Recently a video by a white female rapper has been making the rounds on the (ehem, Negro) interwebs. Some are calling former University of Tennessee basketball player turned rapper Babi Mac a dope emcee and “the best white girl” we’ve heard in some time. While it’s clear she is able to ride a beat, hyping Babi Mac as “the best” anything is a bit premature, and furthermore, way over reaching.
Let’s face it, white rappers are nothing new. It’s been over 20 years since the Beastie Boys and 3rd Base rocked the mic, and a decade since Eminem broke all sorts of white rapper barriers to achieve critical and commercial success. So white rappers in the game isn’t as revolutionary as they once were, especially in the YouTube/MySpace age. But white female rappers still seem to be a bit of an oddity, so anytime one steps up who can string together a few hot lines, the crowd just might go apeshit.
But what if she were Black?
Whenever I see white women getting shine for things generally associated with Black culture or Black women, I am immediately suspicious.
I call it the Kimmy K. effect (and if you really want to go back a minute, the J.Lo effect).
Both women, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, were celebrated, and ultimately propelled to fame, due in part to their shapely physiques (or in other words, their Black girl booty). Both women would have probably stayed somewhere on the D-list had the media not picked up on (and continued to discuss) their bodies. Moreover, both have earned some sort of de facto street cred by being seen on the arms of several well-known Black men.
I’ll be honest. When I see Kim Kardashian I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Is she a beautiful woman? Definitely. But there are a lot of beautiful women in the world. However, what seems to make her special is her subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) appropriation of Black culture. Her latest foray into the music business is just another example of trying to capitalize on her ‘hood pass (and thereby being “cool”) by trying to tiptoe between both worlds.
It is no secret that white women have been held up as the epitome of American beauty since we landed on Plymouth Rock. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and milky white skin have become iconic images of what is seen as traditionally beautiful. However, in the past few years white (and other non-Black) women have been gaining fame based on things traditionally associated with Black women.
Think about it, the media couldn’t get enough of Angelina Jolie’s lips, but made nary a remark about Jill Marie Jones, Naomi Campbell, or Tariji Henson’s perfect pouts. And when booty became the accessory de jour, non-Black women were praised for their curvaceous backsides, while Black women with equally large assets were overlooked (or even said to have a “big ol’ ghetto booty,” ala Nicki Minaj).
What’s up with that? Why are these things—plump lips, hair extensions, a big ass, rhyming ability—only cool or noticeable when white women do it?
There are countless Black female emcees that could eat Babi Mac for lunch in a battle (see Jean Grae, Psalm One, Dominique Larue), and yet she has somehow risen above the fray to garner some precious notoriety, despite mediocre skills. Although I’m all for everyone—regardless of race—grinding to get their props, I am also tired of watching others get all of the accolades while Black women who are equally (or even more) talented have to work twice as hard and still get ignored.