jeudi, mai 26, 2005

Down But Not Out

Carolyn Thomas commonly referred to as "the woman without a face" reads a statement to Terrence Dewaine Kelly who shot her fucking face off and shot her mother dead

...take ya girl fuck her face
~Cam'ron Giles

I'm just tryna live honestly

~Marsha Ambrosius

As an unapologetic black feminist it's embarassing when scores of men lambast your taste in song as misogynist. I mean I'm the one who's supposed to pronounce such edicts and I do regularly refusing to dance to Ying Yang twins drivel, Nelly nonsense, Nas & Co. mistep "Oochie Wally," Bubba Sparxx ugliness (You won't see tomorrow if I won't cut tonight") or that up and coming Baton Rouge oppressor Lil' Webbie (Girl don't hold it from me/'Cause right now I'll be done strong arm ya) and some other shit I can't remember right now but I loved "Down & Out" when I first heard it in January (I think), rather late I know, courtesy of a mix CD I copped for a long walk home. I am not a Cam'ron fan although I have never disliked his music. "Horse & Carriage" always gets me going, "Oh Boy" that mammoth Just Blaze summer anthem too. And fuck it "Killa Cam" and "Get Em Girls" were some of the most compelling songs I had heard (on the low) in a while but I didn't cop the album. Like I said I've never been a fan so it was odd that I would select this mix CD from the wide assortment ole dude over by the Jay Street A station was selling in his narrow storefront. I think I chose the particular mix for that "Drop It Like It's Hot" (remix) where Jay puts Kel's on blast, the Styles P burner "I'm Black" and Amerie's crazier than "Crazy in Love" "1 Thing." I'm not gonna break down why I like it but I want to communicate that it was an instanteous affinity. An appreciation of Kanye's cluttered construction, Syleena soulful vocal and Cam'ron minimalist flow. I didn't hear this in a club, I wasn't brainwashed by Hot 97 rotation (never a fan of that institution either and after the Tsunami Song it was an immediate wrap), or a shiny mesmerizing video. Since its NY, a headphoned strap hanger city, I could listen in isolation without having to explain the utter contradiction yet I was not so prepared by being outfeministed by male listeners. Not cool.

I saw the video for "Down & Out" today on Rap City. It's bootleg. I don't get where the chicks in the beauty shop fit in the narrative (is it too much to expect a music video to have a narrative?) and Kanye, as always looks foolish ("coochie the juiciest" officially replaces the Reeses Pieces line from Brandy's "Talk About Our Love" as the worst Kanye line yet), but I didn't think it was kinda fresh how much they had to bleep so fucking much from Cam'ron's verse and how his irreveverent overeneunciated mouthing of the explicit content rendered the bleeps absolutely pointless. Why whisper? I'm not going to run down my feminist allegiances 'cause its not even about feminism**; hate the word simpletons this is basic human rights. We all fall victim and we all victimize.

Pull out your nine, while I cock on mine. ~Kimberly Jones*

But when I flipped the channel to Oprah I wasn't ready for Carolyn, who they call the woman without a face, who we champion as the woman who survived. Like many women she got caught up in bad situation with a very bad man (on the subject what's up with the R. Kelly trial I propose we dangle a few 12 year olds in his immediate sight then roll on up and place him under citizen's arrest): an emotional abuser, mindfucking manipulator, and brutal batterer who ruled her world by exploiting her low self esteem and threatening her and her family with physical violence. Carolyn cried and so did I. No one should have to go through what she went through. This is a violent world I know but much more violent for women who sometimes succumb and but most often survive gendered violence every day. Ask Courtney, my first and second year roommate who has been attacked twice in broad daylight in the NY streets. One time in the village on her way to lunch. A negro grabbed her tried to drag her into a corner and do damage. Thank God she took self defense and was armed with the skills to protect herself cause the NUMEROUS passer bys didn't give a what.

There are these freedom lovers in Bolivia who are using song for uplift (I am unaware of their gender politics but they are probably disoncerting).
Even Johnny Cochran, God Bless him, couldn't defend the whisper song ~Chris Rock, 106 & Park suckfest, 5/26/05

*Ghostwritten or not my favorite Kim line ever. If Biggie did write this how ironic that he would write her as autonomous clap backing subject as he beat and dragged her through recording studios (watch Lil' Kim's VH1 Driven for unselfconscious and unperturbed testimony to this fact by various rap stars or just read this.)

**but it is. those familiar with black feminist ideology know what's up. Everyone else get some get right.