“How do we read Yolandi’s blackened body? How do we read their invocation of a racist tradition of theatre, music and cinema in the US and South Africa’s history of the coon carnival? Are they deconstructing our racist past, or is it a publicity stunt – a shot at another viral YouTube video? A clue to these questions may be found in a remark by Jones earlier this year: “God made a mistake with me. I’m actually black, trapped in a white body.” This echoes “Never le Nkemise” (off Ten$ion): “Ninja, die wit kaffir / Ja, julle naaiers / Skrik wakker” [Ninja, the white kaffir / Yes, you fuckers / Wake up]. Analysing blackface in gangsta rap, Michelle Alexander contends: “Today’s displays are generally designed for white audiences.” Like Wikus of District 9, Yolandi and Ninja “go native” by blackening up for profit and sport. It is white privilege that provides Die Antwoord with the means to “borrow” from aspects of black cultural expression and project colonial notions of blackness.”
really really into this fantastic analysis of the fuckery that is the latest die antwoord video. must admit i was really into them early on, totally drawn in by the wierdness/sideshow factor, but after having scratched the surface a bit more i am Done.
Made this the other day. All the images are from a quick Etsy search. The improper appropriation of Native American cultural practices has interested me for a few years, particularly because it’s something that had to be pointed out to me, despite how widespread the practice is. (Not like I ever ran around in a headdress, it’s just not something I ever looked into.) We instinctively know that it’s wrong to mindlessly parrot other cultures’ beliefs, but somehow this one group is ok? That’s so weird and wrong.
oh god. this is so amazing and so horrible all at the same time. probably because i’ve pretty much heard that statement verbatim (minus the blackface) on more than one occassion.
…all sorts of defenses and excuses are being pulled out of the hat to try and label this music video as anything other than what it is: racist. Fans of Welch’s have offered their own version of events, including: “it’s not blackface, he’s green!” “It’s not blackface, people in Britain don’t know about blackface.” “It’s not blackface, it’s a representation of darkness.”
Glorifying the white female central character as representing goodness, all while vilifying the evil dark skinned heathen Other is not new. The number of times this has been done in film date back to one of the very first blockbusters, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, and continue on until today with this latest incarnation. But in this age of “colour-blindness” and “post-racial” talk, we confront a fairly new beast: vehement denial.