The Case of Kind Words and Pretty Brown Girls
Last week, Rolling Out magazine released its latest issue, a cover story with D.C- based rapper Wale, whose much anticipated sophomore album, Ambition (his first on Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group) dropped last Tuesday. In the interview, Wale responded to criticism he received in March for his video “Pretty Girls,” which some viewers complained did not feature any dark-skinned women (though some were Black.)
The controversy led to a bizarre Twitter beef between Wale and Kola Boof, a Sudanese born writer who is best known as the former Black mistress of Osama bin Laden. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
“I don’t like @wale because he’s another color struck black man who’s [sic] videos are pretty much white supremacist images,” Boof tweeted. “The fact that @wale is Nigerian makes it all the worse, because he’s setting the wrong example globally for our race. A loser. There wasn’t a single Black woman in ‘Pretty Girls’…so what in the f--- was he saying about African women?? His own race?”
Wale told Rolling Out, “[The criticism] made me realize that people hold me at a higher regard,” “That was when I knew I had to make a change. The most horrible feeling in the world, was that my women think that I don't care about them… I'd rather go broke than for my black women to think that I don't care about them. I would rather lose everything than to have my queens think I'm turning my back on them."
He added, “There’s a special place in my heart for black girls. If you’re black and have a black mother, you know how special they are.
For his latest video, “Lotus Flower Bomb” featuring Miguel, Wale tapped brown skin beauty Bre Scullark of America’s Next Top Model Cycle and Tyler Perry’s upcoming TBS sitcom, “For Better Or Worse."
Only Wale knows the truth of his latest sentiments and whether his misstep in “Pretty Girls” was happenstance or intentional. He’s given no other reason for me to doubt him, and too, because so few rappers who seemingly diss Black women go through the trouble to address it in word, much less action, I’m inclined to believe him. But his new outlook isn’t what raised my eyebrows—first the left, then the right.
Initially, I was disturbed at the number of women e-swooning over Wale’s comments. I wondered ‘are Black women that starved for a compliment that the sentiments of a rapper with an album to sell hit our mush-spot?’ (Admittedly, I’ve become a cynical industry-type.)
But maybe they’re rightfully hungry for a kind word.
Think fast: When was the last time you heard a rapper say something uplifting about Black women? And not like, how he loves that “her waist’s anorexic and her ass is colossal” or some such, but like something anywhere close to ‘there’s a special place in my heart for women who actually look like me?’
Okay, now try again, but don’t just think of rappers, try anyone who’s a public figure who’s not a Black woman.
Ne-Yo? “Ms. Independent” had all Black girls in the video. Does that count?
That’s all I got.
Is it me, or is this a real problem?