blackface was all about white people acting out caricatured, fetishised depictions of black people for the entertainment of white audiences.  Iggy Azalea, Kreashawn etc. are all about… well, you get the picture.  Their entire careers rely on them perpetually acting, talking and behaving like college students at an ironic-not-racist-but-actually-racist  ‘Ghetto Fabulous’ themed frat party.

 

2. ARE YOU SAYING IGGY AZALEA IS RACIST?

Let’s not even start on this: http://diaryofahollywoodstreetking.com/iggy-azalea-leads-racist-twitter-rant/

I’m sure Iggy Azalea doesn’t think Iggy Azalea is racist.  In fact, she thinks SHE is the one being oppressed.  These are her words in response to Eve saying she wasn’t a fan:

 

“Everybody is different, everybody hasn’t lived out of the box and for you to even know if it’s real, you have to kind of be an out-the-box person or somebody who likes something they’re not suppose to. A girl like her that raps is expected, so, how could you understand something so different?

 

Right.  (1) Rap is some kind of forbidden love for a girl like Iggy, (2) OMG black people like Eve rapping are SO CLICHÉ!  How could they possibly understand something as brilliant and original as an white Australian who makes money by doing a bad impression of a black woman?  Also, you don’t call Eve ‘girl.’

 

“I’m not mad at [Eve] for not understanding it,” she continued. “How could you if you’ve never been ostracized or loved something you weren’t suppose to love? Everything you’ve loved you’re allowed to love, so, how could you understand me?I don’t give a fuck if you think I am (real) or not ’cause that girl in the crowd understand it and that’s who it’s for, if you don’t then it’s not for you.” 

 

Okay, so (1) WHERE DOES A WHITE RAPPER GET OFF TELLING A BLACK WOMAN THAT SHE HAS ‘NEVER BEEN OSTRACISED’ AND ALWAYS BEEN ALLOWED TO LOVE WHAT SHE WANTS???

(2) WTF is this about ‘not being allowed to love’ rap???  Asher Roth predictably says similar things – that growing up he felt alienated by the Hip-Hop he listened to because he didn’t feel ‘represented.’

 

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THIS.  COMMERCIAL HIP-HOP IS DESIGNED FOR WHITE PEOPLE.  WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE VAST, OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF HIP-HOP’S CONSUMER BASE.  WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF WESTERN CONSUMERS, FULL STOP.  HIP-HOP MUST MEET WHITE PEOPLE’S DEMANDS IN ORDER TO BE FINANCIALLY VIABLE CONTENT FOR ADVERTISERS ON TV, RADIO AND THE INTERNET. HIP-HOP AS AN INDUSTRY SURVIVES ON WHITE PEOPLE’S MONEY.  HIP-HOP AS A PRODUCT RELIES ON APPEALING TO THE WHIMS OF ITS PREDOMINANTLY WHITE FANBASE.  COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL HIP-HOP REFLECTS THE DESIRES AND TASTES OF WHITE PEOPLE.  HIP-HOP IS ONE OF WHITE AMERICA’S FAVOURITE FORMS OF ESCAPE, WHERE YOU GET TO PROJECT AND LIVE OUT FANTASIES ABOUT SEX AND VIOLENCE THROUGH PEOPLE OF COLOUR.  YOU ARE NOT ‘OUTSIDERS’ TO HIP-HOP, YOU ACTUALLY CONTROL ITS PRODUCTION, FORM AND DISTRIBUTION JUST BY BEING WHITE.

 

You are not being excluded. I promise.

 

3. ARE YOU SAYING WHITE PEOPLE AREN’T ALLOWED TO RAP?

White people can and will do whatever the fuck they want regardless of what I might think or say.

This is one of my favourite gems from Iggy:  “This idea that rap should be black… is worrying to me. It’s almost like segregation…isn’t that how conflict (!!?!) starts?”

Um, no.  Actually, it’s nothing like segregation.  And no, people thinking you and your fake, manufactured shit have no place in a culture built on authenticity is not how racism and wars started.  Benevolent white people like you who want to forcibly colonise, appropriate and redefine other people’s culture and history are how racism and wars started.

 

4. REALLY? THE JIMMY FALLON/ JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE ‘HISTORY OF RAP’ SKITS? REACHING, BRAH.

If you say so.  Two douchebag whiteboys doing Hip-Hop karaoke using THE ROOTS as a jukebox?  Really?  Presenting someone else’s art and history (badly) while the coloured folks play backup? While BLACK THOUGHT stands by and watches?  Black Thought is one of the best MCs out and - if you’ve heard his mixtape with J. Period - can actually do incredible impersonations of other rappers.  But that doesn’t matter, because being rich and white like Fallon and Timberlake means you can ride off other people’s talent, history and cultural capital just for kicks while a white studio audience cheers you on. 

PART 2 of this is here: http://aamerrahman.tumblr.com/post/54317063776/white-rapper-faq-part-2

golfdad1992:

Isn’t amazing how people don’t give a shit about misogyny until they can accuse muslims of it in order to justify their islamaphobia?

medievalpoc:

rebornasacynic:

babefield:

cusscakes:

medievalpoc:

heartsalchemy:

medievalpoc:

Peter Lely

Portrait of Elizabeth Murray

England (c. 1650)

Oil on canvas, 124 x 119 cm

[x] [x] [x] [x]

I think I have seen pictures of this before, in high school maybe, but I don’t remember there being a second person before. I seem to remember this image being cropped differently too, which is very disturbing because now that I see the entire painting, the way I remember it being cropped was very clearly and deliberately intended to remove the person holding the tray of flowers.

