7 Songs That Don't 'Accidental Racist' Themselves

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

You know what happened yesterday? LL Cool J and Brad Paisley ended racism. Really.

They ended it. It's ka-put. They sliced the head of it clean off of it like Michonne would do a walker. How did they do it? Well, they got together and they created a song called (get this) "Accidental Racist". I mean, the title blatantly tells us that hundreds of years of racial oppression was a bold face lie, because you all along you can be accidental about being a racist. Mind blown. All this time we've been fighting for equality, picketing the streets, arguing over why India.Arie looks lighter than Snuggle Bear on her single cover, and racism, colorism, prejudice, the whole she-bang has been nothing but a whoopsie daisy situation. A big ol' "my bad".

Okay. In honesty, "Accidental Racist" comes from country/hip-hop hell. It's a goldmine of fail, a heaping pile of terrible. Fredrick Douglas and Sojourner Truth are rolling in their graves, as I'm being buried in one by listening to this horrendous song that has rocked the Internets. What started out as probably a harmless "Ebony & Ivory" for the 21st Century, but became a song about how hard it is for a White man in America when he wears his Confederate Flag t-shirt to Starbucks, and why Brother LL just wants to have us all forget about the those 'meaningless' iron slave chains, as long as White people don't judge his gold ones because he's on NCIS: LA dammit. So while I wait for the extended dance remix of this song to feature a jumping House piano solo by Mel Gibson, take a look at eight songs that address the situations of racism and interracial relations on a much much better, more melodic and poignant note, because yes, we CAN have good things.


1. Long Way To Go - Gwen Stefani & Andre 3000
Buried as the last song on Stefani's debut 2004 album, L.A.M.B., "Long Way To Go" deals head on with interracial relationships and paints an honest portrait of the racism that is dealt between them. Paced in quirky, boomerang synths, Stefani adopts Andre's elastic diction and the two get down to business from the start proclaiming that "beauty is beauty whether black or white" and how there shouldn't be a "rule on how to choose your lover". Even though such rhyming  like "Martin Luther (King)" with "computer" leaves a tart taste in my mouth, I'll take that over having 'accidentals' like "du-rag" and "red flag" rhyme.

2. Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking) - Janis Ian
What were you doing at 15? You obviously weren't writing poignant songs about interracial relationships like Janis Ian wrote back in 1965, and you certainly didn't release them as your debut single to kick start off your singing career. But Ian was bold like that. She was a teen back in 1967 when she made her debut with one of music's most controversial songs. On "Society's Child", Ian details a relationship between a a young White girl and her African-American boyfriend, and the negative reactions that transpire among her schoolmates, teachers, and parents. This tune drifts out on a somber note as due to so much pressure and racism, the relationship ends. Ian has discussed her crafting of the song on numerous occasions, and believe me, she gets it.


3. Curious White Boy - Cree Summer
Cree Summer dimes out the lurking sepia cruisers in this rock-licking song that is tacked on the end of her one and only album, the great 1999 set, Street Faire. To say she 'dimes them out' is really an understatement. Cree is dag gum pressed. She's Susie Carmichael snatching at Angelica Pickles' pigtails than Freddie Brooks crunching on granola as she roars on this track, slapping on slather after slather of wit and truth, clinching her fist saying that she's not your "coffee colored remedy for your hangover history", that her virginity is hanging on someone's family tree, and she snarls the chorus about when she's going to meet this white boy's mother because she already met the Daddy, and she wants to know what's what. Well, dammmn Cree...don't hold back now...

4. Dreamworld - Robin Thicke
Not from the 'Curious White Boy Club', Robin Thicke is known for being married to actress, Paula Patton, (and, duh, who just happens to be Black), and though he's praised his wife in various theaters from album covers (she on the cover of his 2003 debut, A Beautiful World) to his saucy videos, he's slips in his devotion through his material, most notably on 2008's "Dreamworld". From the start it begins as a sweet, piano driven ballad about freely drinking wine and reversing the death of Marvin Gaye (creepy), but Thicke slips in these nice verses: "Dream, there would be no black or white/ the world just treat my wife right/Dream, we could go down in Mississippi and no one would look at us twice" --- and well, we all know where this song is going.


5. Free Your Mind - En Vogue
More of a feminist/womanist anthem, true, (as well as the theme song that strikes up when I leave my house) still the sassy foursome (who continue to argue and break-up probably over who drank the last of the limeade and didn't make any more) exert steadfast progressive lines like: "don't be color blind, don't be so shallow" and dish about dating outside their race --- even though they still like their strong Black brothaaaas. Simple and to the point.


6. Ask Your Momma - Teena Marie
Here's my favorite. First of all, "Ask Your Momma" comes off of Teena's 1983 album Robbery, which is basically an album all about her affair with his super freaky-ness Rick James. Yes. There is a concept album out there about hot times with Rick James. Awesome. In sort of a reverse and less choke-holding irk as "Curious White Boy", the Vanilla Child Teena is aware that her Black beau may not have told his Momma about their love, and she's persistent to that fact, because well, she's got this band of gold on her finger. She's gonna marry this dude...and his Momma hasn't been told. Sir.... In usual Teena style, she opens the song with a poignant spoken word about how tolerance can put an end to ignorance as well as hits things home with how the Bible quotes us as equals, but "is it different when it hits this close to your home". You tell 'em, Teena.

7. Black Or White - Michael Jackson
Well, big shock. Who better than to discuss racial relations in song than the man who abolished the idea of "race music", the man who crossed over into so-called "white genres" with massive success, the man who makes it now possible that there are Black and White clones of him who will scratch eyes, drink puppies blood, and steal to have his career? Michael freaking Jackson, that's who. Jackson has always been outspoken about his championing for equality, "Black Or White" is his brashest moment towards that stance as he shoots out in the chorus: "If you're thinking about being my baby it don't matter if you're black or white". Boom. Still he's not done. The music video features King Michael dancing in a snowglobe with Russians, people morphing from one race to Tyra Banks back to other races, oh, and then there is Macaulay Culkin rapping...I mean, LL Cool J, why did you even challenge that?


[Okay. Truly there are more songs that point out and celebrate racially equality, but I really don't have that much time on my hands to make a whopper of a post about it, so if you know I have missed one or think I'm certified crazy, have at in the comments.]

3 comments:

  1. Great job with the selection. I have yet to hear the song but have read about it. Damn it LL, lol.-QH

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Oh, be glad you haven't heard it, yet, LOL! I'm disappointed in LL, him writing: "if you don't judge my gold chains, I'll forget about the iron ones"...that...just was inexcusable. I know the intent seemed genuine, but it just turned into a complete misguided sh*tshow.

      You should really read the lyrics. Awful and hilarious is an understatement!: http://movies.yahoo.com/news/accidental-racist-read-lyrics-dont-hear-them-170527012.html

      Delete
  2. have you watched the Stephen Colbert's take on this? (and bonus Alan Cumming in it!)
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/425563/april-17-2013/-accidental-racist--song

    Kit

    ReplyDelete

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