Why the Backlash Over the Otis Video?

August 16, 2011  |  

Last Thursday night MTV premiered Jay-Z & Kanye West’s new visual to accompany their single “Otis” off their new album titled Watch the Throne. Rap Radar said it best when they said the video was the most expensive low budget video ever.

Simply put the video consists of Jay & Yeezy in a chopped up Maybach with no roof and no doors riding around doing donuts in a parking lot with a mural of the American flag as the backdrop. Pretty simple video, no deep concepts or creative imagery to analyze here. So why did the video cause such a firestorm on the internet?

I might have neglected that in this ball of fun that they were having there were four girls in the back of the car having a ball too. One of the girls might have been black, but it’s hard to say definitively. Some black women (not all) took to their timelines and blogs to vent their frustrations about the lack of melanin in the video. My only question; are you effing kidding me?

We’ve got to do better and find some better things to be up in arms about. One minute the same women are accusing hip-hop of being filled with misogyny (which it is) and saying that rap videos exploit black women (which some of them do). Now those same women are up in arms about not being exploited, please pick a side because the back and forth is confusing me.

I can think of one reason why there were no sisters in the video;

It looked dangerous. Maybe the sisters on the casting couch were like umm “I’m not trying to ride round in a car with no doors spewing fire like this is back to the future!”

If there were no black women doctors being hired at Harlem hospital, that would be a reason to rally the troops and get out there and put pressure on the administration of the hospital. If black women are being denied entrance to graduate programs at a particular institution because of the color of their skin, let’s raise some hell. When little black girls are getting shot in Detroit or abducted in Ohio, and the media ignores it, I’ll be right with you searching for justice. But a music video, as Ed lover would say ‘c’mon son gtfohwtbs.

What did you think about the Otis video? Were you offended that there were no black women in the video?

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  • MilkaWha?

    …i don't really support black males who date/marry/have kids with NW, nor any other black person who doesn't have as a black female consumer in mind…feels good to keep money in my pocket…

  • Resse

    You are obviously color blind. Jay isn't as light as his wife. And nobody wants Kanye who is rumered to be another dl brother.

  • I'm mad we're even talking about this. Let's talk about the fact that a chopped up Maybach was the best Spike Jonze could do!?

  • MamaYaya

    There was an ethnic/light skinned black woman in the car. But really, who cares unless your an agent that represents black models exclusively. Are either of these two dudes putting money in your pockets?? If you really are upset don't buy the album and don't support any of their future endeavors.

  • Louis

    Many black women have turned against black men, preferring to date and marry out. Even Oprah did a show supporting this. Why shouldn't black men do likewise?

    • MilkaWha?

      are you serious?

      black men have been throwing black women under the bus for becky a LOOOOOOONNNNG TIME AGO!

      way before sistas even considered dating out.

      keep it 100% and stop playing dumb…

  • DIVA

    REALLY ??? who cares ! Neither one of those fools are putting any money in my pocket at the end of the day.
    Lets see we have an ex drug deal turned legit, raised his stock by marrying a very talented, much younger woman who has droves of adoring fans that love to watch her twerk that thang…. he is still of a certain again and at times his antics do seem like pathethic grasps to stay young and relevant…. any day now i'm waiting for him to profess his love for acting– isn't that the usual route ? lol
    His partner in this particular endeavor—- an arrogant, cocky(no pun intended if anyone saw those pics– very nice I might add) very talented , metro sexual with questionable sexuality who pouts and throws tantrums when he doesnt get his way.

    ummmmmmmm I thnk we all have better things to worry about than their latest music video which lacks any sort of creativity… just my opinion

  • Slide

    You mother f*ckers don't have anythinge else better to do with your time then write stupid a$$ articles like this and complain about insignificant bullish*t (*with all things considered)…

    We gotta do better, SHAKING MY MOTHER F*CKING HEAD!!!!!!!

  • smith

    like everything concerning color and sex in america, it is complex. the female color issue is a deep psychological issue in our community and to deny it is foolish. humans are visual animals and in this media age visuals influence perceptions, that along with the historical anti black pathology in america equates to the degradation of the dark colored woman's image and and her position in society.
    dont be fooled , ALL art is either driven by or is driving a social / political/ cultural agenda.
    so what is point of all these black guys with white women in their videos?? THEY SUPPORT WHITE SUPREMACY!!!
    and that they are telling the whole world that they are sick in the head. Now, do you support them ??

