Friday, June 18, 2010

Which Came First: The Label or the Whore?

The other day, I sat a conference table, totally baffled. Sitting in my midst were a small group of female music industry "tatemakers" (meaning bloggers and a radio personality). We were discussing what direction a certain female artist needed to take her album in--basically acting as A&R's for the label who still hadn't identified her sound (largely because she has no personality to speak of).

The women there spent the beginning of the album waxing poetic about how said female artist needed songs with more depth who more adequately explained who she was as a person, and insisting that her age appropriate lust/love songs were too shallow and too slow (they wanted to hear a "club banger"). Seriously, someone said the word "club banger."

Anyway.

Then, came the end of the album. I guess this was the part of the album where the artist and the label decided to introduce her overtly sexual side, because the switch was abrupt and definite. A certain song, featuring Nicki Minaj came on and....

The women in the room went ape shit.

Heads were bobbing, eyes were sparkling and at the end of the radio-friendly 3;30 second song, the women insisted that that was the next single said artist should be pushing. The song, of course, was uber-vulgar with the required good beat and catchy hook. But since when is a good beat and a catchy hook enough to warrant a co-sign on a disgusting/insulting song from a group of supposedly thinking women?

I sat at the table, baffled. Weren't these the same chicks who were just shedding their brilliant perception (read: hatred) on said singer's lack of virtue and substance? All of a sudden, Nicki Minaj pops up and because she's "hot" and gets a lot of hits on lame-o blogs, that's the song said singer should roll with? Word?

Now, I'm not a dummy. I'm not a rose-colored glasses wear-er either. Women have been shaking their asses to degrading songs since the arrival of Luke. But these were a group of women who were supposedly trendsetters. Smart women who have the ability to somewhat influence the creative side of the music business. After all, we were called specifically to give our input on a project. Whether or not the label is going to legitimately take our opinions into account has yet to be seen, but the point is, it was an opportunity to offer a valid opinion-- not keep the retarded ass wheel spinning in the same retarded ass direction.

It made me think. It used to be I would totally blame the label (and label-like folks) for the imagery of young women in hip-hop and R&B music. I mean, how can I really blame a 16-18 year old girl who still hasn't quite figured out who she even is, for being sexually exploited by grown ass men who should know better? Of course, I acknowledged they played a role, but to me it was always minimal. But these days, and specifically after this last experience, I've had to re-think some things.

Which came first: the label or the whore?

I'm still more apt to point the finger at the label-- seeing as how they definitely have the most to gain from such tomfoolery, but women are definitely on some other shit these days. Other shit meaning, brain-washed and not even aware that they've been sucked into the matrix where it's necessary to be a misguided whore/groupie to be appealing musically and visually. It's rather...upsetting.

The next time I see a singing/rapping whore figure, my blame certainly won't be so easily placed on the label or the creators of the figure.

I'll be giving the average, thinking woman the side eye too.

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