Since we’re throwing haymakers at the kyriarchy today, I think this is something that we should really be talking about too, because it happens

ALL. THE. TIME.

Level 1: People of Color from Medieval, Renaissance, and other Early Modern European works were often literally painted over in later decades or centuries.

For example: In this painting, Giulia de’Medici (the child) was painted over in the 19th century:

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Level 2: It was very fashionable in a lot of 17th and 18th century paintings to have a Black servant featured in portraits of very important historical figures from European History.

Honestly? They’re practically ubiquitous. A lot of the very famous paintings you’ve seen of European and American historical figures have a Black servant in them that have been cropped out or painted over.

Those silly stock photos from your American History Professor’s Powerpoint?

Your Professor’s PowerPoint for “George Washington”:

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The actual painting:

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Your professor’s Powerpoint on Jean Chardin:

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The actual painting:

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PowerPoint on Maria Henriette Stuart (with some commentary about the Habsburg jaw):

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Actual Painting:

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But, because of whitewashed history curricula, teachers and professors continue to use the cropped images because they don’t want their lecture to get “derailed” by a discussion about race.

These images are also more commonly seen on stock photo sites, including ones for academic use.

I honestly can’t find anyone really writing about this, or even any analysis on how often the cropped photos are used.

The reason they are so easy to crop out is because of the the artistic conventions which reflect the power hierarchy:

Oil paintings of aristocratic families from this period make the point clearly. Artists routinely positioned black people on the edges or at the rear of their canvasses, from where they gaze wonderingly at their masters and mistresses. In order to reveal a ‘hierarchy of power relationships’, they were often placed next to dogs and other domestic animals, with whom they shared, according to the art critic and novelist David Dabydeen, ‘more or less the same status’. Their humanity effaced, they exist in these pictures as solitary mutes, aesthetic foils to their owners’ economic fortunes.

This is drastically oversimplified, but at least it addresses it directly.

If anyone knows more on any studies or statistical evidence on this tendency, feel free to add it.

I just learned things.

i think about this a lot

My art history teacher told us about this black crusader who was considered a hero in Europe. He showed us some portraits of him, but after time Europeans began to portray him as a white man in artwork. He also showed us medieval paintings of free black men. He said people think there are no medieval paintings of black people, but there are and they just aren’t shown to or seen by many people.

I’m glad to hear that your teacher has been trying to incorporate this kind of material into the curriculum. That’s why I try to include as many educational links and resources as I can along with the images-even professional educators can have a hard time finding these artworks and info about them.

It’s also worth mentioning that part of why I focus on Europe-which is a subject of some valid criticism, considering how little time is usually spent on non-Western cultures in history related classes-is because what MUST be included in U.S. world history education by high schools and colleges is according to strict guidelines that are Eurocentric and/or Western-centric.

Educators  are often working under pretty strict conditions about what they HAVE to teach you. It’s my hope that by providing a lot of specific examples from eras and artists, professors and high school teachers will be able to make their powerpoints and handouts more representative of the people in the classroom and still stay within the dictates of their department or institution.

Ideally, world history and art history will become less Western and Euro-centric, but in the meantime while our history education remains the way it is, these materials can help show that history is more diverse than a lot of textbooks would lead you to believe.

blacknoonajade:

karkles-the-adorabloodthirsty:

sonofbaldwin:

I got dressed in my traditional Indian regalia, but there was a man, he was the producer of the whole show. He took that speech away from me and he warned me very sternly. “I’ll give you 60 seconds or less. And if you go over that 60 seconds, I’ll have you arrested. I’ll have you put in handcuffs.”

- Sacheen Littlefeather in Reel Injun (2009), dir. Neil Diamond.

They were MAD, CONFUSED AND PRESSED that Marlon Brando would betray White Supremacy in this way.

To this very day, they are TWISTED over this.

And when Littlefeather got up there and READ THEM FOR FILTH, they GAGGED. For eons.

So I imagine there are people like me out there who’ve never even heard of Marlon Brando and are extremely confused over why this is important.

Marlon Brando was the Don in The Godfather, and in 1973, he was nominated for and won an Academy Award for it. However, he was also a huge Natives rights activist, and boycotted the ceremony because he felt that Hollywood’s depictions of Native Americans in the media led to the Wounded Knee Incident (which I was always taught as “the second massacre at Wounded Knee” but apparently that’s not the real name). He sent Sacheen Littlefeather, an Apache Native rights activist, in his stead. Wikipedia’s article on her explains the rest:

Brando had written a 15-page speech for Littlefeather to give at the ceremony, but when the producer met her backstage he threatened to physically remove her or have her arrested if she spoke on stage for more than 60 seconds.[5] Her on-stage comments were therefore improvised. She then went backstage and read the entire speech to the press. In his autobiography My Word is My BondRoger Moore (who presented the award) claims he took the Oscar home with him and kept it in his possession until it was collected by an armed guard sent by the Academy.

That is what this gifset is about.

You have GOT to read up on this. The Wounded Knee Incident, Marlon Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather, Anna Mae Aquash. ALL OF IT. 

"A gospel message that doesn’t even try to change the world only works for those that don’t need the world changed. It’s dangerous in affluent countries — [the message] can become too white, too privileged, too American, too male."
Jim Wallis, arguing that social justice is an essential part of the mission of the church (source - around minute 57)
book-choco-loco:

Woops, there it is. (x)

book-choco-loco:

Woops, there it is. (x)