Huh?!?: 8 Media Moments That Made Us Go WTF
If you clicked on this list not knowing what to expect, you’re right. It’s going to be all over the place. This story stemmed from a very haphazard conversation we had in my office one day. Consider this your warning. This list is going to be a very random compilation of some of the more outrageous things we’ve seen in the media in the two decades or so. Whether the examples are somehow racially stereotypical or just a celebrity behaving strangely, it’s liable to show up on this list. So are you ready, cuz I’m ready. Let’s jump in.
1. Scary Spice
It was good to be a girl in the ’90s. It was the age of girl power. And no one embodied the phrase like the Spice Girls did. They were everywhere. As a girl, if you didn’t like the Spice Girls you had to at least pretend. Being that there was only one black girl, when a group of our white friends would “play” Spice Girls, most black girls happily chose to be “Scary” or if there was more than one black girl, a slight argument about who was going to play Scary might ensue. (Usually we just switched off.) We all thought they were the ish until we got older. And when we got older and more wise to the ways of the world perhaps we took issue to the fact that the lone black girl, was named “scary.” Now all of the “girls” were attractive and had cutesy little names except the black girl. Unless they meant “scary” in the sense that she was “uncannily striking or surprising” then it’s a little suspect.
2. Break dancing power ranger
Was it a coincidence that the only black Power Ranger also wore a black suit? Most likely not. I don’t think that’s racist or stereotypical or anything…perhaps just a lack of creativity. What was stereotypical was the fact that the black ranger danced in his fight scenes. If you were being attacked by extraterrestrial monsters would you bust a move before you fought them? No, not at all. But, sadly, that’s exactly what the black ranger did.
3. McDonalds’ Commercials
McDonalds loves to reach their target demographic. And for black people that means the commercials have to involve Rap, R&B or Jazz. We just don’t hear a message unless there’s music attached to it. When the “McNugget Love” commercial came out that’s all people were talking about on campus. How either funny or straight up wrong it was. Having sworn off of most of the items on McDonalds’ menu, I knew no commercial advertising nuggets would get me to buckle but it did get me talking… So, does that mean it worked?
If you were wondering if the McNugget love was the only example, look no further than “Mango Pineapple.”
4. Summer’s Eve “Hail to the V” commercial
Anyone who knows me, knows I have much respect for the vagina. It’s the canal by which most of us enter this world. It is pow-er-full! So while I agree that we should definitely regard it favorably and enthusiastically, I don’t get exactly how attaching the vagina to stereotypes is particularly appropriate. Which is exactly what went down in the Summer’s Eve “Hail to the V” campaign. If my vagina could talk I’m sure she’d be more anxious to share exciting details about what’s going on inside there than she would about how much time and attention I spend on the hair on top of my head and going to the club. And if she did talk, maybe Ebonics and “urban” colloquialisms wouldn’t be her preferred method of speech, especially if she knew she were speaking in mixed company.
5. Three-6 Mafia’s “Hollyhood”
For a while there Three-6 Mafia was getting major, mainstream shine. Not only were their songs popular amongst the folks in the hood, their contributions to the “Hustle and Flow” soundtrack, had them performing at the Oscars. Yes, the Oscars. But then after that, the duo scored a reality show on MTV called “Hollyhood.” You may remember it. It was so ignorant. But engaging nonetheless. The show followed group members Juicy J and DJ Paul and their assistants. All types of shenanigans ensued, like the time one of their assistant’s, Big Trice’s girlfriend came to visit. They called her SugaFoot. As if that weren’t bad enough the woman used sugar (naturally) and ranch dressing as some type of aphrodisiac in the bedroom. You just can’t make this kind of stuff up.
6. Ving Rhames-Holiday Heart
Most of the time Ving Rhames is playing some type of hard-knocked hoodlum. (See “Baby Boy.”) But the man has range so it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that he would play an openly gay drag queen. Possible, yes. WTF worthy? Most definitely. While I was thoroughly convinced of this character Holiday; when I step back and think about who it is playing this role, I have to admit it’s a little jarring.
7. American Apparel Ad
What do we have here? Could it be that the makeup artists, the photographer and the model herself all have no concept of the Aunt Jemima figure and stereotype? Maybe, who knows. But I’m inclined to doubt it, especially since American Apparel likes to push the envelope with their advertising.
8. Lil Mama Getting on Stage with Jay Z and Alicia Keys
MTV’s security must have been non-existent that night. First, Kanye bumrushes Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, then Lil Mama decides it’s a good idea to insert herself into Jay and Alicia’s performance. The absurdity of it all is absolutely laughable. I just learned today that Beyonce tried to stop ole girl from running up on stage. But clearly, she was beyond logic at that point, trying to steal somebody else’s shine. Comedy. Both Jay-Z and Alicia Keys addressed how they felt about the foolishness and Lil Mama explained what compelled her to rush the stage but it really is rather inexcusable.
This is just a small sampling of the foolishness that transpires in the media. What moments had you asking yourself, WTF?
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