Why It’s Wrong, Stupid, And Self-Defeating To Be Mad About Eric Benet’s “Redbone Girl”

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Twitter is how our reactions to it instinctively let us know exactly how “relevant” a star currently happens to be. For instance, no one bats an eye if a name like Obama, Lebron, or Rihanna is repeatably showing up in people’s mentions. The same concept could be applied to someone like Stevie J, except that for someone like him, their “relevance” is completely time dependent. (In Stevie J’s case, it’s dependent on whether “Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta” is currently airing or if Joseline has murdered him yet)

On the other hand, you have celebrities so far off the current relevancy grid that their name trending only inspires one immediate reaction:

“Oh shit, **** just died!”

With that being said, you can imagine my elation last week when seeing Eric Benet’s name all over Twitter, immediately thinking he was dead, feeling bad, feeling even worse for not feeling as bad as I thought I should, feeling completely shitty for asking myself if it would be wrong to sleep with a woman who used to be married to a dead guy, and feeling much better when seeing that he was in fact alive and that the only reason why he was trending was because of a song he recently released.

The song? “Redbone Girl.” The tweet-able issue? Some people were feeling a certain way about the fact that he devoted an entire song to light-skinned Black women.

After listening to the song and reading a few of the articles devoted to it, I knew what my official stance would be — “This controversy is so f*cking stupid it’s making my ears bleed” — but I wasn’t quite sure which angle I would take when writing about it.

I initially considered making a list titled “10 Reasons Why It’s Wrong To Be Mad About Eric Benet’s “Redbone Girl.” That list would have included perfectly legitimate reasons such as “Light-skinned Black women are Black people too” and “No one gave a shit when he made “Chocolate Legs,” and I also would have touched on how insane we looked giving a light brown-skinned Black man — Yes. Eric Benet is light brown-skinned. The only way he wouldn’t pass a paper bag test is if the paper bags had malaria — shit about writing a song devoted to light-skinned Black women. (“Damn you, Black man, for writing a song about women who happen to the same complexion you happen to be, you self-hating motherf*cker“)

Thing is, while that list would have worked, it would have taken attention away from what I hope is the main takeaway from this, Namely, the fact that becoming upset with people for praising lighter-skinned Black women does nothing but reinforce the opinion that lighter-skinned Black women are, in fact, generally more physically attractive than their darker counterparts. It’s affirmative action for attraction.

I understand that those upset with the Black community’s perpetual praise of mulatto redbone, quadroon, octoroon, and half-cave women feel that the criticism of said praise has historical and sociological merit. This is not incorrect. We have a long and complicated history of giving women “points” just for looking closer to White than other Black women. Even many of the darker-skinned Black women universally praised for their beauty tend to have physical features more synonymous with lighter-skinned women.

Thing is, while complaining about unfairness and eventually demanding that things are made more fair works with other injustices, you cannot demand that people start finding other people more attractive. Physical attraction just doesn’t work like that. You can’t rely on guilt or obligation to make things “equal”. Erections don’t give a damn about social justice.

And, as I said earlier, this process becomes self-defeating because when a person complains about the praise of light-skinned women it implies that the person doing the complaining also feels that light-skinned women are more attractive. It’s as if they’re saying “Them bitches already on top. They don’t need no more praise” — an assertion that makes their gripes disingenuous. It’s not about appreciating what other shades have to offer as much as it’s acquiescing to “defeat” and asking the victors not to stomp on your grave. You want men — and, to be clear, this isn’t all Black men. Not even most — to start praising darker-skinned Black woman more? Instead of getting pissed about the attention redbones receive, start the process by…not caring. Or, even better, start praising darker-skinned women more yourself.

Now, should I have touched on the fact that Eric Benet reached out to Lil Wayne — the founder, president, and social media manager of “f*ckdarkbuttbitches.com” — to drop a verse for this song? Maybe. Am I being generous with the hyperbole by calling this issue about a song seven people outside of the Benet family have actually heard a “controversy?” Definitely. You’ll have to forgive me, though. I’m just glad Eric Benet is still living, and I suggest those sore about redbone chicks getting praise from singers and rappers they wouldn’t be interested in dating anyway start living too.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

“Light-Skinned Points,” “Accent Points,” And More “Points” That Make People Seem Much More Attractive Than They Really Should Be

Still a bit confused on how this whole points thing works

***This is a revised version of an entry that originally posted three years ago. Enjoy***

In August of 2008, Panama blessed the VSB pulpit with “wlsg,” an entry which provided a definition for “light skinned points”

Light-skinned point(s). noun. 1) the additional attention that fairer skinned light skinned women receive over their darker-skinneded sisters whether or not their face actually warrants any attention at all. 2) the assumed increase in attractiveness laid before melanin deficient black women whether or not their face actually warrants any attention at all.

***For those still unclear about what this means, just think Evelyn Lozada.***

Yet, although this term gets the most mileage, it’s far from the only time black people assign “Points” —  the possession of an attribute or characteristic that makes a person seem much, much, more desirable than they really should be.

Here are 10 more.

1. Dark-Skinned Black Male Points

Single-handedly responsible for the popularity of Wesley Snipes, Taye Diggs, and at least two of them 112 n*ggas.

