All Articles Tagged "ratchet"
For those of you who have been hoping the word “ratchet” would die soon, I wouldn’t count on it. In fact, I’m willing to bet it’s about to become an even larger part of mainstream culture, i.e., white folks are about to start using it, thanks to an exploratory piece on the term in NY Mag. Titled, “Ratchet: The Rap Insult That Became a Compliment,” the article by John Ortved seeks to uncover the origins of the word in a way that leaves me asking the (ratchet) question — although I’m not even sure that’s the correct use of the term now –what the f#&% for?!
As the piece goes:
Ratchet can be traced back to the neighborhood of Cedar Grove in Shreveport, Louisiana. “You talk to working class black people [down there],” says Dr. Brittney Cooper, a co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective. “Ratchedness comes out of that. And some of that particularity gets lost when it travels.”
You can certainly say that again. For an example of that lost particularity, see this entire article in NY Mag.
The first appearance of ratchet in a published song was in 1999, when Anthony Mandigo released “Do the Ratchet” on his Ratchet Fight in the Ghetto album….In 2004, Earl Williams, a producer known as Phunk Dawg, recorded a new version of the song, featuring the better-known Lil Boosie (currently incarcerated), from Baton Rouge, as well as Mandigo and another Shreveport rapper named Untamed Mayne…. In the liner notes of the CD, Phunk Dawg wrote a definition of ratchet: “n., pron., v, adv., 1. To be ghetto, real, gutter, narsty. 2. It’s whatever, bout it, etc.”
But the popularity of the song, and the adoption of ratchet by other, bigger names in the business — especially as rappers from the “Dirty South,” like Lil Wayne, T.I., and Juicy J came into vogue in the later 2000s — meant the definition of the word could not stay in the hands of Lava House Records. “It’s not necessarily negative. You could say ‘I’m ratchet’ to say ‘I’m real. I’m ghetto. I am what I am.’ It can be light, too,” Williams, the producer, explains. When ratchet is used in hip hop, it can also mean cool, sloppy, sleek, or flashy.
When I read these definitions of the term that black people have been using since the ’90s, I really question what service Ortved thinks he’s providing with this article. I guess it shouldn’t be all that hard for me to figure out considering NY Mag’s readership and the obvious understanding that people who have been using this word without needing an urban dictionary explanation of it already know what it means. So is Ortved trying to introduce this word to the mainstream so white people who want to be cool can add it to their vernacular? Or is he trying to shield them from some “underground” term that they have a right to know the meaning and connotation of to either avoid use of or use against us? Or my third explanation, which I personally believe is the case more than anything, is he wasting everyone’s time with much ado about nothing.
Michaela Angela Davis would likely disagree with that last point, as she seems to believe the term “ratchet” has far-reaching consequences for black women, telling NY Mag:
“There’s an emotional violence and meanness attached to being ratchet, particularly pertaining to women of color. We’re only seen through this narrow sliver, and right now that sliver is Ratchet. We don’t get to be quirky and fun and live in Williamsburg. Wolves don’t fall in love with us. The only interest that pop culture has in black women is this ratchet world.”
And the use of this term is to blame for that? Pop culture has only been interested in Black women’s failings since the beginning of time. Ratchet may be the catch-all phrase that captures the negativity those outside the black community may enjoy shedding a light on, but whether this word is here or not, the light won’t shine any brighter or dimmer. And to be perfectly honest, I’ve never thought about the term ratchet in any specificity to Black women. In my own personal use, I relate it to everything from behavior that is ignorant and suspect to the utmost level, as well as simply “turning up,” as one would say now (i.e. having a good time) I wonder if there will be an expose on that phrase next?
And I hate that this article even makes me think about what things I apply to this term because, frankly, it’s not that deep. Yes, you should absolutely be aware of the language you use and when, where, and why, but taking an urban slang term and turning it into something bigger than it needs to be is not just counterproductive, it’s a waste of time. I’m still trying to figure out what Ortved got out of his research and what he thinks his readers will get out of this piece other than a headache and a feeling that yet again African American culture is being set up to be misappropriated. Have we spent this much time exploring the origins of frenemy and what white women’s embracing of this term could mean for the future of female friendships as we know it? Or how the use of “fetch” further spurs the growth of mean girl culture? Of course not. Those are safe words, right? The people using them could never mean any ill intent. It’s only when Black people come up with slang terms that they have to have a covert negative meaning.
Since Beyonce was so heavily referenced in Ortved’s ratchet expository – which I don’t even have time to touch on — I’ll just take a page from her Instagram and ask: can we live?
Well, if the new music is any indication, the rest of the year is about to be a wrap for any and all other female pop and r&b singers. Several seats is what they’ll all need to take.
The internet is on fire right now as Beyonce’s team just dropped what seems to be a teaser of two songs, “Bow Down” and a chopped and screwed joint, “I Been On.”
