Is This Black Girl Magic? – Noah McQueen Change Agent 2015-2019 Senior, Morehouse College

By January 17, 2019 Voices of Change 5 Comments

This morning, I received a call from a good friend and mentor. This isn’t unusual—but the timing and direction of the conversation was extremely unexpected. He asked if I’ve seen the new Cardi B. and City Girls, “Twerk” video https://youtu.be/QryoOF5jEbcto which I responded no. He then likened in to another famously provocative video, “Tip Drill”,https://youtu.be/Nr4gpOc55nQmade by the Nelly in the early 2000’s which caused major controversy even till this day. So, at 8am this morning, I stopped to check out what my friend called ‘the biggest threat to the psyche of our youth’.  I find this video particularly unique due to all the women cast and the objectification of human bodies. Artist like Nelly, Uncle Luke, Snoop Dogg and others all faced huge backlash for degrading materials and content against women. This video completely flips the script while posing several intriguing questions concerning community, morality, and the idea of sex. Below, are some thought provoking questions I asked myself and peers:

Q.T.N.A.

  • Are there any problematic occurrences in the video?
  • Is there a psychological or moral impact on the black community stemming from a video of this nature?
  • What is appropriate to critique?
  • Would you want your younger sibling imitating or looking up to these individuals?
  • Is this a product of the feminist movement and/or women’s liberation movement?
  • How does a video like this relate to body censorship/ body-shaming/slut shaming?
  • How should a video like this influence men both young and old?
  • As a man, do I cheer, discourage, or remain silent?
  • Does my presence (as a black man in this society) restrict me from taking a stance on this issue?
  • How does a video like this impact the #BlackGirlMagic or #MeToo movement, if at all?
  • What is Black Girl Magic? What are some examples of it? Cardi B?
  • What is the requirement or responsibility of a role model? Are there any?

5 Comments

  • Jordan Barry says:

    There are many problematic occurrences in this video. For instance, when artist Nelly swiped the card on the young lady this was very degrading. Also it showed her as something that is able to be bought rather than a human being. This is a form of dehumanization which unknowingly sinks into the minds of our youth. Our youth aren’t able to separate entertainment in music videos and reality, so this then becomes the reality. This leads to them growing up repeating these behaviors, therefore continuing the cycle of black women being oppressed.

  • Zarinah says:

    This video reminds me of the reclaiming of the n-word (whether folks believe the word can be reclaimed or not is another discussion). Black people use the n-word, and many, if not most, members our our community would be enraged if a person who was not Black or not of color used the word. Because it’s ours, we mean it in an endearing way most of the time, and would not use it as an insult.

    This is why I disagree with attempt to liken this video to Nelly or any other video where men are objectifying and degrading women. There is no degradation in Twerk. These are women who are twerking, DANCING, because they want to and because they’re getting PAID to. Not for the pleasure of men and not as a sideshow. And what’s even more powerful is the strong rejection of the notion that twerking and stripping, things that Black women are shamed for more than any other group of women, will never get one anywhere. Cardi B is a rejection of that notion, and these women getting PAID to do what Black women wre continuously shamed and simultaneously (often privately) praised for. Let us live please.

    And nah, I really don’t think men need to comment on it. The video really isn’t targeted toward you, for once lol. But alas, if you must and must talk about how you don’t want your daughter looking up to these women for dancing in a way that has been stereotyped as negative, then so be it. But there are far worse things you can be worried about your daughter doing.

  • Zarinah Mustafa says:

    This video reminds me of the reclaiming of the n-word (whether folks believe the word can be reclaimed or not is another discussion). Black people use the n-word, and many, if not most, members our our community would be enraged if a person who was not Black or not of color used the word. Because it’s ours, we mean it in an endearing way most of the time, and would not use it as an insult.

    This is why I disagree with attempt to liken this video to Nelly or any other video where men are objectifying and degrading women. There is no degradation in Twerk. These are women who are twerking, DANCING, because they want to and because they’re getting PAID to. Not for the pleasure of men and not as a sideshow. And what’s even more powerful is the strong rejection of the notion that twerking and stripping, things that Black women are shamed for more than any other group of women, will never get one anywhere. Cardi B is a rejection of that notion, and these women getting PAID to do what Black women wre continuously shamed and simultaneously (often privately) praised for. Let us live please.

    And nah, I really don’t think men need to comment on it. The video really isn’t targeted toward you, for once lol. But alas, if you must and must talk about how you don’t want your daughter looking up to these women for dancing in a way that has been stereotyped as negative, then so be it. But there are far worse things you can be worried about your daughter doing.

  • Ikeba Allen says:

    You ask is the Cardi B and City Girl “Twerk” video Black Girl Magic, and first I’ll say Black Girl Magic celebrates all things amazing, inspiring, and dope about black women. You cannot shrink or minimize it’s depths to represent one particular woman. The women in the video were categorized as the best twerkers workdwide so that alone could be means of celebration, the women also painted their bodies depicting the art that womens bodies are, and lastly they are owning their sexuality. All of these things could represent magic to many women. Now there are many people who see the video as problematic or controversial and that is okay. To have an opinion is okay, but to question the inspiration or dopeness depicted in the video is not. This video is different from the Nelly “Tip Drill” video because these women are empowering themselves through dancing and art, whereas men in the tip drill video are dehumanizing women and using them as mockery.

  • Brianamarie Trice says:

    I think I find your curiosity more problematic than the video. Part of the patriarchy and fueling of misogyny is when women act in ways that men find entertaining, sexy, etc. but then at the same time men claim they disapprove. The only way to counteract that energy is to STOP consuming, promoting, and lusting over the devaluation of women. It’s a sociological fact! You can’t have strippers without a strip club or visitors. Stop looking and liking the videos then talk. There is no supply without demand. Men in many powerful organizations feed off of the dehumanization of women by throwing sexually suggestive parties for one. Yes every person is responsible for their own actions but the reasoning behind those actions attributes to a much larger problem. So to answer your question, I think Ikeba most eloquently did so. Black girl magic is in our essence, dancing is only one way. Let’s stop asking if female expression is acceptable or celebratory, and start focusing on why we consume said expression.

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