Watch: Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad” Video Exposes New Age Minstrel Show in Hip-hop
“Bitch bad, woman good, lady better…”
Never one to shy away from pushing the envelope to express his socially-conscious perspective, Lupe Fiasco premiered the official visuals for his new single, “Bitch Bad,” this week.
The rapper uses the song and video to open our eyes to the cycle of dysfunction associated with women embracing their “bad bitch.”
“Bitch Bad” tells the stories of both a young boy and a young girl who are exposed to the word “bitch” at a very young age, and who grow up with totally different perceptions of the word’s meaning. The track will appear on the Chicago emcee’s forthcoming album Food & Liquor II, which releases on September 25th.
Directed by Gil Green, the video takes the song a step further in portraying objectification of women in music and the effect it has on children, equating most of what we see in hip-hop to cooning, black face — a modern minstrel show.
“I just wanted to have a conversation. It was more to just put it out in the world and see what happens,” says Lupe. And he’s done just that, as we all debate who’s at fault, who’s responsible and so on-so forth.
Watch: Lupe Fiasco – “Bitch Bad” Official Music Video
For those who need some help understanding the message, VH1’s Tuner‘s Bené Viera breaks it down:
“This brings us to the final act of the story, where Lupe parallels modern day black entertainment (read: music videos) to historical blackface, tap dancing and performances blacks once participated in for the enjoyment of white audiences, which reinforced negative stereotypes. A girl and a boy who were subjected to the “bad bitches” imagery as youth are all grown up. As a woman, she believes being a bad bitch is a compliment.
As for him, well, he associates nothing good with bitches. In the background, caricatures of Sambo, blacks tap dancing and the video model/rapper in blackface plays repeatedly. The video vixen/rapper struggle with the images they’ve just presented to the world for money.
The allegory in the Gil Green-directed video symbolizes new age minstrel shows. Beyond tackling the perception of bitch being good or bad, which is subjective, Lupe points out the ideal of black entertainers pimping themselves through reinforcing stereotypes all for a buck, or in this case, millions of bucks.
One would have to understand history to comprehend what he did here. If you’ve seen Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, you’ll immediately recognize the similarities. Frankly, it’s probably one of the most important videos of the year.
Because whether you consider “bitch” empowering or degrading, there is something to ponder on: What’s the message being ingrained in children, all for the sake of entertainment?”