(follow-up to this post)
I'm guessing by now that you've all heard of Lorde. She's a 16-year-old pop sensation from New Zealand whose song "Royals" has taken American airwaves by storm. She's precocious, the song is ridiculously catchy, and the New York Times raved about her live show. So, naturally, someone had to come along and take a big, steamy poop on her immaculately coiffed hair. Veronica Bayette Flores of a blog called Feministing seems to think that "Royals" is racist. Her reading of the song's meaning couldn't be more simplistic:
While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist. Because we all know who she’s thinking when we’re talking gold teeth, Cristal, and Maybachs. So why shit on black folks? Why shit on rappers? Why aren’t we critiquing wealth by taking hits at golf or polo or Central Park East?
Could it be that there aren't any songs on the radio about golf or polo that 16-year-old girls listen to? Why would anyone assign their own cultural baggage to someone who isn't even old enough to buy cigarettes in America? Also, are "Jet planes, islands, [and] tigers on a gold leash" or "Blood stains, ball gowns, [and] trashin’ the hotel room" black things?
Flores goes on to say that "several, no, many people listened to this track, and saw no problem with it at all." Hmm. Interesting. I wonder why? "I don’t have to explain why wealth operates differently among folks who’ve grown up struggling." Actually, maybe you do. Hip-hop used to be about the celebration of the struggle for black people to escape the ghetto. It was about "making it." Now, it's about what you do after you make it. That's all fine and great, but does a teenager from New Zealand relate to that? Of course not. Maybe she'll understand Veronica Bayette Flores's dime store cultural criticism better after she's... gone to college.
Why should anyone be surprised that the proliferation of pop songs about conspicuous consumption would get tiresome eventually? I don't care what your race is, the number of people in America that have even seen a Maybach (or can pronounce the word properly) is miniscule. "Royals" is not racist.