  • Janay

    Exactly rap music is trash all it does is feed black men’s ego and trash their own women and community and sell psuedo dreams in the middle of a financial crisis. WHen women were more involved in rap, it was when it was a more dignified (in the 80s and 90s.) The whole world knows its trash except black guys. I think black women should distance themselves as much as possible from it. They will be better off. Don’t even buy bootlegs

  • I love it….it just looks like they are having a ball….I dont look to artist to define anything about me or my culture….they are entertainment….pure and simple……the women in the backseat are irrelevant to me….just as they are to the artists they dont even pay them any mind….its just international women….who cares….

    • Jaad

      …to all of you that feel that this is just fun and we need to focus on more pressing issues, well you all need to spare a thought for our black children who are getting worped perception of life and a black womans worth in this day and age. How do we expect to raise children with a pride for them selves and their race if we feel the images projected to them is just. As adults we can chose to anaylse or not anaylse this, but just think about message these type of videaos send out to our young people, our future. Where has black pride and black unitiy gone?

  • Kim


  • Anna

    Does no one's browser use spell check?

  • lively09

    I notice that when watching the video, but that is common in most videos these days. Also Jay Z really only likes his women really light, or almost white, so no surprise. As far as Kanye no comment.

  • Brodie

    You gotta witness in me. The Marie Antoinette swagger really bugs me.

  • Creme

    I don't care. I have other things to do. I like the music and that is it.

  • Ummmmmm

    nobody wants to know the truth and that is that black men really have a deep-seated hatred for dark-skinned women. we can gloss over the truth but it still raises its ugly head after all of these years.

    • HeadSmackeroni

      I don't find dark skin women attractive.
      I am not a male with dark skin, why do I have to find them attractive when my skin is lighter than Alicia Keys?

      If you ARE dark skinned and find it ugly, then yes it is self hate – but I don't have to find it attractive, it isn't my skin color.

      • Reese

        you are so ignorant. Do you know there are black women and men who like all ranges of black people. You have serious issues. What is new I thought you didn't like black women period?

  • Lex

    You spelled "possession" wrong. Does that mean that what you have to say shouldn't be considered because you misspelled one word? I doubt you would appreciate that. She's entitled to however she feels. Inappropriately used words and your criticism aren't going to prevent her from not buying the album. So I don't see anything "null and void."

    Jay-Z and Kanye didn't have many (if any) black models. If there had been, some might say they were being objectified. We tell each other that our thoughts don't matter because of a word's misuse. The way I see it is there needs to be more positivity all around.

  • Kayla

    im not complaing about the lack of black girls i just think the video and song was whack period

  • Reese

    What is the controversy? It is their video they can put who they want in it. Stop allowing videos and who some black men marry worry you. Focus on your life and your choices. Stop focusing so much on these black men and their choices.

  • Janay

    And ever since black women stopped being represented in hip-hop, it hasn’t done a thing to benefit the black women anyway…let our men have that music because it does nothing to add value to black women, and most of its trash and we all know it…the sooner we stop worrying about these rappers the sooner black women can focus on doing something else more constructive for the black communities.

  • Janay

    I completely agree with Jess just let it go! Black women got themselves into this mess by their extreme loyalty to brothers and publicly placing them on a pedestal. As you can see that loyalty and love is not reciprocated..just stop it. Spend time on more valuable things like God. Being a successful woman. Being educated. Be more open to other men then you won’t have time to care cause I assure you they don’t.

  • The Voice of Reason

    Black community needs to stop whining about every damn little thing and place value on being educated and successful and less on glorifying ignorance and acting like a street thug.

  • Cekay

    …than *there* being…

  • Cici & Coco -The Besties

    I wanna see these black women who r venting about this! Either u wanna be exploited or u dont. Pick one. Why would u wanna be in satan’s son & nephews vid anyway? (-.- )

  • IllyPhilly

    Why aren't there any fat chicks!!?? That's what I'm pissed about!

  • sexxibbw

    Otis Redding is turning over in his grave…..such a disgrace to a great song!

