In the tradition of artists like Public Enemy and Tupac Shakur, rapper Lupe Fiasco addresses social and political themes in his music, using it as a vehicle for consciousness-raising. “Whether right or wrong, some things need to be said in order to start a conversation … that’s all I try to do with my music,” Lupe told MTV News.
The “Bitch Bad” video takes on the subject of gender, how “media” shapes norms and expectations, as well as misunderstandings, around gender, and how “race” and racism influence gender norms and expectations. Here’s how one reviewer describes it:
The video is broken into three acts, with the first being how a young male first learns of the word “bitch”. His first association with the word happens when he hears her singing a rap song which has the lyrics, “I’m a bad bitch”. Hearing her sing the song causes him to associate the word “bitch” with his mother.
The second act consists of a group of girls who are huddled around a laptop watching rap music videos. They see how the bad bitch always gets the guy, which in turn causes the young girl to want to be like the character an actress is being paid to portray in the video.
The third scene shows the boy and the girl meeting when they are teenagers and how their knowledge of a “bad bitch” is completely different. (Examiner.com)
Is this how you see it? What sort of sociological insights and critiques — about gender, culture, race, etc. — does it offer?
The video is dedicated to Paul Robeson and the “many black actors who endured the humiliating process of blackface in America.” Robeson, an actor, singer, and political radical, was an ally of W.E.B. DuBois in struggles against economic exploitation, white supremacy and colonialism.
If DuBois were to see this video, what do you think he would say about the “problem of the color line,” the relation of the “darker and lighter races” in the US today?