Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Ciara and Justin Timberlake video- "Love Sex & Magic"

Hmmm....All I have to say is that my heart literally hurt after watchin this thing.

Here's an excerpt from Soul Bounce:

Someone please explain why Justin Timberlake continually gets a pass to fetishize and exploit the image of Black women. Right now. Because after watching him aggressively pulling on a chain wrapped around Ciara's neck only to later use her bending body as a leaning post in her new video for "Love Sex Magic," it's getting ludicrously difficult to understand.

Yes...someone PLEASE explain WTF just happened??? I feel like I just watched some really really unforgivable-for-watching porn, thats how bad that video was lol...and no one was even naked!

Why is it that Ciara felt the need to exploit herself sexually AND why is it that JT can't stop puttin his grimy hands all over Black women like we're play things in public?!

Now, those of you who know me know that Mr. Dekker (my other half) is white...and yes, I am Black (I hope yall woulda figured that out by now). Therefore, I have no qualm whatsoever with interracial coupling or nething....

What I have a problem with is the misrepresentation of Black femininity as it relates to White men in the media. Justin Timberlake has repeatedly caressed Black women's bodies (not that we can't be caressed) and he repeatedly contributes to the exoticism and over-sexualization of Black women.

I mean, yall remember Janet. Regardless of whether or not that boob-grab was planned, he touched her bare breast on national television. This is not to say that she wasn't at fault (in case it was planned), but we have to think about the overall message received when shit like that happens with Black women.

This video not only eroticizes Ciara (which she clearly intended to do herself) but it puts him in a place of power over her with the dog chain. Also, her crawling around like a stripper further implicates the power differential between him as a White man and her as a Black woman.

PLUS, I saw "Crazy Horse Paris" in Vegas...and she stole ALL her scenes from an artistically classy burlesque show and turned it into garbage. I'm just as pissed at her for flaunting her body in a way that demeans Black women everywhere as I am at JT. BTW, This is what she was going for:

"Crazy Horse Paris"

To the Artists:

No, Ciara, I do not feel any sexier than I did before you crawled around on your hands and knees to get Justin off. That wasn't sexiness.


No, Justin, Black women are not about to let you put a dog collar on us...(I wish sumbody would try and put a damn collar round my neck...see what happens lol)

To you Readers:

Please comment on this cuz I really wanna get some discussion going!


Talisa J said...

A black BITCH who's mad Ciara has a better body than her. That's all THIS is.

S-DUB said...

Testify Randa! You're spittin truth! JT is no more than a culture bandit who is helping perpetuate those same old stereotypes!

Funny, I blogged about this same topic earlier this week.

Anonymous said...

Yep, you nailed it! The ongoing fetish of black women as animal like is present too. I am not sure if you mentioned this one...when Ciara is dancing behind bars in her animal print full body suit it is as if she is a caged animal. So sadly, again, the image of a black woman as exotic, an animal, less than human is seeping through our pop culture.

I'm so glad I have an equally analytical and conscious friend like you! Good job woman!

Saren J. said...

Alright, first of all: Talisa J -- I don't know if you do much deep thinking, but, if you do, how about you go back and read that post again. I'd say you need to take it down a notch and realize this is about sending a healthy message; and if Ciara has a "better body" than any of us, especially us, than we are living on the wrong planet, my dear.

Anyway, so, Ciara really sells herself short here, i agree. I mean, not only are the images totally and brutally eroticized, sexist, power-perverted, and everything else wrong with society (especially as perpetuated by so many in the music industry, as it crosses into the sex industry)--but the lyrics make me sick.

Catch this:
He says: "And you feel so fly assisting me
But now it’s my turn to watch you
Just do what I taught you, girl"

If that's not a power play, i don't know what is. She is not in control, here. Especially when she says: "What’s your favorite trick that you wanna use on me
And I’ll volunteer"

So, she admits that his treachery and deceit is what brings them to this point of intimacy! BULLSHIT!

What i think is, the fact that the song is called "Love Sex Magic" and that she is being dehumanized in order to be presented as "sexy" shows us that this is completely unhealthy. For everyone. It is not that we are jealous *ahem* but that we recognize the disjunct and abuse present in it.

Plus, Love ≠ Sex in the first place.

Carol said...

It's amazing the things ignorance will cause a person to say out loud.

But enough about comments that have nothing to add to the conversation. :)

Honestly, I have trouble chalking this up to much more than the typical pop flirtation with BDSM combined with the marketing appeal of Justin Timberlake and Ciara. With reference points including Janet Jackson's If, Rihanna's Disturbia, and virtually all of Madonna's outfits since 1994, the next logical step would be to up the ante by bringing in a little genuine, but socially acceptable for the sake of glamorization, dom gear. While I realize there are particular imagery issues for women of color, I don't feel like this video steps outside of the bounds of whats expected in a current music video for any women. Look at the changes in Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera videos over the years. Look at the coming of age of groups like the Pussycat Dolls, who are basically glorified strippers. The thing I really find interesting here is that over the course of the video, the two invidividuals really do seem to trade places in terms of who is the "dominant dancer" for lack of a better term. This seems to me to be actually pretty uncommon. Generally one would find a female lead who when dancing with the men is either lead, or takes control a la the "If" video mentioned earlier. And we're all too used to videos where male performers are in the foreground, interacting minimally with scantily clad ladies in the background, who in turn are fully comfortable with being the trophy on display. Instead, we have here genuine interaction and trading of control that we would expect from real people. Kinky people maybe.

