One good girl is worth a thousand bitches(?): Kanye West Confuses the Sh*t Out of Me

For the first time in my life, I have been exposed to a Kanye West music video. The other day, my husband asked me if I had seen the new West video, Bound 2.  I told him that I had never consciously listened to West, but from the few quotes I have heard repeated from him, via popular media, I have no interest in supporting his ‘art.’

My husband told me that I just had to watch Bound 2 with him. So, we watched it together and we laughed through the entire thing.

Seriously, can someone please explain to me how it’s possible to sing something like “One good girl is worth a thousand bitches” and then also speak publicly about how Jimmy Kimmel is being racist towards you as a Black man? Did I miss something? And I’m asking these questions not to dismiss West’s experiences with racism, but more or so not sure how one can constantly be sensitive to anti-Black male racism yet be completely insensitive to their own misogyny and sexism; their objectification of women. In a tweet to respond to Jimmy Kimmel’s parody of West, West wrote something to the effect of how much more “pussy” he (West) gets than Kimmel. Excuse me? What, are we in junior high again with the immature uncritical insults? Yes, it’s obvious that West’s feelings were hurt, but to respond in that way (i.e. talking about how he gets more ‘pussy’) is not productive.

In the lyrics to Bound, West sings while holding his fiancee, “One good girl is worth a thousand bitches.”  As a PhD with focus in critical race feminism, I am unapologetically biased against the meaning and power behind these types of lyrics.

And I am just really confused as well as disappointed. Why? I have met plenty of Black cisgender straight identified men who are sensitive to racism, understand how it works structurally… yet they are insensitive/unaware of how they perpetuate sexism and misogyny. (Or, perhaps they know but just don’t care because they hate not having racial privilege but enjoy the  ‘natural’ position of male privilege? )

And I want to make connections across the board. I have met a lot of straight Black men in the holistic health (vegan/raw) movement who are really aware and critical of structural racism and legacies of white supremacy that affect Black physical and emotional health… but then a significant number of them believe in the ‘naturalness’ of heterosexism, sexism, patriarchy, and being homophobic and transphobic… And yes, there are plenty of white males in the animal rights and vegan movement who totally get how messed up speciesism is, but they engage in racist ways of doing animal rights and social justice, only to become upset and defensive when one points out to them that they are being simultaneously anti-speciesist but racist… and yes, many have also engaged in sexist and sexual harassment behavior. Am I missing something here?

Thank goodness for Seth Rogen and James Franco for creating this parody:


[Updated Nov 27, 2013] I wanted to clarify that I don’t find it funny because two men are kissing or lovers. I found the video funny because Rogen and Franco are doing the exact same movements as Kim and Kanye. I also found it clever to have two men together because of the heteronormative/heterosexist culture that pervades mainstream/Top 40 Hip Hop in the USA. For Kanye, it would seem that being a ‘true’ man is calling certain women bitches and talking about all the ‘pussy’ he can get. It’s all so predictable on how he lets us know ‘how to be a real black man’ through being misogynist and hypersexualized striaght Black man. I’d imagine Kanye would never have two men together in his videos to represent love and masculinity. But, this is simply how I was reading the Bound 2 parody and why I thought the video was hilarious.

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#bound2 #jamesfranco #kanyewest #sethrogen