Where we all need to focus is on “Bow Down.” This is not your typical Beyonce. This is gum popping, hair patting, gold tooth having Beyonce. Ratchet, even.
The lyrics are not humble and has a few words for everyone:
“I know when you were little girls/ You dreamt of being in my world/ Don’t forget it, don’t forget it/Respect that/ Bow down b**ches/I took some time to live my life/But don’t think I’m just his little wife/Don’t get it twisted, get it twisted/This my s**t/Bow Down, b**ches…”
Well, now. There’s not much more to say than that. Sure, Beyonce probably curses in her personal life and has been known to slip a couple in her songs but this one is…a lot. No word on whether or not this is the full length version or if it will be an intro/interlude. Produced by Hit Boy (he’s worked a lot with Jay-Z), “Bow Down” might be a sample of what’s to come when the album is released.
Check it out!
Whether it’s Trey Songz crooning he’s about to “Dive In” or Chris Brown moaning about how he’s going to make me “Wet The Bed,” I must be getting old and sensitive because love and hip-hop is a little too raw for me. Not even 5 years ago, I was attracted to men who were vulgar and explicit and thought those sweet, sensitive guys singing lullabies about walks in the park and candlelit dinners were clowns. But after years of blatant honesty, I find myself missing the days of middle school when a guy would send me a candy gram in class asking, “Will you go with me?”
A few months ago my colleagues and I decided that we needed some music to break up the monotony of our office days that are otherwise filled with calls from probation officers about parenting classes and random UPS diaper deliveries. With the help of Pandora, soon we had Marvin Gaye and Sade to serenade us through those long eight hours. We chose channels that we thought were “safe” for an office of women ranging from their early twenties to their late fifties. And by “safe” I mean we didn’t want to run the risk of Rihanna exclaiming, “I love it when you eat it,” in the event that a donor walked through the door. By choosing the Toni Braxton channel, I figured we were in the clear.
Nonetheless after a few times haul assing to my phone to change the channel when I heard the first few notes of “Neighbors Know My Name” drop, it hit me: There aren’t too many men singing about love anymore. Even back in the day our parents clearly knew exactly that Ronald Isley wasn’t just talking about a hug when he sang “I feel your love surrounding me” on “In Between the Sheets,” but it was a lot more subtle than, “Girl I like the way it opens up when you throw it back baby,” as Chris Brown sings on 2012. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have my random ratchet moments where a little wine and some Rick Ross “Diced Pineapples” or “She Will” by Lil’ Wayne doesn’t make me feel like the sexiest broad to ever sip Yellowtail on a Saturday. When it comes to raunch and romance, I like Chris Brown and Trey Songz because they “go there.” But sometimes I just want to fall back and hear a man tell me how beautiful I am, not how fat my a** is.
It’s not like thug love didn’t exist when I was a teen. Boys II Men might have been on bended knee begging to make love, but Jodeci didn’t hesitate to hump the stage and let us know that every freakin day they wanted to freak our bodies in every freakin way. A few years later even LL Cool J and Fabolous had their share of public displays of affection through singles like Hey Lover and Baby. There was a balance back then, but recently when I try to think of anyone mainstream that’s actually singing about love the only artist who comes to mind is Ne-yo and recently he seems to making more songs for the club than for couples. It’s no wonder why teens today can’t see anything beyond breaking headboards when it comes to relationships. Women are becoming the worst offenders. When did a man become soft or a sucker for being a gentleman? Any time a man reveals the slightest bit of sensitivity or emotion we are quick to label him as “soft” or “gay,”but don’t let him refer to us as “bitches” and we’re ready to swing on him…unless of course he’s a rapper and he’s telling us to drop down and get our eagle on. There’s nothing like a little fame and money to make the rules of the regular not apply. Even I must admit it’s been me on some occasions looking all silly and doe-eyed when a man tells me how “bad” I am or that I look like a video vixen. But on some level it’s sad that “I can tell that you’ve been practicin’” is seen as the ultimate form of flattery these days.
I think it’s great that people are talking so openly about sex especially when it comes to people not fearing they’ll be judged for what gender they choose to love or young people being able to ask questions without people assuming they are trying to make a pregnancy pact. But sometimes people being so TMI about their sexual intentions kills the mystery which as a result kills the mood. I think that’s why I enjoy Drake so much; he can just as easily hold his own surrounded by bouncing booties on a single like “Pop That” and then turn around and express how vulnerable he actually is on a song like “Hate Sleeping Alone.”
