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.