Saturday, February 2, 2008

Calling all Stereotypes



Look! A really creative casting for a music video:

Music Video Casting for Hip-Hop Megastar JAY-Z!!!!

Hip-Hop's Biggest Star is now casting for multiple roles for his new video due out in Spring 2008!
Expiration Date 3/1/2008

Location: NYC Area

Send Photos and Resume' to:

PALADINO CASTING
159 W. 25TH STREET
5TH FLOOR
NEW YORK NY 10001

SEEKING:

[WOMEN] Seeking 3 ethnically ambiguous females (African-American/Hispanic, African-American/Asian,Hispanic/Asian, Indian/African-American, etc.) who appear to be 18-26 years old. Talent should be extremely beautiful, exotic model-types.
Rate: $1,000

All they forgot to add was African American women need not apply.

The casting call continues on to request other extras, but never are black people specifically requested.

And fine, I mean people can't help that they're biracial anymore than I can help that I never reached 5'7". But forreal, this shit is tired. Like surprise, surprise, ethnically ambiguous women are wanted for a music video. How very original!

The sad thing is, while black folks in the hip hop world are still caught up tired cliches, the fashion world is finally realizing how played is the stereotype of the crackhead chic skeletor model. Last year saw some major shakeups in international fashion shows, with countries such as Madrid and Milan banning skinny models from their fashion shows. Even in the states some fashion labels are beginning to follow suit, like Lycra featuring normal sized women sporting swimwear at their 2007 Miami fashion week show.



Hell, the whole reason I was spurned to write this post was the stark contrast between what this Newsweek article reports on the growing popularity of street fashion blogs and everyday people becoming models, and what this tired casting requests for what will likely be another unimaginative music video. 

I always was torn in my disgust over the images of black women in music videos: was I mad because women were being exploited as sexual objects meant to bolster a man's status, or madder because these women became lighter and more vaguely ethnic as the artist's career began to take off? You can look at any hip-hop artist and see the cliched whitening of their music videos: the first usually takes place in their old neighborhood, featuring people they know, dancing in a crowd shot on the street in front of some hood ass cars. Close ups on the booty shaking and bad weaves. The next video will likely take place in a club, with nicer cars, someone throwing money, or shaking a bottle of expensive liquor, probably all while brandishing their advance check in the form of a blinged-out chain. The women in this video will be considerably both more beautiful and lighter in this video, and typically women that this rapper would have never even had the chance to wink at if it wasn't for his newfound "career". Cut to the third or forth video (which may be on the second album at this point), and you're destined to see an "exotic" locale video featuring the hallowed ethnically ambiguous women gyrating seductively for the camera. And from there on in expect that to be the only women in the videos. Sorry girls who look just like the rapper's mom, sister, cousin, and first three girlfriends - you're just not beautiful enough anymore.

So let me be the first to say it: I'm over black men in hip hop being obsessed with "exotic" women. It's tired, unimaginative, and really could construe to self-hate when you consider that most of these men are about as exotic as Hawaiian Punch. Put some brown-skinned African American women in your video for once.

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