Thursday, July 16, 2009

Does It Work Both Ways ?

Gary Owen is on BET as more than Katt Williams.

Before this past election - Bill Clinton was viewed by many as the Blackest white guy in America.
Cool enough to play the sax on Arsenio, game enough to handle a thick legged wife and at least one intern, street enough to smoke weed - and enough swagger to get away with it all.
But can white people also be "Too Black"?

Is Kim Kardasian thought of as acting Black for dating Reggie Bush and (like Ice T's girl Coco) possessing the body type desired by most Black men?

Or does it require being more 'hood like Kim from The Real Hoodrats of Atlanta?

Or can it be as simple as playing opposite a number of Black leads as has Julia Stiles?

Are any of these women considered "Black"?

Randy Moss's boy JayWill can almost get away with it.
A weed smokin' basketball player with a street attitude who speaks in Ebonics is usually assumed to be Black - but does this combination make number 55 "Black"?

The soulful voice and style of delivery of Joss Stone are not enough to pass the Black Test.

But what if one adds a relationship with Rick James?

Does Tina Marie get her Ghetto Pass?

Hall and Oats is one of those groups that anyone Black can name at least one or two of their songs.

During the height of their popularity - most radio stations geared toward Black listeners included many of their songs on their play lists.

But that was a different time.

Groups like The Doobie Brothers (With Michael McDonald), Steely Dan, Wild Cherry, Toto and others were commonplace on the Soul Charts.

These groups weren't trying to act Black - they were just playing the style of music that moved them most.

Later in the Eighties - British Soul Boys (Culture Club, Wham, Paul Young, etc.) incorporated the Motown influence into their acts to gain position on the U.K. and American charts.

I really don't need to mention these (i.e. Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love, or Art Of Noise - Moments Of Love) New Wave act's current popularity on the Slow Jams nights or Old School Lunch formats.

And I really don't need to mention David Bowie.

But none were considered as "Black".

Even Robin Thicke (Black wife and all) can't be called "Black".

So how does it work for Paul Wall?

Or Bubba Sparxx?

The Beastie Boys had one (or two) of the most seminal rap albums ever.

The Beasties were part of the first wave of commercial rappers and the Hip-Hop culture that it spawned.

The Beaties kicked it with Graffiti artists Zepher and Dondi White, chilled with the Rock Steady Crew, were part of the Motown-esque Def Jam label (Swatch Fresh Fest and all), and still manage to get old school dance floors boppin' whenever Paul Revere hits the ones and twos.

But the Beasties still managed to be white.

Is Eminem Black?

What about Matsyahu?

Jamiroquai is funky - but not Black (Although his Portuguese father might be able to trace some roots back to Moorish culture.).

Do white people have to add "Ghetto" to a skill set to be considered Black?

Can a white person be considered too Black because they easily fit within certain parameters of a learned Black culture?

Or do the same rules even apply?


FreeMan said...

All they need to do is be theirselves as they can never be Black. The coolest white guys usually are the white guys who are secure in being white but still relate to black culture.

Eminem is the closest to being a crossover artist as you respect his skills that you allow him to be with black rappers. Paul Wall most will consider to be growing up with Blacks and thus is a good shit slick talker like the streets he came from. Bubba is a fluke and a fad.

Truth be told most of the time in the past you didn't even know a white boy was in the group. Then when you saw him most blacks just said damn that cat got some soul in him. Skills make black people respect whites and take them above the negativity between the races. Michael Phelps is mentioned in a lot of rap music since he won the gold medals and in the past so was Bruce Jenner.

The learned Black culture is a pimps culture which is gaudy, excessive and a fast life. Black culture is just examined so even when we live a fast life it's seen as cool and thus when the whites try to act cool they put dubs on their cars just like us. They want to drive 64 Impalas just like us. They want Snoop to smoke weed with them. So they are seeking validation from the lowest gaudiest parts of our folk but they aren't Black or a honorary one.

Max Reddick said...

It just goes to show that culture is primarily a function of proximity and not race. I grew up in a mostly black neighborhood, but the white kids who lived across the street were considered to be much blacker (and cooler) than I.

brohammas said...

I remember coming home frm Atlanta and because of OutKast in my Cd player and a tendency for a little extra something in my handshake, I would get the occassional "what, you think your black now?" I got called "cracker" every day for two years, dude, I know what I am.
No matter how "down" PAul Wall or Slick Willy are, no one will be surprised at their skin when they show up for the job interview or when some girl introduces them to the family... still white. Now of course any girl bringing either of those two home to meet the folks needs to be slapped silly.
It has always bothered me that Clinton's infidelity was celebrated as part of his "blackness". Was JFK black too? Does being a good husband make one less black?

I'm with FreeMan, cultural awareness or appreciation is one thing, but I say any white person who claims to be black, REALLY doesnt get it.

uglyblackjohn said...

So why are people like Tiger Woods, Bryant Gumbel, Wayne Brady and others considered as being "Too White"?

Can a race dismiss members (for not complying with the social norms) but refuse membership to others who exhibit behavior that is closer to those norms?

FreeMan said...

@UBJ - the cats are called white because they talk with a heavy Nasal Tone. Some of these guys take speaking proper to a whole nother level. I mean you can still have your own voice and speak correctly. It's just some of these Too White cats change the tone of their voice. How many brothers you know speak like Bob Costas? I'm not saying there aren't any but I tell you there aren't many!

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck don't be surprised when people call you a duck!

uglyblackjohn said...

@ FreeMan - Well... I only ask this because whenever I enter into a new sector of social service - I have to waste time proving my "ghetto credibility".

If some people already know me, I'm fine.
If no one knows me, they assume that I always had it easy and think that I'm some bougie Negro seeking to connect to some stereotypical image of Black society.

Sometimes time and opportunities are missed because of their assumptions.