“Media, Music, Madness: The black Female Image,” Everett Aaron Benjamin In “The Black Female Image, ” Everett A. Benjamin calls for more discussion on the racist and to a lesser extent the misogynist implications of black female representation in contemporary rap music videos. According to her, the objectification of women stems from a historical portrayal of AfricanAmericans as an inferior race; the overtly sexual images in videos by rap artists such as Snoop Dogg are not only derogatory to women, but also reinforce pre-constructed racist ideas in American society. In addition to this, she makes an insightful claim; that the current representation of black women is very much a consequence of colour-blindness which disregards differences of race1 as a way to fight discrimination.
This commentary will discuss the major points raised in Benjamin's text, mainly the racist factor in the representation of black women, as well as the misogynistic dimension which is not explored in detail. I will also offer my own perspective which is not to contradict the author, but merely to add other angles to the topic. I shall discuss the role of female artists in the rap music industry, as well as the ethnic identification of African-Americans with rap music. According to Benjamin, the long historical portrayal of African-Americans has influenced current perceptions, best exemplified by rap music videos which offer caricatures of members of the community. The example of Sarah Baartman, whose brain and reproductive organ were displayed in a French museum for the amusement of people fascinated with “superficial differences between black and white female bodies.” (37-38) Although this is unimaginable in the 21 st century, the point made here is that white people continue to find enjoyment in the thought that they belong to a superior race from that of the black people. Benjamin cites another author, Audrey Lorde who states that racism is the “dehumanization of one...
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