I really detest delving into salacious, Mediatakeout oriented gossip fare but I think this latest racial dust up speaks to a larger issue. It appears that for the last few hours, several statements that were made by blues-pop guitarist, John Mayer have caused quite a bit of controversy among the cyber crowd. And this occurs in the midst of Black History month, no less. To be more specific, in this month's Playboy magazine, Mayer pontificates on the following: 1) Black people love him; 2) his struggle is similar to that of a black man's and 3) his nether region is "prejudicial" when it comes to Black women. If you haven't guessed, I am paraphrasing what was actually said. For further clarification, check out this snippet, courtesy of well, Playboy:
PLAYBOY: If you didn’t know you, would you think you’re a douche bag?
MAYER: It depends on what I picked up. My two biggest hits are “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters.” If you think those songs are pandering, then you’ll think I’m a douche bag. It’s like I come on very strong. I am a very…I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.
PLAYBOY: Because you’re very?
MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’"
PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.
MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.
PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?
MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.
PLAYBOY: Let’s put some names out there. Let’s get specific.
MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.” And you’d be like, “What? We weren’t talking about that.” That’s what “Heartbreak Warfare” is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.
I really want to keep this brief. I have been criticized by some who visit Afronerd that I do not speak harshly enough when it comes to racial matters. It gets even more complicated when your blog espouses moderate conservatism, nerd culture and Bill Cosby-isms. The funny thing is.....that I really do liken much of the Afronerd mantra to some of the tenets propagated by the nation of Islam, Malcolm X specifically. When do we stop caring about White cultural standards and start dealing with the necessary corrections that are needed in communities of color to move forward? I actually am a fan of Mayer's music and even questioned why certain musical idioms within the Black cultural tradition can't get airplay on Black Radio-irrespective of the artist's nationality. But at the same time, I'm not shocked that a White artist (again, doing essentially Black music) said something off color and racist. As much as I shy away from abject tribalism, perhaps this time-as a collective, Black folks should seek correction and excellence while ignoring for lack of a better term, "white noise." Check out the Merriam-Webster's definition of white noise:
Main Entry: white noise
1 a : a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range — compare pink noise b : a constant background noise; especially : one that drowns out other sounds
2 : meaningless or distracting commotion, hubbub, or chatter
I figured out a long time ago (thanks to my parents and a scoop of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) that there really was (and is) a grand lie perpetrated against folks of color, especially when it comes to matters of inferiority, intelligence and beauty standards. Our dysfunctionalism comes in when we start to believe the lie. I'm sure Mayer will explain himself......maybe he meant something else...but I don't have the time to figure out one's malapropisms. Listen to Malcolm, he compartmentalized this foolishness 40 plus years ago: