Something told me not to hit ‘play’. The voice in the back of my head begged me not to. But. My own curiosity and self-proclaimed masochism prevailed and I watched it against my own conscience’s wishes. I wanted to give Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) the benefit of the doubt, and hoped that his “love” for Black women was not built entirely off of the dehumanization, objectification, and hypersexualization of Black women’s bodies. I hoped instead that the “love” he had was for Black women as a whole, or even focused on the love he had for his daughter and his child’s mother who are both Black. Well my hopes were dashed, squashed, and shitted on by not only MGK’s pervasive smug remarks, but also the nods of agreement that came from the Black woman who was interviewing him.
This “interview” was problematic from jump, and if I had half a brain I would have x’ed out of it when the interviewer asked MGK is he liked “chocolate milk”. Strikes one, two, and three. Listen, and listen hard (or read hard). Black People are not food products. We are not objects for you to consume and discard. Applying such descriptions as the one above to people is not complimentary. It is border-line fetishistic. Nevertheless, I guess the interviewer was using this inquiry as an awkward segway into a discussion on whether or not MGK was interested in Black women. MGK confirmed his “attraction” and proceeded to go off on a repulsive ramble about how Black women were the best at performing a particular sexual act, and needed to embrace it a bit more since they were so good. He even went at far as to pull out the tired and played “Well white girls do this, and Black girls do that” dichotomy in order to substantiate his claims of Black women’s sexual prowess. He then boastfully stated that he had a Black child as if that served as not only a example of his “love” for Black women, but also proof of his sexual attraction.
By this time in the video, my mandible had disconnected from my skull and was resting soundly in my lap. I could not believe these words were coming out of his mouth. I could not believe that this fool was at the BET awards and NONE of the people around him were phased by the diarrhea that was pouring from his mouth. Wait. I was actually mistaken. There was a Black woman who was off camera that was so taken aback by the comments, that she walked away. In response, MGK referred to her as a “dirty dick (?) bitch” and told her to walk away (you know, because she wasn’t already doing that). The interviewer giggled through the verbal abuse that MGK laid upon this woman and continued to prod him for more answers. I will never get the minute and 40 seconds back that I lost viewing this garbage. Also, I may never shake the feeling of helplessness that this video caused. At least any time soon. This helplessness was due primarily to the lack of response from the people around them, people online, and people within the industry, specifically Black men. I’ve noticed that people rarely rush to the defense of Black women, and when Black women try to defend themselves they are pushed aside as “sensitive”, “bitter” and unable to take a “joke”. Sorry. I rarely find my humanity and my right to womanhood free of verbal, physical or sexual abuse funny.
This video confirmed a few thoughts that have been simmering in the back of my mind (and Twitter drafts) for the past few months. Firstly, safe spaces for Black women within hip hop are extremely limited, and fading fast. This observation is based off my own experiences going to hip hop shows / interacting with rappers, and also on the treatment and portrayal of Black women who did not act, look, think and react to the male gaze in ways that are deemed appropriate by the music industry. Secondly, the interviewer showed me that internalized misogyny/patriarchy is really real and not just something I read about in books (or on tumblr, bloop). Real life application for the win, y’all! Thirdly, the oppressive sexualized power dynamics that have existed between white men and Black since forever are still present. And by the looks of this video, won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. I’m not sure if she was just pressed to show out for MGK or thought she would lose her job for not “pushing the envelope”, but I am genuinly shocked at the lack of empathy the interviewer showed the woman attacked by MGK, and also by her adamant defense of MGK’s statements and slurs in the comment section under the video. In any case, the statement made by the glorious Zora Neal Hurston rings true in this instance.
All my skinfolk ain’t my kinfolk.