“Black Girls” Music Video Missed the Mark


Chester French’s racy music video for “Black Girls” wrongly glamorizes black women as a sexual fetish. (KarmaLoopTV/YouTube.com)

How sweet. Someone wrote a song just for me. Want to know how it goes? Here’s a couple lines: “I got a thing for black girls/La, la la la la, la la, la la la la, la la…/You know I got some love for black girls/ La, la la la la, la la, la la la la, la la…yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…”

These lyrics are from a song called “Black Girls,” recently released by the indie pop band Chester French. If the song wasn’t risqué enough, the video makes it exponentially worse. Directed by Francesco Carrozzini, it stars model Jodie Smith (who is black) actress Rie Rasmussen (who is white) who poses as the lead singer, David-Andrew Wallach (who is also white). Carrozzini milks the racy, interracial sex theme for what it’s worth; the whole video is shot in black and white with close ups of Rasmussen and Smith grinding their naked torsos against one another and licking their lips, among other things.

Sounds catchy right? I didn’t think so, either. I wish I could be more excited—it’s not every day that someone writes a song for you. But how could I be? The arrangement is more erratic than edgy, the chorus is a little irritating and the third verse doesn’t make much sense. More importantly, the whole black girl-fetish thing doesn’t impress me. Interracial dating is fine, but chasing after a woman just because of her race is a serious problem.

KarmaloopTV, the YouTube video channel for the media outlet of the same name, is promoting the video, describing it as an “unabashed, hard-hitting celebration of feminine beauty and interracial love.” But what does love have to do with it? The video is a just a soft-core porn scene filled with girl-on-girl action to capture the attention of the masses. Love has nothing to do with the song’s uninspired lyrics. It has nothing to do with the video’s tired, raunchy nookie shots. Because if it is love, then what is it based on? Something as superficial as the curve in a colored woman’s backside? The flare in her lip? Is it based on some outdated, irrelevant stereotype of black women being hypersexual jezebels? I saw a video purely celebrating lust, feeding into the notion that in order to be attracted to black women, you have to have a “thing” for them, a particular penchant for these exotic creatures (as opposed to ordinary women) that most would overlook, or even scoff at.

It’s no surprise that I reacted to the video in this way. I once knew a white man that pursued me because of my race. He was a charmer—extremely tall, intelligent, connected, worldly and of course, a Democrat. Initially, I was excited that he had taken an interest in me, and was really receptive to his advances. But then I noticed him using the same approach to countless other women of color on campus. As you can imagine, I was sorely disappointed.

Most people I know take it for granted that interracial relationships are a common and accepted. Even so, we still ask ourselves: If you haven’t already been in one, could you see yourself in an interracial relationship? And how can you really connect with someone that has a different culture, history and drastically different appearance from you?

My answer to both of those questions is yes. I’ll admit that I’ve never had a serious relationship with someone outside of my race before. However, I have been attracted to men outside of my race and if any of them were interested in having a serious relationship with me, I would have gladly tried it. Furthermore, I would be willing to make the extra effort it might take from both of us to be sensitive, to be aware of our own biases and to be willing to engage in one another’s culture. There is nothing wrong with being curious and wanting to try new things. What is important is that curiosity is based on genuine interest, respect and care for someone, and not some perverse, outlandish sexual fantasy.

To the artists of Chester French, I applaud you for trying to be provocative and humorous to connect with your audience. And hey, that song you guys did in 2009 called “She Loves Everybody” was kind of cute. But for me, “Black Girls” did not make a high C. Next time, if you want to impress a girl, show her you’re interested in her as a human, not an experiment.

It’s funny. I usually don’t give YouTube commenters much credit, but someone said something that really resonated with me: If Chester French loves black chicks so much, why don’t we see them in the music video?