  • Jess

    I dont see any reason for black women to continue to pay so emotionally attached to everything black men say and do. Black women have been the main ones playing themselves by putting men on a pedestal (black king bs) simply for being the same race. No other race does that and I know our history is different but when have black men EVER paid that back to yall? If by some chance I end up married to a black man, he is my king just like any other race of man would be. Theres no need to idolize other black men I dont even know. Black women may say they dont do that but thats what they've always done by caring way too much. Ive seen stupid humiliating books written by black women trying to understand black men's IR choices and basically begging them to "come home" and slogans like "Black man I will never leave you" when he left your a$$ a long time ago! Black women have made themselves look desperate and more undesireable by going to the media all these years from books, to talk shows, to radio shows complaining about being left by black men. That has only caused worse problems and made other women gloat about taking "our men". LET IT GO.

    • yessir

      Jess…I concur, 100%. Been saying this myself for YEARS. And I'm a black woman btw.

    • Ummmmm

      Well said, Jess…

      the NBAB sistas are raising a stink because while they place all their idolatry and self-esteem at the feet of the black males they so worship, it's all for naught.

      black men do not care, nor are they "coming home" anytime soon.

    • nicole truth

      you are so right!

    • markus

      lmaoo for a women who does not care you sure have a lot to say

    • Alana

      Thank you. I've been thinking that for years. Unfortunately, you're preaching to the choir. The ones that need this are too busy whining and shaking their booties to black men who are laughing all the way to their nonblack women… it's pathetic …

  • Jess

    Who gives a damn? Im a black woman and I could care less. This stuff use to bother me but not anymore. I havent dated a black dude in quite a while but for black women that do, you should only care what the black guy your in a relationship with thinks and how he views black women. By all means dont buy their music if it offends you but theres no need to get emotional about it. Black men have always favored light skin black women which imo is fine as long as they dont say anything derogatory towards darker women which obviously a few have done but the preferance no matter where it comes from they are allowed to have. When I was dating only black guys, I always did prefer light skin black men(although not extremely light). In my case it wasnt a self hate thing. I just find a deep tan-honey color really pretty on a black person but it seems now with black men even light skin black women arent enough for them anymore and you know what? Let them be.

    • Just another guy

      I hope you notice that you are doing the same thing that you accuse of black men of doing. You say you prefer light skin black men and now you have move on to non back. Get real with yourself.

      • Jess

        If you read my post im not accusing black men of anything. I actually said I dont see the problem with them favoring light women as long as they dont degrade darker black women in the process but many have. Im just telling black women if it bothers them then dont support the artist. None of these guys are worth the insecurity that it seems to be causing black women.

  • chaka1

    I don't care about the video. I am more offended by the lyrics and the "artistic" overuse of the n-word for profit. That's a disgrace.

  • Seriously, I can "find" a lot things wrong wit a lot of stuff, if that's what Im "looking" for.

  • Fun

    He could of choosen 4 dark skin sistas to ride with him in the back of the maybach. But since Kanye has an agenda that he wants people to hear then he put white girls. Common ft Nas Ghetto dreams is a better track, and it features a black woman Bria Myles. Jcole and Drake make better music than these two.


    WHO CARES! We all know they RBG's are not their preference. Anyway, my TV husband Aziz Ansari made his lil cameo so that was cool. Too bad he can't dance…LOL. It's all good though, he makes up where he lacks.

  • Nia

    There was a black woman sitting there – next to the girl in green. Were my eyes tricking me? I believe I did see one.
    Or, (not to get controversial…) was she not 'dark enough' to be 'truly' considered black?
    If that is the case, then I think we as black people have a much greater issue/ complex that we need to address.

  • MarriedWoman

    That's not an American flag… I dunno what it's suppose to represent… Colors on the American flag do NOT run… unlike this one.

  • YNE

    If anything, I think its a smack in the face to the corporate america, and not Black women. Look at it from their perspective; A custom made MAYBACH with black owners having fun driving around in circles in front of this gigantic America Flag hanging, with "other" women in the back seat laughing.

    To me, it just shows its okay to be black & successful while having fun in America. Guess you can call it "The American Dream, Revised."

    • IllyPhilly

      I bangs with that theory

    • john brown

      you cannot be this naive, alll of the black guys that probably could not "get" any of those light colored / or white girls on their own intellectual merits ( they are buying white womens affections) fantasy fulfilling the sick black fantasy, lots of money and a white woman sick, sick ,sick ,