Written by Nicole
With mere days to go before we put the hell that is 2020 behind us, the Internet is ablaze yet again with the latest episode in foolery.
I don’t know the full story here, nor do I care to. It’s nearly Christmas, and I LOVE Christmas, and as a gift to myself I’m cutting down on the nonsense I consume. The short, and probably incomplete version is that a twerkable song was played by a DJ in an “upscale” restaurant, and a few black female patrons threw their ass in a circle as the song requested. The owner of the establishment initially asked them to quit doing that in a nice manner according to surveillance footage. Then, the Spirit of the Twerk rampaged through the restaurant again, as the twerking resumed. The owner came out again, this time with profanity-laden respectability rant, to once again, demand the twerking stop. And, cue the usual outrage from the usual suspects. Check out this video on The Pink Pill YouTube channel for more commentary.
On the subject of the video itself, look, I just don’t care. A critical mass of black women is determined to keep our image at subterranean depths, and it is up to other black women of a certain mindset to make sure that a clear differentiation is made. For me personally, I have no rhythm, can’t dance, and two left feet. Stevie Wonder could look at me from across a dark room and see that there is no twerking to be twerked from me. I make sure to set myself apart from those who seek to drag me down, no matter who. But that’s not my topic of discussion.
One fairly common retort I’ve seen in response to the criticism of the twerkers from the video in question, is that what they are doing is “a part of the culture”. This “part of the culture” defense comes up pretty frequently, and since I have time today, I really wanted to think about this out loud.
We all know the ancient African history of twerking. But is the ceremonial twerking of the days of yore really the same as the restaurant twerking we saw last week? It’s one thing to shake ya ass and watch yourself when you were in the club on Saturday night (pre-COVID), but is twerking, in settings not appropriate for hypersexual ass-shaking, Black Culture? Take for instance, these clips of black women twerking at graduation ceremonies (this one, this one, and this one). Is this Black Culture? Here is a clip of a woman twerking on a dead body at a funeral. The accents do not sound American, but still. Is this Black Culture? How about at Disney, the happiest twerk location on Earth? What about twerking at church, in the Lord’s House? Are these Black Culture examples? If so, why? If not, why not? Funnily enough though, when I was looking for a stock photo of twerking for this post, most of the women were NOT black. Make of that what you will.
Just last month I wrote about the Burt’s Bees ad debacle, and the resulting outrage that a black woman was pictured with her two children and no father. Though rare, I did see a few comments that attributed this to being Black Culture. Are single-parent homes Black Culture? If so, when did that happen, and what needs to be done to change that? Does it become a part of the culture when multinational companies notice a trend, or when it goes unspoken and unchecked internally? Better yet, who determines what Black Culture is in the first place? I mean, the amount of times I’ve seen “we all black”, and “white people will see them as black anyway” when referring to a person with black admixture, makes me wonder who actually makes the culture, well, the culture.
Remember last year when a high school principal demanded that parents come to school drop-offs and pick-ups wearing something more substantial than their pajamas? And how she was met with utter vitriol, with the crowd favorite attack of being anti-black? Is rolling up to your kids’ school, replete with oversized T-shirt, fuzzy slippers, and the appearance of leaving the house unshowered a part of Black Culture? Or is it just ignorant?
We are far beyond who is right or wrong in the restaurant twerking video above. The better question to ask is why this, and the other examples I’ve given, are seen as part of Black Culture, even though there has been documented evidence as to the harm it causes. Let’s make it a point to stop defending degeneracy in any form in 2021.
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.