Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kreayshawn: Jim Crow, Black Women, and Boundaries

Last week, buzz surrouding a white female rapper named Kreayshawn and her signing by Sony was all over the blogosphere. Some people were all for her, and others were underestandably displeased.

The Crunk Feminist Collective dissected Kreayshawn in a very well-written piece that resonated with me on so many levels:

The White Girl Mob media darling blowing up the interwebs whose potential deal with Sony is making waves makes me angry in a way I haven’t been in a long time. Her appropriative swag is yet another reminder (not that we needed any more this month) of how little black women are valued in our society, even in genres we co-create. In a moment where cool is synonymous with swag, a particular manifestation of black masculinity, Kreayshawn’s dismissiveness and denigration of black women animate her success.

However, The Clutch really got to the heart of my issue with Kreayshawn and her general persona:

It’s ironic how the White girl mimicking Black culture has been viewed as quirky, cute, and interesting in the past. But sisters who fashionably rock bamboo earrings, gold nameplate necklaces, and blonde streaked weaves, will inevitably be considered “ghetto” by society. It’s equally problematic that every female emcee post Queen Latifah and MC Lyte who has had massive mainstream success all had to sell sex. Kreayshawn, on the other hand, is able to avoid an over sexualized image because of her whiteness.

That is my problem with her, aside from the fact that her music is garbage, overplayed and overly hyped up. She is able to build buzz and make a name for herself because she's a modern day version of Jim Crow.

If you're thinking about the segregation laws, you'd be mistaken. The name Jim Crow rose from obscurity thanks to a white actor whose schtick became black face and impersonating racial stereotypes of black people.


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