Three different time periods were chosen representing approximately three different generations of black music (40 years apart- sass, sass and sass). Members of the group have researched literature on black music In these specific periods of time, choosing the songs by either black male or female artists to examine in terms of the messages transmitted through their work about the relationship between men and women of the Black Diaspora.
One group member will present how Black Women are depicted in music videos. The objective is to analyze the words being sung and how hey impact black consciousness in this regard. The criteria for this admitted extremely limited case study research was that the artists chosen for examination had to have been recognized as in the top 25 in terms of popularity at the time. This status was determined by consulting the national music charts such as “Billboard Top 100” or “Soul Train Top 100” merchandising surveys.
Topic: How Black Women are Depicted In Music Videos At first glance, music videos may appear to be a harmless entertainment outlet that promotes the sale of popular music. But closer Inspection reveals that It Is ended a cultural phenomenon that has an impact far and beyond music sales. Since the beginning of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Music Television (MITT and Video Hits One (VHF-I) in 1980, 1981, and 1985 respectively, music videos have been a dominant factor In American culture, as well as a platform from which current American attitudes, values, and preoccupations can be readily accessed.
Together with the songs’ melody and lyrics, music videos are powerful tools that impact minds with images that shape a person’s attitude. Throughout the twentieth century, music ideas have Influenced various perceptions on the images of women. No matter what the women In the music videos are singing about, or what actions they are doing in the videos, there Is almost always a sexual overtone. For women to be portrayed In this way has many consequences, for the Images that we view In everyday life shape the way we think.
Beveling a music video that has a woman being portrayed In an overtly sexual manner once may not have a very serious affect on a person, but seeing many different music videos all portraying women sexually, and seeing these ideas over and over, does indeed shape a person’s mind to view women with much less respect than they would otherwise. This therefore, is where the problem lies. In analyzing current video themes, it is helpful to review historical stereotypes and themes of women. An examination of historical portrayals of black women reveals a staggering semblance to that of the present day media presentations.
One of the most common and enduring stereotypes of black women In American culture Is that of the Sizeable -the hyper-sexual, promiscuous, and lewd black female, depicted earring little or no clothing. According to Ferris State Professor David Pilgrim, Sizeable Images from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorable depicts the common attitude regarding Black women that permeated American culture from slavery down naked or scantily dressed Black women, lacking modesty and sexual restraint. (Pilgrim )To say the least, common household and utility items such as drinking glasses, ashtrays, sheet music, and fishing lures, speak to the objectification and deeply entrenched defamation of Black women and their humanity within American culture. Sizeable is a name that survived down through the centuries, in various cultures to denote the wicked and immoral “hussy. ” The historical stereotype of Black women as Sizeable in American culture continues today in many aspects of modern media presentations, particularly the role of the hip hop music video siren that will be discussed later in further detail.
To be sure, Black women have been a willing and available participator in popular hip hop music videos. Black females that make up a major portion of participants as well as audience of these videos and he like have fully bought into the notion that their value is reduced to the bump and grind of their hips and buttocks. The deconstruction and analysis of the following top hip hop videos demonstrate the power of stereotypes in not only shaping cultural attitudes, but in the perception of self as well.
To take a case in point, in the music video, “Sexual Seduction,” Snoop Dog is portrayed as a pimp, surrounded by black women, dressed in either leather or lace negligees, in scene after scene of various sexual poses, bending down at his feet, finger in mouth, crawling seductively on the lour, posed on his revolving bed, eagerly anticipating his every sexual desire. This video pales in comparison to his 2003, “P. I. M. P. ” collaboration with fellow rapper Fifty Cent. In this video, Fifty Cent wakes up with three women in bed, who clean and dress him for the day.
He is then escorted to the ‘Pimp Headquarters’ where Snoop Dog and veteran pimps, including Chicago Magic Don Juan, initiates him into the pimp hall of fame. The following pool party features beautiful and scantily clad women sitting around in celebration as a dark skinned model in earth tone bikini and eels gyrate to the camera angled underneath her crotch. Two submissive female models in negligee’s and wearing dog cuff and chains are escorted by a slick dressed female pimp, showing that exploitation can also be a female game.
Slow motion frames of Jiggling female flesh and body parts and seductive facial shots with lips slightly parted, further demonstrates the objectivity of female sexuality. True, men are writing and producing these songs and videos, however all the blame can’t be placed on their shoulders. If there weren’t the 50,000 women going to audition for Hess rolls in the videos, then the producers and rappers wouldn’t be able to produce the videos, because they wouldn’t have the image of sex to sell. Chimes Voided published an article on Violoncellist. Mom specifically talking about the way women are portrayed in music videos. Voided makes a statement and poses these questions: “l often wonder, do they realize how they are the exploiting themselves? Are they cognizant of the history of the devaluation of Black womanhood? ” The women in these videos need to realize the image that they are presenting to the roll, and the preconceived notions and stereotypes that they are reinforcing. I believe that the main thing on the women’s minds is the paycheck that they will receive at the end of shooting their video.
Bell Hooks writes in Anti I A Woman, that since woman was designated as the originator of sexual sin, Black women were naturally seen as the embodiment of evil and sexual lust. This is reenacted today in ages start exploring “self loving practices. ” Which will teach women how to love and embrace, love and respect their bodies. There are artist out there that try to empower the spirits of women through their lyrics. For instance, India Rare wrote a song titled “l am not my Hair. This song and video successfully gives off an empowering message to women. India is basically reaching out to women and telling to embrace themselves as god created them. That there isn’t a need for the superficial things to be considered a strong beautiful woman. Our generation is in a great need for artist that are willing to send out messages positive empowering messages. In browsing through Youth, I found a rapper that is using mediums like Youth, and other free online posting sites, to spread his powerful truthful message.