There’s time and place for passion, but as women we can’t wonder where the romance and respect went when any man who isn’t telling us to bend over and look back at him is considered a clown. Ladies if we want romance and candlelight, we have to think more about love than dropping it low and spreading it wide. Fellas, sometimes revealing what you want to stick and lick isn’t nearly as arousing as telling a woman that you just want to hold her. Romance and ratchet don’t mix and we don’t always want baby-making music as much as we want to boo love. The subtle art of flirting and courtship needs to be brought back not only to hip hop, but to relationships every where. That doesn’t have to mean cliched rose petals leading to the bedroom or Barry White and candlelight, but try being a little creative. I like it rough, but take a note from Otis Redding and try a little tenderness.
Can you think of any R&B artists who still sing about love?
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog Bullets and Blessings .
2012 was filled with some of the most ratchet, booty bouncing and just plain ol’ ignant songs. Anything made from 2 chainz or a down south rapper had to be ratchet. If it wasn’t ratchet, it wasn’t hot. There’s more songs that could of made the list but it’s safe to say that these songs were the most heard — and possbily the most obnoxious. Let’s check out some of the videos that made you twerk
In case you missed the memo, Trinidad Jame$ is the breakout rapper of 2012. The fact that people all over the globe are singing about gold all in their watches is a bit of a feat considering Jame$ had only been rapping for ten months when he released his single, “All Gold Everything.” Though I can’t quite put my finger on it, there is something quite catchy about this little ditty. Erykah Badu seems to think the quick succession of the n-word said in three peat is what makes the song go…she called it beautiful and says that she listens to it in the mornings to get her day started off right.
So maybe it should come as no surprise that another pair of black celebs are also feeling Trinidad’s “All Gold Everything.” Check out Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington performing their version of this hit.
What do you think about the song? Are you surprised people like it so much?
Why Are You Waiting For The New Year To Act Right? 10 Ratchet Behaviors We Should Leave Behind in 2012…Starting Now
A part of me is so happy to see 2012 leave, as long as it’s taking the “ChriannaRueche” love triangle, Joseline Hernandez, the Romney family and the Twilight series franchise with it. But seriously, something about 2012 made me completely disgusted with how African-American women are portrayed and more importantly what we prioritize. This was the year of the booty shot fails, the stripper/sideline chick/baby mama, and the ratchet. Sadly, it makes me wonder when we stopped wanting more for ourselves. It’s like I looked up and one of the best things we had going for us was the cast and crew behind Scandal. Is that all we’ve got? So not just for 2013, but starting right now, I propose our resolution be to stop engaging in the following ratchet behaviors:
1. Knowing more about Basketball Wives than Obamacare.
If you can recite the names of all the characters on Basketball Wives, but can’t tell me any of the changes the Affordable Care Act made to U.S. health insurance, I’m going to need you to turn to CNN for at least five minutes a day. When you become of age to vote, it’s definitely time to know how the economy, politics and world issues directly affect you. You don’t have to break down the details of the fiscal cliff, but your knowledge of current events and economy should go beyond what you can write off come tax season.
In MN’s Year In Review, we’re counting down our top stories as well as the biggest moments in television, music, movies, and news.
You know part of our job is to keep you guys laughing and these hilarious articles of 2012 did just that.
Last week, I heard Usher’s new song, Lemme See – And this is why I don’t listen to the radio anymore.
The song, which features a verse from former correctional officer with benefits and a 401k plan turned make-believe gangster-rapper, Rick Ross, is about Usher going out one night and meeting a girl in the club. And after getting drunk off of Merlot and his female companion for the night taking her pants off, our hero in the song has decided to take his shirt off – to show his chest. And I guess from there they get it poppin’. And we wonder why the yougins’ are freaky as all hell…Read more.
Trying to find an apartment in New York City when you don’t live in the city is a nightmare — not that trying to find an apartment in New York City when you’re in New York City is much easier. But unless you have a lot of money and a broker who actually wants to earn his 15% commission, you’re going to end up sacrificing some of those things that would be considered normal amenities in any other city in America just to put a decent roof over your head….Read more.
Ok, so the likelihood of us, regular, around the way girls, ever getting an opportunity to date a celebrity will probably never, ever present itself. Most of us, over the age of thirteen have realized this. While the glitz and glam of being on the arm of a famous beau would be fabulous (at times), there are some men who just would not cut it. No matter how much money these celeb men have, it can’t hide the fact that they’re either ignorant, lame, or down right repulsive. Check out the men we’re talking about and let us know if you agree….Read more.
When people imitate Beyoncé they usually go for her over the top stage performances or her intensely choreographed music videos. Rarely, do we see someone try to take on Beyoncé the woman. I know you’re probably thinking Maya Rudolph just gave it a try shortly after the birth of Blue Ivy in that SNL skit. That she did. But let me tell you after watching this video made by vlogger, actress and singer, Jade Novah, Maya has nothing on this Beyoncé impersonation. (No shade, Maya. We still love you.)…Watch here.
It’s getting warmer outside, and with the change in weather comes a change in mood–folks want to be outside! But also with a change in weather comes a whole lot of ratchetness. From too little clothes to very aggressive men, when the weather takes a turn for the better, people act a hot a** mess. Keep your eye out for these things and people…Read more.
