Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jacking for Post Pt 2...From The "Window" To The Back Seat Edition...

I have always been a big fan of her commentary, but today, SisterToldja brought it...I had to share. Ms. Jamilah Lemieux...She reminds me of a solar eclipse. She's not as regular with her posting as the rest of the cast, but when she comes with one, its definitely something to see. And shout out to my good pal, $ulaiman and the whole BlindIForTheKids crew.


The internet was all abuzz these past few days with two very different women making two very different revelations. Erykah Badu’s body-bearing “Window Seat” gave everyone something to think about, whereas Kat Stack's groupie tales made us shake our heads. However, there is a notable connection here. Walk with me for a second.

All tragic everything

Erykah shed her clothes to, as I understand it, make a statement about groupthink and how the culture of this country strikes down those who refuse to conform. In using her body to make this statement, the singer also presents some other very important commentary in the process. By striding through the streets of Dallas naked as the day she was born, without the aid of foundation garments or editing tricks to enhance her frame, Badu informs us that she is the owner of her body. She knew very well that her nudity would be interpreted very differently than say, Alanis Morrisette’s in “Thank You” or D’Angelo in “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”. Embodying Star Jones’ code of “free, Black and grown“, Badu allowed herself to be vulnerable in a very powerful way. And the conversations sparked thus far have certainly made her efforts seem worth it.

To be clear, I am not comparing Kat Stacks to Erykah in terms of levels of bravery or agency. I watched a video of her speaking and it’s obvious that this young woman has some serious challenges (she spoke like she was either on drugs or perhaps what is referred to in schools as “teachable mentally retarded”). There is something disgusting about this woman bragging about sleeping with an entire crew of men and then coming forward to air them out: not for cheating on their girlfriends or mistreating her, but for misrepresenting their wealth (“All them niggas is roommates”….I can’t). I want to go upside this girl’s head. Reprogram her, teach her some lessons about self-worth. She may be naked on camera, but she’s for DAMN sure no Badu.

I’m not giving Stacks a gold star or exalting her as some sort of heroine. But by coming forward, as so many groupies and “side chicks” are doing these day, Stacks and other descendants of Superhead are forcing the public (and their former paramours) to see them as human beings. Is this her intention? Doubt that. She’s trying to get paid, cash in on the noteriety. As we saw with Karrine Steffans, there’s an opportunity to host some parties, maybe get in King and have a book deal. Please know that this chick isn’t gonna be the last one coming forward either. This is a new day, indeed.

While most of us have great disdain for women ‘like’ Kat Stacks and question their behavior and their reasons for coming forward, it is worth noting that there was a level to which these womens’ bodies were not their own. They were to be a recepticle, a vessle. To be used when and whence a man of means (real or implied) saw fit. They were the sum of their titties and a$s and their ability to suck and f*ck. Nothing more. Wheather a woman dances in videos to pay her tuition or simply sleeps with famous men for a sense of validation, wheather she was promised a relationship or it was made very clear that her only role was on her back and with her mouth shut…she’s a human being. And America’s misogyny, one of the ripest form being that of Hip-Hop culture, has allowed us to view a class of women as sub-human for far too long. The emergences of the Kat Stacks of the world make us uncomfortable and understandibly so. They force us to truly look them in the eye and examine how they got to this point.

It’s not fair for us to continue perpetuating this notion of pimps and whores. The world has changed. The men who bed these women should share the same ill repute or the women should have equal footing to own these relationships and say “and what?As I said in my piece on side chicks for Clutch, there’s no second class of woman that exists to solely satisfy the needs and tastes of men. Rappers have gotten rich off the bodies of mostly Black and brown women: tales of their exploits with girls who seemed to exist on no other level than to be pleasurable places for “successful men”. They are treated with the value of a pair of sneakers. And though many women have willingly signed up for this treatment, there is an extent to where the “groupie” lifestyle looks appealing to a lot of girls. You get to be in some videos, which means you are pretty and desirable. You may get a few gifts, some trips or perhaps some fancy dinners.We live in a celebrity obsessed culture where people gladly measure their own worth by their proximity to the rich and powerful (real or perceived). So long as there are men looking for Karrines and Kats, there will be Karrines and Kats. And so long as men dog these women out, I don’t feel much sympathy for them when the “sluts” strike back.

The Hip-Hop community and many of those who are merely patrons, not participants, has gladly bought in to this very antiquated notion of expecting women to bear the burden of sexual morality. For years, these rappers have dogged women out and made a lot of money doing so. Now some of the girls want a piece of the pie. I judge Kat Stacks the same way I do the raggedy Young Money “roommates” that allegedly bedded her: a bunch of sick, misguided young people perpetuating notions of unhealthy sexuality for the eager ears of young listeners. It’s time that we start using the same lense to judge the men that we do the women. It’s not fair to give a man props for the same liason for which we’d shame a woman. And if these men don’t want their sexual business aired out, then I suggest they learn to be wiser about the women they spend their time with and, dare I say it, start treating women like thinking, feeling human beings instead of cum recepitcles.

It may seem like I’m going out of my way to defend women who’ve done some unseemly things, but our culture of ’slut shaming’ is misogynistic and continues an unrealistic cycle of virgin/whore mandates. This isn’t just a rapper issue; listen to some of your buppie homeboys talk about how they can’t take a woman seriously if they can name one person she’s been with. While our society has envolved in many ways and total purity is no longer demanded of women, there are still some huge hurdles to climb. I’m not advocating the notion that women should act like men have historically, but rather, that we all shoulder some responsibility for treating our partners with respect. And that we don’t shame a woman for doing what a man gets props for.

As for Kat Stacks and the Young Money roommates…I say spray them all with some flea bath and get them to the “long peach couch” of a therapist post haste. But this moment in time, from Erykah’s bearing of her body in the name of freedom to Kat’s exposure in the name of funds, is worth noting. Women must own their bodies and refuse to allow the powers that be or the men around us to define our sexuality or our worth. Hopefully, we will see more women looking to Badu than Kat Stacks for clues on what that looks like.

All I say is...Wow...*hand clap*

And on that note...

...I'll keep you posted

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