Eh, I could go on forever, because honestly it looks like a marketing technique for both JT and Ciara to shed "childlike" or "innocent" images and move into "adult" territory. Way misguided, but I always think that.

Dekk said...

First of all, Talisa J, I believe that you are capable of sharing your opinions without resorting to insults. Please put on your "big kid hat" from now on and you will be addressed respectfully. Moving on...

This video is unquestionably harmful in regards to the messages that it sends and creates. I don't want to preach to the choir though, so instead I would like to explore why we even see videos like this and who is to blame.

Let us not forget that this is a product designed for our consumption and marketed by way of careful, timely demographic research. The foundation of this product is artistic expression and the outcome is "branding". Brands are determined by trends of consumption. In other words, if research shows that we are more likely to buy something if it comes with a sexy black woman and a dominant white man, then it is mass produced and fed to us as we request.

It is my belief that we are all responsible for what we see in this video.

All of us play a role in some way. Whether we simply turn on the radio, blog about it, buy the single, or learn the dance moves and share them in the club, we are all feeding it's prowess.

I bring this up because I hate it that entertainers are often held accountable for the social implications of their expression. It isn't Justin Timberlake's job to ponder Belle-Hooks and debate body image data. His job is to dance, sing, write music and above all else, SELL RECORDS! Same goes for Ciara. I cannot and will not expect more from them because they have never claimed to be anything else.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not defending what we see in this video. In fact I hate it. What I'm trying to say is that art imitates life, and if we didn't live this way we wouldn't see it. People create media, not the other way around. I cannot tell you how many times I have been to college bars and have run into educated, "intellectual" people doing nothing less than a reenactment of this video. What's great is that some of those people actually show up to class and squeal about the oversexualization issues in our society. Squealing doesn't change norms, nor does it rid any of us the responsibility of acting in accordance with our critiques.

Just Timberlake is guilty, Ciara is guilty and WE ARE GUILTY.

Sad but true....

If we were all truly distraught about this video we would see to it that we didn't spend a dime that could be traced back to Ciara or Justin Timberlake. Meaning that we might not step foot in our favorite bar or turn on our favorite TV show ever again... Can any of us really accomplish that?!!


Saren J. said...

Good call, Mr. Dekker.

I think i definitely get caught up in the whole denial that art imitates life (and, as the cycle goes, life imitates t.v.)--we do have to remember that it starts somewhere, and they wouldn't make it if it didn't sell.

Sad, but true, indeed.

classical one said...

Videos have been going over to the soft core porn world for some time; however, what makes this one stand out in so many people's minds? There's a black woman, a white man, and a chain present in the video: Their in lies the rub. If this was Justin and Britney (or any other white girl) we wouldn't even be having this discussion. The sexual standards for the interaction of white men and black women are looked at much differently. Hell, Snoop Dogg and countless rappers have made careers of putting black women on chains and worse: calling them ho, bitches, saying get on my nuts etc. And Snoop Dogg was honored for his career of misogyny by being let into the Nation of Islam!? I personally think this video stinks but I'm aware it's held to a another standard that an intraracial couple would not be. The history of white men and black women will be forever linked to the symbols of the past.

Anonymous said...

Darling look at it this way:

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

Enough said

Cousin A.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I don't see your point about JT exploiting black women. Would it have been any easier to bear if Ciara were white or JT were black? Because I am certain black rappers have images just like this, or perhaps even worse in their videos.
Many, many of Justin Tim
I don't see how Justin Timberlake can be accused of the crimes you've stated on this one.
Yes the video is demeaning to women (as many videos these days are)but I'm not seeing it from a racial standpoint.
So do I find this tasteful? Certainly not, but if Ciara has stripper fantasies,please by all means go ahead.
(She does a really good job by the way...)

Randa said...


You are right that there are hundreds of videos that exploit both Black and White women in the same ways. My point was that this particular video is a prime example of the subtle messages about Black women and White men that exist in our society. Even though the video is not directly expressing the power differences between the two groups, the message is still received through the sexualizing of Ciara as a submissive to JT.
Also, Ciara is not free of blame in this. She, like many women in the media, is exploiting herself. I think my main point was to say that these people are icons (even if they do just mirror our society). They set examples for many of the younger generations who don't have the capacity to see their antics for what they really are. Many people will watch this video and subconsciously try to imitate it in their own lives.