"...the written word of the Academic tends to be exalted as the only ‘sign’ of the Academician’s academic worth. (...) Because of this, alternate means of transferring bodies of knowledge have been rent less-than, and literacy literally means or determines one’s access to particular bodies of knowledge. It’s usually those bodies of knowledge that lay the politics of domination bare."

So I paint in words & speak in pictures. Welcome.
Oh...don't let my sassiness upset you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sally Sue, Jonny & Sex Tourism, Part 2

I can recall rather vividly the first time Rio really began to mesh.

As a place, yes, it's in South America, more specifically the country of Brazil. A country name I know better than most in this Hemisphere. I know warmer weather must abide there.

I know there's a large amount of melanin thanks to the Middle Passage. I know there are beaches. I hear about enough to assume people 'vaca-y' there. I know there's something significant about soccer, or true futbol. I'm tempted to murder some poor athlete's name once I've made that connection to land, sport, and culture but beyond that there USED to be little emotional response to the idea of Brazil.

That is, until Essence.

Until T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting.

Until Pharrell. Snoop Dogg. And until "Blame It On Rio!" DANGIT!

Beautiful/I just want you to know/you're my favorite girl

Like any music video, this one irked me, but no more than any other video with videomodel chicks who look better, rotund-er, donk-ey-er and glossier than you. Unfortunately, however, feminist theory and Black feminist theories--the formal courses--would volunteer the vocab to decipher what heretofore had only been mild brushes of discomfort.

My brain heard something like this:

transnational sex capital ethnically ambiguous tourism sex tourism
crossingbordersexoticOtherfetishizefetishizationcrossingbordersforsexadvertisingfor tourismforsexforsextourismforexoticOtherethnicallyambiguoussexcapital


"Beautiful" is no longer a song with 'video girls,' it's a dissertation prompt about Black male capital--via mainstream hip hop's enabling (another convo to itself)--funding transnational excursions to a very specific site (Brazil) where exotic Other, [postmodernist-friendly] 'ethnically ambiguous' women may be found (Brazilian women) for the purpose of sexual and capitalistic "exploitation"--because ain't nobody stupid...she won't come cheap.

And while the frenzy around this notion was enough to drive a notsoambiguously Black woman mad--hence the extended Essence dialogue--I'm extremely tempted to reverse the scenario for lil Sally Sue's sake.

You must understand how deep it goes--there are websites where men give advice about "how to" herd a Brazilian woman.

Something like, if you bring her back to the states, don't let her out of the house, lest she meet other Spanish/Portuguese speaking women and get her own life sans Teena Marie's romanticisms. (I'm paraphrasing but the actual is so much worse.)

If I put this in the context of centuries' worth of rape, decimation, violation, and thorough devaluing of Black female bodies, and if I re-remember the positioning of Black women as the original sex tourism attractions throughout and beyond acknowledged slavery, I'm left wondering how could BLACK men engage in such 'debauchery'?

The socioeconomic realities of the women in question is a salient point.

The irony of Black men engaging this transaction given their placement in terms of a racialized socioeconomic hierarchy, and the racialized economy of desire is a salient point.

We could definitely tag on the unmarriageable Black man statistics, and the middle class/elite Black woman's pity party as coded by the U.S. But I think the point is made.

Yes, "Beautiful" shows us how depressing a place Brazil can be if you're not an estadounidense Black male.

BUT it also shows us how in tact the sex industry is for the so-called heterosexual male consumer.

If Jonny ever gets tired of his computer (domestic), there's the local strip club (local)...or corner (illegal?). If ATL, Vegas, Miami or NYC eveer get old (national), he can always hightail it to Rio (global)!

...Sally Sue, on the other hand, isn't nearly as connected. Her greatest hope is the really awkward situation she could end up in with a hairless stripper in a man-kini.

And THAT'S the bottom line.

Sorry fellow fem-stars. But this isn't really about how outrageous sex tourism is. It's about how Black women feel inferior when discussing this foolishness. It's not about how anti-progressive, anti-feminist, or anti-anything sex tourism is, actually.

It's about how Black men, and men PERIOD (particularly 'heteros') get to reboot their esteem during these flesh sesh-es, and Black ('hetero') women find few--if any--such outlets for their unsunny esteems. Despite how 'oversexed' and 'lascivious' we--and our internationally coveted Brazilian sisters are supposed to be.


that is SO unfair!

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