1.27.2014

"It should be you"

So earlier this month, I did a post describing how Peter Mensah's character on Spartacus was built up in Season 1, only to be thoroughly emasculated in Season 1.5.  In fact, when the new front and center white boy Gannicus is chosen over him to fight in a major game (after the Doctore's been benched for a year), a drunken Gannicus waits until they're alone to say, "It should be you."  And I guess Doctore and his fans were supposed to feel better about that off-hand toilet paper apology.

Isn't it great how art imitates life and life imitates art?
The most egregious error of the night was seeing the brilliant Kendrick Lamar get totally shut out. Everyone knows he’s the best new artist. Macklemore on his best day can barely hold a candle to Kendrick on his worse day. Even Macklemore acknowledged that he “robbed Kendrick,” via a text message that he then sent out screenshots of via social media. However, Macklemore claimed that fear prevented him from taking a courageous stance and saying exactly that when he went up to accept his award. But Kendrick Lamar can’t do anything with a private apology, Macklemore. Far too often, allies refuse to speak up in public while asking for absolution via private confessions. Macklemore failed to use the white privilege that he has readily acknowledged to challenge this structure of power in a moment when the world was watching.

Simultaneous to us witnessing this whitewashing and erasure of the black bodies and black artists who helped create the sound of folks like Macklemore, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Katy Perry and Robin Thicke, the Grammy’s force-fed us a lie of American progress in the form of a diverse marriage ceremony performed near the end of the show, featuring 30 couples, including straight, same-sex and mixed race pairings. As Queen Latifah, who many folks believe is queer, pronounced these folks married, we saw a spectacular display of American multiculturalism. A putatively queer black woman performed a marriage ceremony for the likes of America’s post-race, post-hetero progeny, as Macklemore, rap’s newest great white hope, serenaded the lovers with his hit song “Same Love.”

We know America is no more post-race than it is post-hetero, but each of these lies fuels the other. Macklemore is so popular in part because his music critiques gratuitous consumption and homophobia, both of which are figured to be problems endemic, not to American society, but to hip-hop culture in particular. Thus both he and Lorde scored big awards, he as best new artist, and her song of the year, because the view is that these white folks have come to a transnational consensus, that hip-hop culture is what ails us, and their critiques constitute a cure.


*bows to the mistress*

3 comments:

  1. I hope this finally resonates with black artists who are constantly trying to figure out how to "cross over".

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  2. Though I enjoyed the show... for the first time in years (I was happy to see Daf Punk make Taylor Swift look like a fool in accepting their award. I don't think I could take it any more if she would have received another pity award), though I'm not a Kendrick Lamar follower, the man really got shafted. Out of all of those nominations do you tell that he could not get at least one award. Geez!

    I'll give Mack a little credit,he I'd reach out to him..though by text, but it's not the same as actually getting one. I enjoyed the Grammys in the past because it wasnt whitewashed. I guess that I get so bored of certain TV programs for the simple fact that everything is being whitewashed. Even with the idea of some "diverse" shows,someway and somehow it's made to where Black characters are put under the bus for White ones.

    I knew that this Grammy awards was going to score big in ratings but perhaps it four have been number one if they would stop whitewashing everything. I find myself getting bored with this concept. If it wasn't for the crossover old school/new performances on the show,I don't think I would have watched it.

    I find it rather hypocritical of what Macklemore to do that. He'll tell you in a second that he sings about social injustices yet he couldn't make a stance for Kendrick? Kanye West may be the biggest fool today, but he did speak his mind of Taylor Swifts win the AMAs against Beyonce and god knows he was more than right about it.

    The Grammys may have wanted for unsuspecting viewers to think that they were celebrating diversity through the marriage ceremony but to who?not us for sure. Just because you have different groups of people around you doesn't make you enlightened and it doesn't make the Grammys anymore diverse than the NAACP Image awards. If "diversity" in their eyes is whitewashing everything, then they can have it.

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    Replies
    1. All this post-racial, post- hetero, coexist diversity stuff is to just to appease white liberals. Everything done in this society by whites is done for whites. Don't let a few brown faces sprinkled in here and there fool you. They can talk all day long about their white privilege and fighting social injustices, as long as it pays them to do so. When was the last time you heard of a white artist or white anything losing their career over fighting some kind of social injustice that didn't affect them directly? I'll wait... They can talk about how being racist is bad and how being homophobic is bad and then play to sold out crowds in the most racist and homophobic places. They're all talk and no acton.

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