2. “She looks good for her age” Points

A few years ago, I had a 40-something colleague who all of the older (and younger) male teachers were sweating, as well as a few of the students, who’d always remark “Damn. if she looks like that now, imagine how fine she was at 25″. I agreed, until I saw a 20 year old yearbook picture of her, and was shocked to see that she looked exactly the same. At 25, she looked like a really good looking 47 year old.

3. Poet Points

I originally was going to just make it “Black Male Poet Points” until I remembered that female poets and spoken word performers have their audiences in a certain trance as well. Seriously, if you’re a Black spoken word artist and you still can’t get any kind of romantic rhythm, maybe sex with live humans just isn’t in the cards for you now, or ever

4. Big, ummmm, “Ego” Points

Put it this way: There’s a reason why at least 7 percent of the cats in every hood have never bothered to get driver’s licenses

5. “Good” hair Points

For many black men, the allure of the “good” hair is just as strong if not stronger than the light skinneded points. Seriously, I’ve seen n*ggas do back flips for minotaurs in pumas just because they could imagine playing in their hair

6. “Thick for a White girl” Points

For those who doubt the power of thick for a white girl points, ask any 28 to 40 year old brotha if he’s ever had a prolonged fantasy about big-bootied and strong-faceded Jenny Von Oy.

7. Black Male Blogger Points

Um, moving on…

8. “Shes a well-adjusted freak” Points

Because of the peculiar mammy/madonna/whore complex that affects how the Black community regards our women, orgasmic women who don’t sleep around but actually get great pleasure out of having jungle monkey matrix sex (and aren’t the least bit shy about admitting it) are at a premium, even if looks wise they happen to be more John Kerry than Kerry Washington.

9. Black guy who only dates Black women Points

Um, moving on again…

10. Foreign accent Points

N*ggas love nan’s (non-American nigg*s) with “exotic” accents more than midgets love Ikea. Seriously, if you’re a Black man or Black woman who’s having trouble dating, just barricade yourself in your apartment with tapes of Hugh Grant or Penelope Cruz for a month and practice sounding exactly like them.

That’s it for now.

People of VSB.com, did I miss anything?

Are there any other “points” out there that you’ve seen successfully affect someone’s desirability? Also, do you personally possess any “points” and, have you ever been “influenced” by an otherwise unattractive point haver?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

all points bulletin

Crowd-cropped

in august of 2008, p blessed the vsb pulpit with wlsg, an entry which provided a definition for “light skinned points”

Light-skinned point(s). noun. 1) the additional attention that fairer skinned light skinned women receive over their darker-skinneded sisters whether or not their face actually warrants any attention at all. 2) the assumed increase in attractiveness laid before melanin deficient black women…whether or not their face actually warrants any attention at all.

***for those still unclear, just think christine beatty.***

yet, although this term gets the most mileage, its far from the only time black people assign “points”, the possession of an attribute or characteristic that makes a person seem much, much more desirable than they really should be.

here’s 10 more. Continue reading

email of the week: male stock options

soon to be former mayor kilpatrick with christine beatty, the patron saint of light-skinned points

soon to be former mayor kilpatrick with mistress christine beatty, the patron saint of light-skinned points

i received this email a couple of weeks ago from ashley “the fireman” johnson (aka “hood bradley“), a friend of vsb.com

IS THERE A FAITHFUL POLITICIAN OUT THERE…ANYWHERE?

If we just go w/ the big scandals…we first heard about JFK and Marilyn, then Bill and Monica, most recently Elliot Spitzer and the Miami pro, now John Edwards.

(Oh, and lets not forget Thomas J. and Sally Hemmings — who started it ALL…)

What is it w/ these fellas and their inability to stay faithful. The power? The prestige? The young, fresh intern-quality @$$ just lying around D.C.?

And what is is about their wives, who be standing right next to ‘em at the “blow up ya’ spot press conference”?

Lastly…Barack. Will he fall victim too, if he assumes the throne? ‘Cause you can imagine that Michelle would box-cutter that playa.

ashley could have very easily substituted powerful/popular man for “politician” in the title, and the theme would have remained the same. as reluctant as i am to admit that any particular gender has the edge in the cheating sweepstakes, history has shown us that men with elevated social status seem to be more likely to sidestep faithfulness and monogamy more than anyone else.

from the theory that the type of competitive and borderline compulsive personalities that high achieving men typically possess usually extends to the way they view the opposite sex to the fact that this same hyper-assertion and aggression is an aphrodisiac for many women, there are myraid possible reasons for this dynamic…but maybe chris rock is right. maybe we’re truly only as faithful as our options.

as much as i love to get on my ivory tower and bray about the fundamental selfishness and weakness exhibited in habitual cheating, maybe every guy (including the champ), regardless of how moral they claim to be, has a “breaking point”, a p**sy point of no return. maybe the only thing separating me from kwame kilpatrick (other than the fact that i would have at least picked a chick who didn’t look like the mulatto version of bea arthur) is that i just haven’t reached mine…yet.

honestly, i’m stumped. people of vsb.com, how would you answer ashley’s questions?

—the champ