Up until two days ago, I tried my best to keep from watching Vh1′s “Love And Hip Hop Atlanta.” I knew it was going to be a ratchet mess and frankly I can’t take too much more of black women embarrassing themselves on television when we have so few positive images anyway. But, at the downright prodding of my sister, I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about while I was on vacation. After one episode, I was hooked. Whether I “like” them or they make my skin crawl, all of the characters are so entertaining. But one of the cast members and her quick-witted catch phrases, caught my attention. And that would be K. Michelle. Though, I don’t always agree with the way she handles her altercations, I have to admit the girl can turn a phrase. Surely, you’ve noticed. And if you haven’t, check out some of her catchier ones on the following pages…Read more.
In the ’90′s if you didn’t have baby hair, you weren’t doing much. Black folk across the country spent countless hours in the mirror, using a toothbrush and gel to shape the perfect swirl around their edges. Slick and sleek was the look and no one was trying to be caught with frizzy edges. Check out the artists who took the baby hair phenomenon to a whole new level…Read more.
Apparently I missed a very exciting celebration yesterday and you likely did too: no bra day. The thought alone conjures up all sorts of images—was this a grand feminist statement rivaling the 1960s, did some college co-eds come up with this an excuse to walk around like playboy models, and most importantly who was walking around with no bra on when they know they needed one—but the day actually had a more somber meaning. The idea was crafted last year by a 19-year-old girl from California who goes by the online name of Anastasia Doughnuts as a statement to raise breast cancer awareness and stand in solidarity with women who no longer have to wear bras because of breast disease. While the cause was noble, as women thought about the reality of what not needing to wear a bra would mean, most of those who still have to wear one couldn’t help but think about one thing: how much they hate these things…Read more.
With efforts like “Bury the Ratchet” underway and all the hate directed at reality TV shows like the Basketball Wives and Love & Hip-Hop franchises, you might think that black people are the only ones cutting up on the tube. Well, it ain’t so. We’re not saying just because white folks are acting a fool on reality TV too it’s OK, we’re just saying, we’re not the only ones. Here are the 14 most ratchet white people on TV.
Michaela Angela Davis Is Coming For Reality TV Producers: Activist Launches ‘Bury The Ratchet’ Campaign
We’re living in an era where ratchet seems to be selling more than sex in the entertainment industry, which is ironic since “sex sells” has been the industry’s motto for as long as most of us can remember. Urban culture writer and activist Michaela Angela Davis wants us all to know that she isn’t blind to how the ratchet is plaguing the image of Black women in entertainment and that she is taking a stand against it. In a recent interview with Jacque Reid, she announced the launch of her latest campaign, “Bury The Ratchet,” which is intended to clean up the image of Black women that is currently at the forefront of mainstream media.
As a result of reality shows such as “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” and the fact that television seems to have deemed the city as the mecca of all things ratchet, Davis’s campaign will be specifically honing in on the women of Atlanta.
“The goal is to get the spotlight off the ratchetness and on the successful women in Atlanta,” Davis expressed.
She also stated that shows such as the aforementioned cause people to stereotypically group all African-American women from Atlanta into a single category.
“The first image that comes to mind is mean, gold-digging women. It has become completely evident that there has been a brand of women from Atlanta that are adverse to what most of these women are like.”
In an effort to raise awareness surrounding the campaign, Davis is said to be hosting a conference in March of 2012 at Spellman College in Atlanta where she will join forces with other African American leaders and advocates to explore, expose and analyze the negatives affects that reality television is having on Black America.
The team behind “Bury The Ratchet” is also reported to be getting together to produce a public service announcement that will expose how Black women sincerely feel about reality television and that manner in which they are portrayed by the media. It seems that her goal is to reach the young women.
“We want to change the mind of young women who absorb these images,” she expressed.
This is most definitely an admirable step being taken by Davis and we know that her motives are not self-serving unlike others who have tried to tackle reality television and its stars such as Star Jones.
What do you think of the “Bury The Ratchet” campaign? Are we victims of mainstream media or are they simply giving us what we want?
I have a theory about why the word “ratchet” took off the way it did. It blew up because everybody, regardless of race, creed or color, knows at least one somebody who leads a ratchet lifestyle. Though you might not identify as a ratchet individual, there are several reasons why you might need some ratchet in your life.
The one thing you’ll learn from having ratchet friends is what not to do in life. Your ratchet friends will always have some sorted tale about how they fought some chick at the club, how she smashed a dude she had no business messing with or how she cussed out that rude heffa at the DMV. Either way, your friend’s escapades will paint a very clear picture about the types of situations you need to avoid by any means necessary. The good thing about it is, aside from listening to the juicy details, you’ll have learned a lesson without having had to go through anything.