On White She-Devils
Jan 3 2011, 5:45 PM ET 121
I like the beats on Kanye West's new album. I love the inversion of that famous line about Malcolm X--"That's too much power for one man to have." I think he's an improved MC. But I'm a little amazed that no one's disturbed by "Champagne wishes/30 white bitches" as a hook. I'm more amazed at his empty employment of white women as objects. I'm less amazed, but pretty depressed, that colorism is back--"Rolling with some light-skin chicks and some Kelly Rowlands," is little more than "you're pretty for a dark-skin girl" in this postracial era.
All told, the album strikes me as incredibly, almost casually, racist. On some level, I wonder what would have become of John Mayer, had he cut a video with dead black women strewn about and invoked black women throughout his lyrics in the manner Kanye does. But moralism misses the point here. The problem isn't simply racism or sexism, but boring racism, boring sexism that hearkens back to the black power macho of Amiri Baraka and Eldridge Cleaver at their worst. It's the work of a failed provocateur boorishly brandishing his ancient affects. The obvious defense is that this is an exploration of West's psyche, of his fantasy. But actually it isn't. This is an aggressively external album obsessed with dismissing haters, slut-shaming women (black and white), and ultimately, not with Kanye or his fantasy, but with what you will surely say about his fantasy.
Read the full posts HERE, and as always, check out the comments at his blog.