Tuesday, January 22, 2019

/SPCL/ Cardi B + Girls Twerking In A Music Video Is Not Empowerment

It's not a slow week for news, France is still burning, Chris Hansen defrauded his funders and China's eco-political fascade is starting to crack. Speaking of cracks, I want to preemptively outline that I support the de-sexualisation of twerking because, like with any other type of harmless expressive dancing, it doesn't at all deserve any sort of negative stigma tacked onto it. (Even if it were full-on sexual I wouldn't see a reason to attach any negative connotation to it). I also think twerking is not a very attractive type of dance.  I'd say about 8 out of every 10 instances of twerking I witness will look pretty corny to me. It's impressive for sure but the only way I can describe twerking's appeal is by likening it to me playing Six9ine and making my dick rotate in all manner of ways. That could be sexy to you (tweet at me and let me know) but I doubt it would appeal to most people. I'd say, in most part, this is because the  majority of us have been convinced by the man that twerking is somehow more than a sort-of-sport, which it isn't. It's also like how I feel about skateboarding at the Olympics.

Before 2010,  twerking was a primitive and silly dance demeaned women of color did in music videos. Not that I think this, this is just how it was viewed by mainstream 'Murican conservative culture. Hell, I'd say it still is in a lot of ways. It was carried on from similar dances within African and Arab societies so the idea of white womens doing it was hard to imagine. That is until they did, then it was really groundbreaking. Twerking culture suddenly became a legitimate activity that isn't relegated to back corners of the internet that is mostly concerned with videos of people getting knocked tf out and interviews with Dame Dash. It was now an expressive art-form, a work out, a martial art (Check the Caribbeans) and a full body fitness system like Tae Bo. It's funny that within a decade-long span, one type of dance can be seen with those two perceptions at large with the former being widespread only as soon as wypipo found a way to sell it.

The way City Girls and Cardi try to present the twerking in their video is as a sort of liberation for women. I say Cty Girls and Cardi but I really mean the visualists and publicists their labels employ. That's not to say Cardi and the City Girls don't believe in the subtext at work but that UMG wouldn't have cared if they did before this point. Let us not forget Universal Music Group has been profiting off R Kelly's music since 2012, when everyone was fully aware that he was throwing his dick at and enslaving young black womens for 10+ years. Like a tweet I read said: the elite Caucs know that the racist and misogynist conservative crowd aren't worth that much of a shit money-wise and it's in their financial interest to jump on the SJW bandwagon while it's still moving and do questionable things like make confused and hypocritical Gillette ads. This is a move akin to your girl suddenly putting on an LGBT shirt and kicking your ass to the curb because of a trans-phobic joke you made once when the real reason is because you are broke.

There's a part towards the end of the Twerk video where one of the dancers is performing a booty-pop technique that involves her doing a split on the floor. Her peers yell and hype her up like it were a Krump show. Krumping, another black-centric phenomenon that is and should be left to underground obscurity was once also given legitimacy (exploited) by the caucs in the 000s. Looking beyond the fact Krumping is 30% skill and 70% grown men yelling while someone makes sexually suggestive and threatening motions, they employed many a creative to incorporate it into the music-video industry. That is until it became irrelevant to know how to dance in rap culture. As I'm sure it will be irrelevant to know how to twerk in strip clubs in a decade or so. I'm sure by that time, if music videos are still around, full-on penetration masked as sex positivity will be the selling point. And If I'm still alive I'll be there to ask if the subjects on display will own the fruits to their labour and if they've been liberated.