WAP: White Africanized Presence

On the first Friday of August 2020, Cardi B debuted a new song and music video featuring Meg the Stallion. I maintain my inaugural stance that Cardi B is a Lil’ Kim/Nicki Minaj #knockoff that illuminates the white imaginary’s attempt to improve a design engendered to Africanize America. It is for this reason, that I contend that WAP proves an even more vulgar acronym for White Africanized Presence.*

Now, to be clear, by White Africanized Presence I reference the pernicious praxis by which white supremacy popularizes black culture and enables any and everyone access to what black people created before, during, and after their abduction.

To deem black culture American ignores a reality inconvenient to a hegemonic space that thrives in regarding the black collective as consumers. That enslaved Africans made something out of the nothing the white world tried to make of the “cargo” they abducted. By deeming black culture America, the western world yet again imposes the racist ideology that black contribution is never autonomous from white “assistance.” Moreover, Africanizing the American space makes it so that whites and non-blacks have access to a black culture autonomous from the experience that birthed said culture.

Now, to be clear, by White Africanized Presence I reference the pernicious praxis by which white supremacy popularizes black culture and enables any and everyone access to what black people created before, during, and after their abduction.

For example, Todd Chrisley dons the “strong black woman” controlling image to make money and make himself more interesting. The controlling image is like an outfit he wears that enables him access to an “urban” or “peripheral” identity without sacrificing his central societal position. Chrisley veiled his appropriation as an American persona by sitting beside Steve Harvey on Harvey’s former talk show. Seated besides a black man, donning black female caricature as an accessory, Chrisley delineated juxtaposing appropriators with an African as integral to Americanizing the Africanist presence. This violent visual is precisely what the black viewer witnesses with Cardi B’s new WAP video.

Let me begin by saying this, Cardi B is not a black woman. If she was she would not have been a formidable choice to engender violence and render assault onto the black collective by detaching the black woman from black female image. I mentioned earlier in this post that Cadi B. delineates a hegemonic effort to “improve” a design started in the 90s. By “improve” I mean Americanize blackness so that it is attainable by those not descended from America’s first abductees.

Cardi B only claims blackness so that the can hurl the n-word expletive around without contest and so her negative and prejudicial encounters with black women appear intra-cultural conflicts. Her presence, along with Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, amongst pretty much every actress selected to play a black woman on screen, from the Mowry twins to Yara Shahidi and Zoe Saldana, also forces the black woman in America to adopt America’s one-drop rule as a personalideology.

For clarity, my assertions do not contest a woman with African blood’s ability or even the choice to identify as black. My assertions contend to underscore that America, the same country that implements the one-drop rule, does not present every woman of African descent the choice to identify as black. Accepting this rule, for the black woman who did not choose America, or cannot choose to be anything other than a black woman, means accepting her erasure. The one drop rule maintains its precedence because its implementation maintains the societal hierarchy that places the black enslaved in America at its base.

Nevertheless, I digress.

Cardi’s latest song juxtaposes appropriation and the appropriator which illuminates a national effort to consummate an Americanized black culture that strips the black collective of an authorial role over the culture birthed from their African ancestor’s early encounter with an americanized space.

Let us take, for example, the fact that the video features young black stars Normani and Meg the Stallion. Their “features” betray black women as relegated to the periphery in a visual abduction of their assets. Cardi B., who purchased the body of the black woman she mimics, occupies the center of the video, a video the black woman decorates as a costar in her cultural appropriation.

To say that Meg the Stallion and Normani’s presence in this video proves disappointing would be an understatement. With this being said, I also know that their inclusion is not without strategy. Particularly, Normani and Meg the Stallion’s presence only occur to solidify blackness as an inclusive American entity. Rendering the black woman as peripheral in her narrative conveys an exclusivity that undergirds the selective inclusivity the video posits.

This visual, which juxtaposes the Normanis with the Rosalies, or the creators with the consumers, proclaims that “we are all in this together,” a statement consummated by Kylie Jenner’s cameo. Jenner’s inclusion consummates the American effort to deem black culture accessible. Her cameo embodies the canvass contrived to relegate black women to the sidelines simultaneously bearing the seasoned centrality promised to the African-adjacent woman.

Furthermore, the integratory culture imposed under the guise of universality solely benefits those who caught and kidnapped the culture born from the loins of African lineage. To regard WAP as what the western world promises as its future, refutes blacks as consumers and reveals a glaring yet conveniently overlooked reality; the black collective not only built this country, they created American culture.

This creation engenders a reactionary consumer. Moreover, Cardi B and Kylie Jenner illuminate reactions to the black female aesthetic. Thus, while their appropriation seeks to assassinate the African origin of said traits, their surgically enhanced canvasses illuminate the power those descended from African abductees hold in their being.

*I reference the same praxis when I employ the phrasing “Americanizing the Africanist presence.”

*”Africanist presence” and “black” function synonymously in this post

2 thoughts on “WAP: White Africanized Presence

  1. This song and it’s imagery is absolutely non constructive to Lives and Minds of black people. Just think of all the confused black boys and black girls as well as black adults being influenced by degradation and we can see how this is not music, this is noise and the purpose of this noise is to attack black people and justify our mistreatment. She should have named the song, “It’s some Slaves in this House.”

  2. Thank you very much for this challenging and insightful post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I have recently published an article on my blog about the song WAP and the discourse surrounding female rappers and songs about sexual activity. If you have time, it would be great if you could check out my post and let me know your thoughts! Thank you very much! All the best 🙂

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