Why Meek vs. Drake was bigger than HIPHOP
White vs. black
Light vs. dark
Black vs. brown
Up vs. down and it goes on and on…
I must admit, the battle was entertaining… I’ve always felt that this sort of thing is what made Hip-hop unique and completely different thank any other music genre then and now. But then I saw a meme that stated, “Light skin niggaz is 3-0 this year” with a photo of Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Meek and Drake, Russell Wilson and Future.
Some of you reading this may know that in slavery times it was said that the lighter skinned slave got to work closer to the house or even in the house, closer the his “master” while the darker ones were left in the fields to do the brunt of the hard labor and to be a “stud” because it was the believed that the darker slave produced a stronger “product.”
This is a mentality that has transcended time and space even to this day. First it was about who got the best of who via skill, delivery, timing etc. It has now morphed into a color issue, which is disappointing. Not because I’m “dark skin” because I’ve always loved the skin I’m in. I was a product of the movement that birthed “Say it loud… I’m black and I’m proud!” Our natural hair was celebrated, the way we talked and walked, etc.
Moving on to current times skin color has seemed to replace all of that, at least on Instagram! The memes about the “beef’ were relentless and appeared to be color biased. Hip-Hop had a period of time when all you saw were light-skinned woman playing the lead roles and getting most of the camera time. Even Latino woman were being seen more than “brown skin” sisters.
It got so bad that there had to be a concerted effort to rectify the blaringly obvious biasness in rap videos. Still, if you check rap videos out, the lighter shade of brown are prevalent to the point that whatever progress was made has been all but eliminated. Niggaz praise “foreign” woman just as much as they do foreign cars and we ain’t talkin African woman…
Never been the biggest Tyler Perry fan, although I do admire his “rags to riches” story and struggle. Starting to write his plays in the early 90’s then spending 12k of his own money, effectively his life savings, only to have it flop, but continuing regardless. The rest is history, as we all know how successful he’ s become. Over 500 million in box-office sells and that’s after his plays began to rake in million before he even shot his first film.
Yet almost immediately I began to notice a disturbing pattern in most, if not, all of his flicks. The dark skin characters were usually the more “ghetto” sounding, violent, overly sexual and any other stereotype you can think of. While the light-skin characters, were typically the “hero”, the pursued female, or victim. Not my cup of tea at all.
We as “black” people appear in all colors of the rainbow. We are the only race where you will find people as light as a “white” person all the way up to someone as dark as Akon and his bros, and their DNA will read to be that of an African-American. Mr. Perry’s movies, although usually positive, on the surface, are extremely negative in a very subtle way.
More troubling is the fact that Perry’s movies not only attract mature adults who can decipher these mixed messages; they also attract young impressionable minds (like my children) who may not be able to tell the difference. In his defense, he is not the only one who perpetuates these sorts of hyperboles.
Almost everyday in overt and subtle ways we are being shown that “light” is right and darker shades of people are the “enemy.” From T.V. commercials to ads in magazines etc. the message is clear. Often I wonder if the POTUS was a darker black man, lets say Wesley Snipes’s hue, same qualifications, same charisma, and same promise for “change”… Would he have been elected?
P.S. It’s safe to say Michael Jackson had some color issues growing up. None of us brought the vitilago excuse (I know I didn’t!) yet we still loved him and his music. Ironically “we” (black folk) were the most critical of his drastic change. Ironic because a large portion of us do more to appear European or even just “other” than he ever did…