Queer/Race

“I Seen Beyonce At Burger King”

Posted in Uncategorized by austone on April 27, 2010

*Sorry for the influx of Youtube videos*

Throughout this course, when discussing queerness and race in entertainment, we tend to decipher meaning through videos made by heterosexuals, for heterosexuals. There may be queer themes in Beyonce’s If I Were a Boy and Single Ladies but what about queer videos made by queers? Much earlier in the semester, Professor Macharia asked when LGBT background dancers’ stories would be told. Luckily for us, Youtube has made available many expressions of queer art; whereas before there were no venues to discover artistic proximities between queerness and race, now exists many different ways to view proximities between the two entities. I included the above Youtube links because they explore race-queer intersections in different ways. The Nhojj video explores a black gay male relationship- it is rare to find this kind of representation in a music video, much less one that was apparently a popular MTV video. The Jonte video explores queerness in a much more assertive manner. Vogue dancing, ridiculous costuming, and lines such as “I will make your pussy tickle” make this an over the top video- one that is quite aware of its niche audience. Cazwell’s I Seen Beyonce queers heterosexual performer Beyonce (who already has established queer elements in some of her music videos). Beyonce’s character is portrayed by a man in drag and one can argue that the video lacks any kind of comprehension. However, gay-identified Cazwell, the drag Beyonce, and various other aesthetics (dancing, crazy outfits) undeniably transmit the ways in which we understand queerness. The last video I included, Will You Marry Me Boy?, takes the politics of the same-sex marriage debate and explores it via entertainment; despite its display of male on male love and general campiness, the video is no different than the average heterosexual rap video. There are many other videos and songs available that I could have included but I wanted to express the variety of queer/racial music videos- made by and for the queer community.

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  1. mrthomps said, on April 29, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I watched all four of the videos in the Co-Op by stamp with my friends. While I was appraising the videos with a critical eye for style, vocal ability, and danceability, it seemed that no one else could get past the fact that these were “queer videos”. After watching the first video i was told that it was both awkward and uncomfortable for the guy sitting next to me. Another one of my good friends who is also male could not stop asking if Jonte was a man or if Cazwell and the other performers were gay or not. He also thought Jonte’s video was just “too weird”.
    I found this interesting because i LOVED the Jonte video. I was completely enthralled by it. I appreciated all the costume changes, different scenes, the neon graphics! Soooo cool! But all of that was completely ignored. It didnt matter. All that was important was “is he gay”. I also thought it was interesting that most of the people who saw the video with me thought Jonte’s video was just out-of-control-crazy-pants. Maybe i’m biased because I loved it but i can totally see Lady Gaga or the next big thing using those neon graphics or wearing that same black body suit and crazy fake nails. And if she did, no one would say it was too much or too wild. It would just be another video.


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