Against my better judgement, I watched some of Meg Thee Stallion’s virtual concert. Meg Thee Stallion may be what this artist calls herself, but I’m uncomfortable with the black woman and animal juxtaposition, so I will call Meg Thee Stallion Megan. While Megan appears authentic in her demeanor, her sexuality, the commodified core of her artistry, conveys a performance of the white imaginary. What a twerking black woman does is not sexy; rather, it gift wraps white supremacist auction block politics in contemporary movement. Though requiring movement, these performances delineates the stagnancy of a supremacist praxis.
The concert attempted to veil its sinister intentions with an awkward inclusion of several names of black people killed by the soldiers of white supremacy. The irony is, the same system that encouraged and legalized these executions, is the same ambiance that foments Meg the Stallion’s success. Though the slain delineate an overt invisibility in the eyes of the law, Meg the Stallion betrays the media as succeeding best when seeming to see those who also incur invisibility behind a white nationalist veil.
The true damage is, of course, not in the individual slain or afforded the spotlight, but the collective casualties that occur as a result. Meg the Stallion seems to conspicuously consummate liberation through her wealth, but it is her placement under the spotlight that posits her status as free. The word free, in an American context, means seen. This ideology corresponds to why the “first black (fill in the blank)” remains a fixture in American nuance. The “first black” statement marks optics as suggesting opportunity and said optics function as an opportunity in the American archive. Similarly, Megan appears to present an opportunity for the black woman to be seen as sexy and authoritative, but in seeming to present a new way for the black woman to consume herself, the white nationalist ideals masked by the “Hollywood” label creates a way to ensure that the black woman fails to move beyond her auction black ancestry. There is nothing sexier, in a white supremacist world, than a black woman whose worth remains espoused to what the white male gaze determines it to be.
Megan, like, the rap duo City Girls, renders hypersexual lyrics that glorify twerking and simultaneously denigrate black men and women while itemizing sexual encounters. Specifically, both Megan and City Girls posit the female sexual organ as consummating its potential when engendering a high “sale” from interested males willing to pay for female pleasure. This culture of a woman’s genitals as her goldmine is, of course, not limited to Megan or City Girls. Both examples do however, evidence acts created from consumption, but perhaps most significantly, Megan and City Girls engender a culture of young, black female consumers who believe they are creating a liberated sexual identity while consuming auction block culture. For example, City Girl’s recent single “P*ssy Talk” (featuring newcomer Doja Cat), like much of Megan’s catalogue, describes the black female sexual organ as something that men must afford, and as something employed as the commerce necessary to purchase symbols of wealth like designer purses. Colloboratively, the contemporary black female rapper combines rap with stripper culture, delineating the white imaginary as implementing the black female emcee to create a generation of black women fit to be consumed by a white nationalist agenda.
Twerking and splitting only corresponds to being bought and sold when it’s not what we do in private, or what we do for fun, but what we do in hopes of acquiring what makes us feel seen. This visibility makes those seeking vindication from a white nationalist gaze, feel free. What Megan and City Girls actualize is what appears to be a nuanced appreciation for a black woman’s backside and sexuality, whereas what consumers experience is the white imaginary creating a back door to a hegemonic house the black woman built, but never lived in.
To adopt twerking or white supremacist sexiness as liberation is to incur the domestic tasks of our foremothers sans the ability to leave with the self-respect they never sacrificed. Furthermore, we, as a collective, will continue to lose every time we try to win under a white nationalist gaze. As long as we continue to wait for what will never be voluntarily given, this white nationalist space will continue to conjure new ways to mask old evils. As long as we continue to wait, many will smile at entry through the back door and even label it progress, without considering the true freedom of walking through the front door of their own house.
Furthermore, for any African in America, there is nothing “sexier” then autonomy.