Why aren’t more black women in rap videos?
I’m not talking about the really light-skinned or racially ambiguous women either. I mean black women who are visibly black. Those who are brown and dark-skinned. The ones with natural hair, braids, dreadlocks, and broad features. Why don’t we ever see them be “sexy” in music videos with black men? There’s a difference between being sexy and vulgarized. When light-skinned and non-black women are plastered in these videos for aesthetics, they are made to be sensual. When darker-skinned women are shown once in every blue moon, all you see are their butts or skin; never their faces.
Whenever it’s brought up, we are gaslighted. We’re asked if we really want to be in an environment that sexually degrades us. Of course we don’t. That’s not what we are asking. We are asking to be shown as just as sexy, carefree and beautiful as the non-black women in these videos. We know the difference between men objectifying women and glorifying them. And we are not glorified. Many black men’s excuse is that they don’t want to see us objectified, so they spare us the burden by using white and non-black women. I find that malarkey. The real reason is simple: They just don’t want us to be sexy. They don’t want us to have agency over our own bodies and sexuality. It’s a form of control. It’s jealousy. It’s possession. It’s misogynoir.
Black men have no problem sexualizing us when it’s convenient. A Twitter user said the words I’ve been thinking: if you’re going to sexualize us, at least pay us. We hardly see dark-skinned and black female sex-workers put in the same light as lighter-skinned and non-black women. They refuse to pay us to be sexy. They want us to be sexy for free. Whenever they think of black women, all they think of is our bodies and looks. When someone asks why they love black women, they always go for features associated with black womanhood like big butts, curves, full lips, and kinkier hair texture. I refuse to believe it’s because most find us “ugly” or “undesirable.” Many do, but that’s mainly because of white supremacy, not actually believing we’re unattractive. Because notice, as soon as someone like Teyana Taylor is deemed acceptable for the mainstream, you have black men posting pictures of her calling her “sexy.” Teyana has big lips, dark-brown skin, and a broad nose. Years ago, she was mocked for her role in that Tyler Perry movie where she was saying “BYRONNNNN!” in that exaggerated AAVE. Now because she’s popular and people say she’s attractive, the same men calling women who look like Teyana “hideous” are calling Teyana “goals.” The same with Taral Hicks from A Bronx Tale and Belly. If she wasn’t glorified and made to be the most beautiful thing in DMX’s 1998 film, Kodak Black would have looked at her as just any other “ugly d*rkie.” Black men can cut the crap. Just say you hate us but want the benefit of controlling us at the same time.
It’s the same logic as how white men hate white women but have no problem fucking them. They’re even attracted to them. It’s the same with black men and black women intraracially. The only difference is, pretending we’re ugly by default keeps us under their control. If we have low self-esteem or are suppressed by looks, then we can’t be “above” black men. One minute black women are “ugly” and “manly,” the next minute black men are on a Hotep spiel on how we’re more “fragile” than “the black man.” So my theory is that there is truth to what black men say about rather seeing other men’s women “objectified” than their own. Trust me, it doesn’t make me feel any better. It is not flattering or moving to me. I am disgusted. However, I can’t help but laugh. Most black men don’t genuinely find non-black women better than black women, they just find them easier to control anti-blackness than if they were men. It’s still misogyny, they just have less power. Black men either find black women’s bodies vulgar and “offensive,” or so “sexy,” they don’t want us to be the object of desire to non-black men. Especially white men.
That is why black men will call us bedwenches before they call Fredrick Douglas a fuckboy, Eldridge Cleaver a rapist and an abuser, and Martin Luther King a bumbling cheater. The worst atrocity according to black men are black women being raped. Not because it was horrible and a violation of women’s agency and rights, but because “their” woman was touched by “the white man.” I can see a man being angry and hurt that a woman he loves dearly was violated and gravely hurt. But that isn’t the case. When black men speak of slavery, they speak of ire at the fact white men were raping all the black women while black men apparently couldn’t do a damn thing about it. I remember seeing one man on Twitter tweet how white men would take all the “pretty” slaves to sleep with. As if those women consented. Therefore, black men control our sexuality under the guise of “protection.” They claim they want to protect us from white or non-black men when we so as choose to date outside of our race, but I know the truth. They’re just jealous and don’t like the idea of black women being the object of someone else’s gaze. So yes, I do believe the lack of black women in these rappers’ music videos is a reference of many black men’s egos. It’s fun for them to brag about having other races of men’s women but then when it comes to us. they don’t want to brag about us because they know those same men consume hip-hop just as much if not more than all black people combined.
Another theory of mine is that black men simply don’t find us pure and beautiful enough to be in their music videos. It’s that simple. It’s okay for light-skinned women to be curvy and shaking their asses. It’s even okay for non-black or mixed race women to do the same thing. But when we do it, it’s “ghetto,” it’s “ratchet,” it’s “ugly.” It’s more “sexy” for these “pure” angels to get “down and dirty” (which is where “down” comes from when it’s to reference understanding the black struggle). Those women will always be seen as “pure” and “beautiful” no matter what, so people love the taboo of “good girls” acting like “hoes,” e.g. dark-skinned and visibly black women. You can say not all black men feel this way, and I would concur. However, since black men have male privilege and black women do not, I will hold all black men accountable for their misogynoir and erasure of us.