Cake! Cake! Cake! Cake!: Let’s Take 2Chainz to School

13 Sep

At the Crunk Feminist Collective, there are educators among us who teach in unsafe classrooms, around uncomfortable kitchen tables, in crumbling youth centers, and between warring crowds on police-barricaded streets. We teach because we believe that offering a lens and the language to critically engage the world are fundamental to changing the world.  It seems to be a lofty charge, but we are anchored by it especially when we spend thankless, countless hours preparing the “perfect” lesson plan and notes to incite and inspire young folks.

Today, I am bringing the classroom to the blog. From a horsefly’s golden bum named Beyoncé to poisonous Tupperware-like butt pumping parties, the CFC has covered how the booty continues to frame desirability and identity. We have described how the commodified, sexual display of Black buttocks dates back to the iconic backside of South African Sarah Baartman, dubiously dubbed the Hottentot Venus.

Let’s talk about eating the Other as theorized by bell hooks. Here are two recent objects/images of dismembered Black female bodies molded as cakes and offered up for public consumption.

The first object/image circulated this Spring when the Swedish Minister of Culture kicked off World Art Day with a ceremonial cut to the genitals of the black-coated, blood-colored cake. The blackface performance artist screamed amid gawking onlookers who laughed, snapped photos, and later gobbled the cake, bottom upward. The viral video sparked outrage across the globe.  In a refined statement the Black male artist, Makode Linde, said his intention was to make viewers uncomfortable and to call attention to “genital mutilation” or more specifically clitoridectomy (i.e., the removal of the clitoris).  The second object/image is also of a cake—a cake in the shape of a thong-wearing booty that is presented to the Black male artist 2Chainz in a music video. In the chart topping record, “Birthday Song,” the rapper repeats: “All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe.”Cake from "Birthday Song" by 2Chainz

If you can stomach watching both of the videos, tell us:  Is there any difference between the two cakes?

(Warning: Videos links contain explicit material.)

Swedish cake art termed racist Cake art stirs heated debate over racism in Sweden. CNN’s Nima Elbagir reports

Birthday Song by 2Chainz featuring Kanye West

Further Reading:  Willis, D. (2010). Black Venus, 2010: They called her “Hottentot”. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press.

Next Class:

The Crunk Feminist Collective will talk to three authors about hip hop feminism featured in their new books, Wish to Live: The Hip-Hop Feminist Pedagogy Reader edited by Ruth Nicole Brown and Chamara Jewel Kwakye, and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Identities and Politics in the New South by Bettina Love.

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10 Responses to “Cake! Cake! Cake! Cake!: Let’s Take 2Chainz to School”

  1. crunktastic September 13, 2012 at 6:21 AM #

    Teach,

    My first question is: what should we make of two Black men eating Black women’s genitals in service of their art? Why and how is this “art”? And can said “art” exist as a pure category if it is clear that this art perpetuates troubling ideas about Black women’s subjectivity, humanity, and our bodies themselves?

  2. crunklife September 13, 2012 at 6:53 AM #

    There was global outrage about the public consumption of the museum cake but there remains this taken-for-granted assumption about the “edible” Black bodies appearing in the 2Chainz video. Both are given a kind of legitimacy. One is “high art” by an assumed self-aware artist who uses the cake to raise our collective consciousness so folks say it’s okay that it is racist and sexist, and the other is popular art that is supposed to appeal to folks “base” desires so it’s understandable that it is racist and sexist. Both assertions are ridiculous and reveal how in even the most sophisticated analysis of “art” that we continue to justify the voyeuristic display and commodification of Black women. In my mind, the two are not two (separate) chains, but one in the same.

  3. Natalie Cofield September 13, 2012 at 8:07 AM #

    I feel the same way… please see my blog. I actually started a petition regarding this… http://www.nataliecofield.com/birthday-boycott-call-for-the-banning-of-the-birthday-song/

    • crunklife September 13, 2012 at 8:17 AM #

      Thanks for the link to the petition and your apt analysis about the “Birthday Song” on your blog. I did not make the connection that both of these “cake” performances were produced in part by Swedish artists/directors.

  4. Kal September 13, 2012 at 8:42 AM #

    In the late 1970s I visited some school friends from OSU. The males at the party only talked about 2 topics, women’s breasts they’d seen at the mall and cars they would buy if they had the money. Their conversation never deviated from those topics. I never came back to their house and only recently spoke with one of them, the wife. The husband is still insulted by my refusal to hang around talking about cars and tits. 35 years later the wife asked me why I stopped coming by and I explained. She agreed that the men were a bit limited. So long as women are solely their body parts they are not truly human beings.

  5. strawberryletter22 September 14, 2012 at 1:50 PM #

    Reblogged this on StrawberryLetter22 and commented:
    Sad. Sad. Sad.

  6. The One September 17, 2012 at 3:14 PM #

    Other races of women get beautiful renaissance paintings and sculptures in Paris, Milan, & Rome.

    Black women get this “stuff”.

    Sigh.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cake! Cake! Cake! Cake!: Let’s Take 2Chainz to School (Participation) « CES 209 Fall 2012 - September 13, 2012

    [...] 13 Sep [...]

  2. The Zoe Saldana / Nina Simone Biopic Controversy Illustrates the Need for More Black Women Filmmakers | The Opinioness of the World - September 20, 2012

    [...] tennis player is told she’s too fat to receive funding, when the Swedish Minister of Culture and rapper 2Chainz eat racist cakes of dismembered black women’s bodies, when the media cares more about criticizing Olympic gold-medal winning gymnast Gabby Douglas’ [...]

  3. Cake! Cake! Cake! Cake! « thefeministblogproject - October 4, 2012

    [...] Cake! Cake! Cake! Cake! [...]

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