Madonna, Chelsea Handler and White Woman Privilege
How come every time a white woman entertainer feels the need to affirm herself, it is always a person of color who has to bear the brunt of her license of liberation?
Like for instance, last week Madonna took to the airwaves to express her “disappointment” with M.I.A, international electronica-star and rebel rouser. You see, Madonna was gracious enough to invite M.I.A, along with Nicki Minaj, to engage in a little girl power by being muted (if you count the 30-second “verse” they were allowed to spit), cheerleading bookends to Madge’s awesomeness. However, M.I.A, being the bad girl she is, decided that doing all that wasn’t enough and flipped the bird at the camera. Tsk, tsk. According to Madonna, who gave her two cents during a conversation with Ryan Seacreast, M.I.A.’s one-finger salute was simply “out of place” at a show characterized by “such a feeling of love and good energy and positivity,” and was totally a “teenager … irrelevant thing to do.”
This is coming from the woman whose claim to fame was using taboo religious imagery in “Like A Prayer,” putting out a book of pornographic self-portraits, gyrating butt naked in the banned from MTV “Justify my Love” video and only a few years ago, engaged in a little tongue action with both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on a music station known for appealing to young viewers. Likewise, how is a 51-year-old woman bouncing around in cheerleading outfits and pom-poms chastising others about maturity and relevance? I love Madonna but she truly has some nerve. The queen of shock is policing another woman about how she chooses to be equally daring? Classic.
But that’s not the only thing I’m irked about. Last week, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook with Chelsea Handler dishing about her relationship with 50 Cent, particularly the reasons behind why they broke up. According to Handler, 50 had called her wanting her to listen to a conversation with his ex-girlfriend Ciara. She said that 50 said that Ciara wanted to get back with him and he wanted Handler to listen in, and I guess, mock the poor girls pleas for a second chance.
Handler, disgusted by 50’s immaturity, decided that she had enough. But in the mix of her telling him where to go with his childish antics, Handler also let something else out the bag. According to an interview with Howard Stern, Handler said, “I think I called him the worst thing you could say to a black person short of calling him the N-word. I said something like, you’re like a street person basically. Something along the lines of being a gangster, and it was really, really offensive and I hung up and I’ve never spoken to him again.” This was followed by a laugh.
When pressed about what exactly she said that wasn’t quite “n*****” but just as bad, Handler said she couldn’t remember but said that she said something like that. “I said, ‘You have no business even talking to someone like me, and it was very mean.’”