Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Told You So: The NY Times has Discovered "Baracka Flacka Flames" and They Love It

The New York Times has "discovered" the abysmal "Baracka Flacka Flames" video. And predictably, the white gaze (with the incumbent whiteness of a cultural establishment that so often takes pleasure in the voyeuristic pleasures of neo-minstrel coonery) finds it brilliant.

The Times' piece has yielded two more data points: we now know that Barack Obama is played by comedian James Davis, and the video is produced and directed by Martin Usher. Both of whom are presumably African American. Score one for the team. Also score two points for black on black crime.

A quotable from "Prez N the Hood: A Hip-Hop Parody Stirs Issues":

And Waka Flocka Flame appears to be of mixed opinion on the song. “That they used it to be so sarcastic, it was almost a form of disrespect,” he said. He shared it on Twitter, though only to “let other people see how ignorant other people can be,” he asserted, not wholly convincingly. His manager, Debra Antney (who is also his mother), said she called up the influential hip-hop video site WorldstarHipHop.com to have the clip removed, to no avail. “That’s not a positive image for us, period, as African-Americans, where we came from, where we’re going today,” she said.

Mr. Davis, though, said he believed that the sort of humor in the clip helped move beyond basic binaries about racial representation. “I can speak to the educated black guy and the hood black guy,” he said. “The fact that we can come out and put on a full production like this in an area where there’s gang violence, in what people would consider the hood, is important to me.”

And he believes that the president wouldn’t be offended by his portrayal, if he ever sees it. “I don’t know what it takes to get to Obama,” Mr. Davis said. “If the White House is like other businesses, other offices, he probably knows about it. Maybe it’s on his to-do list: fix the economy, health care, watch this link.”

We all have to negotiate these muddy waters in our own way. But, I would suggest that the creators of the "Baracka Flacka Flames" video take to heart Dave Chappelle's explanation for why he left his once beloved television show, "that sometimes they are laughing at you, and not with you."

The entire article from The New York Times can be found here.


Constructive Feedback said...

My friends at "We Are Respectable":

I couldn't help but notice the lack of INDICTMENT in your post against W.F.F.

Is there any particular reason for this?

I suspect that since W.F.F. is not an ideological or political target or threat to your sentiments his ignorance that has been projected into civic discourse is not seen in the same light as if a Tea Party backed group of Blacks did the same thing.


OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin said...

INDICTMENT? Oh my, is there a trial going on? Has a crime been committed?

Tea Party backed group of Blacks

Who gives a damn about the same 4 Black people who keep showing up in those tea party videos. Your Tea Party backed group of Blacks has no agency. Which is the only way the teabagger bigots can conceptualize "Blacks" at all: tokenized, and under their control.

Oh but wait, you'll tell us, the 4 blacks in the tea party are the only 4 Black people on planet earth capable of thinking for themselves. Right.

Too bad for white bigots. We in the real world don't operate that way. That must be very disorienting for them.

RiPPa said...

I gotta give Wacka Flocka more respect than I've ever given him. But then again, could it be that he sees that the jokes really on him?

"Oh'le'dooo'wit.. I influence!" - FLOCKA

Don't laugh Chauncey, I only know the lyric as I hear it on the radio station my 16yr old listens to while we're in the car. lol

Illmath said...

Contemporary Plantation Negros will find themselves bothered by this video largely because they harbor a deep seeded impulse to impress white people.

Decades of "Black History Month" ingrained within them notions of Negro success characterized by the celebration of black precedent: "The first black college graduate". "The first black baseball player". "The first black mayor". "The first black patent holder". "The first black person to publish a book". "The first black millionaire." "The first black Miss America". "The first black scientist". "The first black person employed by IBM." "The first black movie director". "The first black person to make use of the peanut".

Though shrouded by the Plantation in the accoutrements of prestige and accomplishment these ... memes ... proved to be a double edged sword. On the surface they celebrated black achievement. Beneath the surface they chiseled in stone the suggestion that Black people never did shit before this "first".

The first black "medical doctor" was NOT James McCune Smith, in 1837. Brother Smith was beaten to that distinction by a brother who existed at least 6 or 7,000 years prior. But that's another story. Buying into this particular chain of memes serves to book-end and frame the Negro worldview and self-perception.

Today's Plantation Negro is anesthetized by the warm fuzzy of having "The First Black President" in the White House. They perceive value in things that are ultimately valueless. "The First Black President" is capitalizing on Plantation Negro solidarity while providing a diversion for those less invested in America to rob this nation blind, entangle us in unwinnable wars and to make Americans slaves to a creeping Technocratic bureaucracy and totalitarian police state.

The choreographed irreverence of this particular video is memetic genius. Just because the President is black does not make the Presidency nor the Plantation sacrosanct.

Director Martin Usher and comedian James Davis have not produced coonery but probably the most important black commentary about the Presidency since Frederick Douglas waxed poetic about Abraham Lincoln.