Shake Your Booty With Love by teZa Lord
I love ethnic, latino, and black music of all types, including their accompanying dances of various moves and rhythms. Perhaps this is because of having lived in the Caribbean for a decade in the 70s. Calypso and reggae, salsa, and cadans are in my blood. Even before I was an ex-pat, instead of folk, pop, or the rock my peers were relating to, I’ve always grooved with blues and jazz, admiring the pioneering works of Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughn, Bob Marley, Alvin Ailey, and the poet-songstress Maya Angelou, to name a few iconic black artists.
Today, our world surely is best described as a blended family of humankind, whereas in previous generations, the color divide sadly kept separate all different skin shades of people. Today, the family of homo sapiens continues becoming more blended. When we truly accept the world as our own blended family, prejudice changes automatically to acceptance. Read my nonfiction book, Zen Love, to see what I mean. There is no racism in a loving, accept-all blended family. Made up of different opinions and expressions, creeds and customs, homo sapiens’ once-separated races are blending within our global, interdependent family. This is what our world is becoming, more and more, day by day.
Our Blended Family Is Here and Now
So happily, I finally had the opportunity to ask three of my mature Black woman friends an important question about the recent musical uproar over the ’21 Grammy awards. We four #bladies (me being the only White woman) had gathered together in person for a special project. I’d waited for an in-person moment to put forth this question I’d been aching to ask them, since only a trusted Black woman friend’s reply could suffice for me. Not the kind of question, in other words, to post randomly on social media. Race and sexuality are both sensitive subjects, not easy for phone conversations, really, without the support of facial expressions and voice intonation aiding interpretation and understanding. I wanted to get this right. So I waited until all four of us were together in the flesh in a quiet, safe (the Covid-pandemic still exists!) place to have a deep, heartfelt woman-to-woman forum.
Because, in these hyper-sensitive #BLM times, especially during the current state of highly fraught disturbances during the trial (and its aftermath) of the now-former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, compounded with the unbelievable additional cop murders of Dante Wright and Adam Toledo during the final stages of the Minneapolis proceedings, I wanted to get this emotionally charged discussion right. I wanted to discuss the blended family with my close Black woman friends.
Three Black Women Discuss Racism and Decency
I’d waited to meet up with these three dignified Black women who speak with courage, knowledge, humility, and pride, even in the face of their long-held suffering. All three women have been living in the South, and sadly, have had to tolerate being treated indignantly for far too long. Along with me though, they agree racial discrimination is finally coming to a precipitous head. Outraged public outcry points to a relieved turn in our blended family’s long history of racial injustice. This new era of racial equality we’re in may take a while to fully be accepted, but our global human society is definitely IN it.
Now, weeks later, controversy still rages about what some critics say is a “relief” pandemic song while others call it “plain raunchy” as opinions burn about the Grammy’s shocking, winning rap song. Like wildfire on the air waves and social media, I’d heard about the uproar, so I felt compelled to investigate. That’s how I—detective that I am of all things I deem meaningful—had to check out what was up.
The Grammy Awards skipped giving out awards for 2020 due to the restrictions of the pandemic. In ’19, the incredibly talented Billie Eilish won practically every award there was, rightfully so, for the baggy-clothed teenager who stunned the scantily-clad-female pop world with such unique creativity coming out of her bedroom sound studio, accompanied only by her older brother’s synthesizer. With the restrictions and cancellation of the full year behind us, the Grammy’s gave the Best New Artist award (which was Billie’s in ’19) to one of the two twerking women who performed the stunningly erotic—no, I’m calling it out-and-out what it is, pornographic—song with the title of “WAP” whose acronym shall remain up to the interested reader to Google. That is, if you have the stomach, or salient curiosity that leads some of us to secretly watch peep shows, or look where we’ve been told not to by better-mannered friends and concerned adults. Such was the discussion awaiting my three friends, as eager to share with me as I was to hear their honest remarks about such a delicate subject.
The Grammy’s rap award, coupled with acclaim from Rolling Stone magazine, along with having listened to discussions between Black men and women on popular podcasts, led me to know more than my three friends did about what they’d “only heard” about this black controversy through the local grapevine. Pundits I’d heard publicly lauding that the lewdness in this rap song was “perfectly acceptable,” proclaiming it was “a Black woman’s right to express her sexuality,” seemed just plain wrong to my feeble whiteness. My three friends were appropriately offended, by not only the song’s title (none listen to rap and gasped when I had to decipher WAP for them), but also by its lascivious in-your-face dancing I described to them, not to mention the obscene lyrics the world was forced to hear on prime-time TV. They immediately objected to the misguided, racially infused “puffed-up” (the ladies’ words) allowances for what is, and always will be, offensive material, they said, “for a family event such as the Grammy Awards, the Oscars, yearly Super Bowls, and all major sports and entertainment events televised in America.”
Black Women Call IT Like It Is for Our Blended Family’s Benefit: Trash Is Trash
My three Black woman friends spat out, “Hogwash! That’s just porn!” “What goes on behind the bedroom door needs to STAY behind that door!” and other expletive-laden remarks of veto and repugnance at the offensive song, its black performers, and opinionated black champions.
The women continued their outrage. All three had heard of the controversy surrounding the “meaning” of the song’s title, and the “indecent performance” televised to the world during the recent awards show. “For my children and grandchildren to see that: DISGUSTING!” each woman proclaimed in turn. “How is this going to help our people to raise up ourselves, our Black folks’ equal rights’ needs?” they shouted, using anger and outrage to express their combined horror of blacks offending against Blacks. “We need to better ourselves, not drag ourselves down like this!” all three agreed.
“It’s sickening,” they tsk-tsked when I said I needed to be clear about how they stood. “Because,” I added, “I’ve been accused of being a racist by a fellow White woman for feeling the exact same way you three Black women are stating here.”
“That’s because you’re reacting as a decent human should! Being black ain’t about that. That’s just not right! This racist thing has gotten out of hand,” the eldest woman whom the others called Ma, said. All three sat sadly shaking their stunned, disgusted heads. “It’s plain wrong to be so sexual. It’s not racism,” said the younger of the three friends. “I’m sick thinking about our children seeing and hearing such trash.”
Our Blended Family Needs ALL Our Help
“I heard a podcast by a noted Black woman intellectual, a famous New York City cultural pundit,” I said, “proclaiming she’s shocked so many whites still are upset by songs like WAP. She said ‘It’s time for us Black women to be allowed to express our sexuality in any way we want.’”
“That doesn’t add up,” one of my friends boisterously stated. “That’s nonsense,” another added. “Who wants to see that crap?” all raged, clearly agitated now. “It’s not racism to call crap, crap! It’s plain bad taste!” Ma shouted.
I was relieved to hear my Black woman friends’ opinions matching mine. Being called racist hurts, even when I know I’m not. I’m just someone who publicly promotes decency, wanting to help myself and others make higher, uplifting choices for all humankind. I certainly know I’m subject to being the object of trolls and mean-spirited anyones whose perception differ from my honest opinion. Such is the life of a public artist and writer.
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