Aug 27, 2012 @ 9:59 am | By TheFeministGriote | 19 Comments
The other day my homie texted me and stated that I needed to check out Lupe Fiasco’s new video for his song “Bitch Bad.” I had no real want to watch the video. I heard the song awhile back, read an article about the song, and for the most part wasn’t impressed with what he was espousing. I had my opinions on the song, but I didn’t feel compelled to tweet or blog about it.
But fast forward to now Lupe is getting epic co-signs from a myriad of Black women and Black women publications that I generally respect, and I think the Black feminist voice is lacking (as usual) in the conversation.
Therefore here is my take on the song/video…
The lady trope: Lupe, who is supposed to be that dude that rises above the mediocrity and ratchetness of mainstream hip-hop, doesn’t really present anything different with this song and video “Bitch Bad.”
“Bitch bad/woman good/lady better”
Historically, lady is a word that has always been used to describe upper crust white women. Even the word woman, that we all can basically agree is a social construct rooted in societal expectations, wasn’t applied to Black women in the beginning. Black women who were bought to America in chains, whose bodies and the products of their bodies belonged to everyone except themselves, have always had to fight to affirm their personhood and woman-ness. Hence why Sojourner Truth had to ask the epic question, “Ain’t I a woman?” It’s 2012, I don’t want anything to do with being a “lady,” being a woman is hard enough thank you very much! Lady means there are rules. Rules created by patriarchy. Rules that govern my body, how I dress, and how I engage sexually (this sexual engagement is always exclusively considered heterosexual). Lupe in my opinion comes dangerously close to telling me how to “act like lady think like a man.”
The song is respectability politics aka benevolent patriarchy on crack: At the end of the song and video Lupe starts to chastise women for wearing clothes that will not garner them respect from men.
Momma never dressed like that/come out the house like that/ ass/titties/ breasts like that/all out to impress like that
So here we go… this why I can’t stand the “conscious brotha” types. In their eyes you are only a “queen” worthy of king (again assuming all women are straight) if you dress the part. Therefore this woman is automatically “lost” and should be stereotyped because she is dressing risque. The sentiment I am getting is that, “if you want my respect Black woman you have to earn it by dressing modestly the way my momma did.” Negro please! If being a human being is not enough for me to be respected, then I don’t need your petty ass flimsy respect. It seems that for men, it is always the responsibility of the woman to stay in the good graces of males in society. What is the man’s responsibility in all of this? And news flash, not every woman dresses for male attention. I know this is hard to believe, but it’s true. DEAL!
Lastly the video and song suck: Lupe is not really dropping any knowledge both lyrically or visually. I am glad that Lupe and the director of the video watched Spike Lee’s joint Bambazooled, but I don’t see what exactly Lupe added to the rap canon both lyrically and visually with this this project? The song is lackluster and in certain aspects of the song I feel like he is talking at the audience rather than to the audience.
Disclaimer: this rhymer Lupe is not using “bitch” as a lesson/But as a psychological weapon/To set in your mind and really mess with your conceptions
The best way that I can describe the song is by using the epic words of Jay-Z from his song “The Blueprint 2”:
Cause you don’t understand him/it don’t mean that he nice/it just means you don’t understand the bullshit that he writes
I am not saying that Lupe’s body of work is trash, but there is nothing epic about the song and the imagery that accompanied. Like I get it, you’re not Waka Flocka, you’re organic alternative in a world full of fast food. But you’re also the guy who thinks Lil B the based god’s music is powerful and meaningful! So now all of a sudden you’re the dude that we women need to take our queue from if we want to reach the pinnacle of ladyhood…I’m good thanks.
Categories: Pop-Culture Fodder