As you probably know, CNN is doing a special documentary series called "Black in America". I watched a little bit last night and plan to watch some more tonight.
I was watching CNN this morning while getting ready for work (pretty typical morning routine...either CNN or MSNBC) and they interviewed a former rap video dancer. I don't remember her name, but they said she was sort of the Rap Video Queen. She believes that the overly sexed vampy image she protrayed in many of the most popular videos hurts women, black women in particular. Nevertheless, she says she made them because she wanted to dance on Broadway, and other than rap videos, there aren't many opportunities for black dancers to make a living.
That seriously pissed me off when I heard that. In a country that seems to be falling all over itself to show how post-racial they are, black women still can't find success in the dance world.
My first response was "oh, that's crazy!" But then I thought about it. I grew up i the dance world, and while I didn't pursue a career, several of my friends have. And I've followed their careers. Some are on Broadway, some are in the competitive ballroom circuit, some are in ballet companies. And one thing that's a constant is that these companies or troupes feature predominently white women. A few Latinas and Asians here or there, and the occasional African-American. But an overabundance of Caucasians.
Oh, there's the occasional black in the dance corps on Broadway, but almost never in the leading roles, unless it's specifically a "black role." And that pissed me off.
Even on shows like "Dancing with the Stars." There are way more black men than black women who make it into the finals of that show. Granted, that's because there are probably more young black men street hip hoppers out there than women, but it often even seems that they choose more black male classically trained dancers than women, too. And I know that there are many, many more trained females out there than it would appear. So what's the deal?
Anyway, that's my rant for today.
So, bringing this back to the original topic. Rap videos and female image...what do you think? Do you think that rap videos are harmful to the way that young women view themselves, not to mention the way that young men treat them? Do you think there's a lingering racism in the way things are casted?