No Humor in Racism or Black Machismo

by Tami Winfrey Harris

It seems the disturbing “Booty Pop” video, featuring a 6-year-old boy rapping about his sexual prowess while bikini’d women thrust their asses in his face is actually the “comedy” of The Reel Idiots. Idiots, indeed. Real rap video or hipster racism — it doesn’t matter. The creators of “Booty Pop” either endorse the twisted way black boys and men are encouraged to perform masculinity or they think it’s funny.

Vibe magazine noted that a girl would never be portrayed in a similar sexualized situation. That’s true. (Which is not to say black girls are not sexualized. Gender biases just dictate that the sexualization looks different.) But it is similarly unlikely that a little white boy would be depicted waving around a phallic water gun and spraying all over a grown woman. “Booty Pop” is an example of how racist stereotypes are thrust upon black children as readily as their parents. Little black girls become Sapphires. Little black boys become dick-swinging Mandingos, drawing power not from achievement but from sex.

The stereotype of the hypersexual black male is sadly so pervasive that is has seeped into corners of black culture, leading some of us to confuse racism with reality. Much of mainstream hip-hop is built on it. And consider rapper Too Short’s advice to boys (for which he has since apologized), delivered earlier this year via XXL magazine. According to the Los Angeles Times:

In the video, which was posted as “Fatherly Advice,” Too $hort, a.k.a. Todd Anthony Shaw, recommends that when boys “get to late middle school, early high school” and they “start feeling a certain way about girls,” they should skip the kisses and get straight into riskier action — whether or not either party is ready. In attempting to touch a girl “down there,” he tells them do things like “push her against a wall” and, if the mission can be accomplished, he should “watch what happens,” implying she’ll be in a state of ecstasy.

This stupid portrait of black manhood makes black boys predators and black girls victims and robs both of the innocence other children are allowed to keep.

The Reel Idiots YouTube page features spoofs of community college, used car and dating site commercials, an interview with comedian Ralphie May, and several badly acted, poor attempts at funny. But it is “Booty Pop” alone that has generated nearly 250,000 views; no other video on the page breaches 10,000. Racism “sells.” Black perversion generates clicks. And tsk, tsks. And laughs.

But it’s not funny for those of us who care about a little black boy, who should be watching “Phineas and Ferb” or “Sesame Street” or something, being made to spout hypersexual lyrics and subjected to half-naked grown women. It’s not funny to those of us trying to raise black boys to be good men. Or for black men trying not to be seen as sexual predators. Or queer men who are erased by aggressive heteronormativity. Or for black women and girls who are the most likely victims of black machismo.

“Booty Pop” is an illustration of the way racism and the myth of black machismo damages black boys, men, and the community as a whole. And those of us who live with the wreckage caused by Mandingo mythology aren’t laughing.


  • Tonton Michel

    Great article, I would like to see the video get pulled but knowing how this works the more attention it gets the stronger it gets..

  • African Mami

    So now we are blaming racism for the inexcusable behavior of the parents?! Why the heck were they pimping their young son to folks who go by the name of Reel Idiots?! All the blame squarely lies on the shoulders of his parents/caretakers! It was irresponsible of them to green light this project!! These young men, I’m pretty sure did not go knocking at their doors! Whatev!! I am not going to use racism as a scapegoat!!! Nah.

  • YB

    I completely agree with every point made in this article and the rasicm and sexualisation brought on to black children, but regarding the Mandingo myth I think that is one stereotype many black men have no intention to shatter.

    In regards towards sexuality all I hear is black men talking about their “big black dicks”, “how white men don’t be hitting it right” and how black men are superior sexually. Many black men are very happy with the big penis stereotype and do not want to try and get rid of.

    What’s really sad is so many of then wrap their self worth and masculinity in this myth, a myth created by whites who said black men where closer to animals because the size of their genitalia. This big black stereotype is an attempt to dehumanise black men and fit them the being closer animals then humans. When I have a son I want him to know that he I so much more then a part of his anatomy.

    I know that racism plays a huge part in stereotypes being spread and upheld but I think only black men are able to get rid of the Mandingo myth, that is if they even want to.

  • Anonymous

    What makes the situation sadder is that YouTube asks its users to sign in to confirm their age in order to watch a video with a 6 year old in it. smh.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    That child should be learning how to spell his name. >_< Sick and tired of people sexualizing their children, thinking that hot mess is 'cute'.

  • gmarie

    where are his parents? someone had to agree to allow him to be filmed in this manor..

  • SMH

    Yup. It all goes back to black men. Your critical reasoning skills are amazing.

  • sholla21

    I have one question. WHERE.ARE.THE.PARENTS?
    Oh, and also, what were those ladies thinking, shaking their butts in a ‘toddler”s face?
    So much fail in this video I don’t know where to begin.

  • JC

    You can’t pick and choose your stereotypes. If you accept the machismo stereotype, then you are giving life to all the other nasty stereotypes.

  • Ms. Information


  • Sasha


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