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Rihanna’s ‘Pour it Up’ Video Evokes Skank Culture & Induces Vomit

v-rihanna-pour-it-up-video-the-jasmine-brand-592x595Okay. So, Rihanna (whom I have previously referred to as ‘Ri-hoe-na’) released a video this week for her nonsense string of words (aka song) called “Pour it Up.” Aside from the obviously oxymoronic nature of the title (not sure how on the planet Earth one can pour liquid upward given the gravitational pull thing), the song is literally about strippers, money, and sex. No joke. There is literally no other content in the almost unintelligible display of ignorance that is Rihanna’s number one export to the world. In a single video, she managed to send the message that performing sexual acts for money is the way to “ball out” while simultaneously identifying herself as a high paid prostitute. Do I really have to keep watching Rihanna’s under boobs and butt crack if I want to see her music videos? Is this the current direction for hip hop?

Is this secretly a cry for help that none of us seems to be recognizing for what it is? I mean, she is dressed like Marilyn-Monroe-Brown-Skank Barbie. While the video made me feel like I had morning sickness all over again, it was the messaging more than the visuals that disturbed me the most. We have truly become a skank culture.

You don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself.

I have absolutely no idea what if any meaning this song holds. But, I take several issues with the video release.

First, when I went to YouTube to view the video, the preceding advertisement was for Keith Urban, a popular country artist. At first, I was confused as to why this artist would want to be attached to such a racy and explicit display of whoredom to promote an album about guitars, prairies, and love. Then, I realized that sex-ploitation is an acceptable medium in this country. The fact that the video displays Rihanna with bejeweled stickers over her nipples, a bikini g-string get-up, and twerking spread eagle on a throne of sorts isn’t really disassociated from the mentality that young black women are supposed to look like that. So, it probably just means that a lot of people who would want to buy Urban’s new album are also going to want to watch the “Rihanna Skank Show”. I guess white people who love traditional country music also enjoy seeing a scantily clad Rihanna reduce herself to a proverbial street walker for hundred dollar bills. Who’d a thunk it?

My second issue with the modern display of Jezebel coonery was that there seemed to be an ample dose of women of color in the video more than willing to play Rihanna’s back up skanks for a few bucks. How much does one need to be paid to feel proud of being the skank painted blue and twerking in a puddle of water? At what point does that sound professional on a résumé? Nobody was like, “Hey, this is a really skanky video. I’m better than this”? I mean really. This is the type of garbage that used to be relegated to “BET Uncut” after like 11pm on weeknights. This type of lasciviousness was once seen as harmful and meant for an adult audience only. Now, I can literally just search for it and pull it up on YouTube. It’s like soft porn for music.

My last and probably most salient issue with this whole skank culture brand is that young women like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus seem to be giving into the messaging that they have to simulate sex to the greatest degree possible to be as successful as their fully clothed male peers. Media outlets pit these young women against each other in the music industry’s own Whore Olympics. USA Today ran an article explaining that “Rihanna out-twerks Miley” in her new video. Was there a competition going on? And does winning said competition make you a winner? I feel like in some real way out-twerking Miley Cyrus just makes you a bigger loser than she is.

I am all for the business of business. Make money. But, do we really have to keep seeing butt crack, tongues, and half-boobs in order for you to keep a roof over your head?Rihanna_Pour_It_Up_BTS_304x304

When I see trash like this, it makes me think about young women, especially young women of color. Struggling to redefine themselves in an era when the Jezebel (stereotype wherein black women are seen as purely sexual objects) prevails in the music and movie industries, these young ladies often have to take the “each one teach one” approach. You know, you pay it forward hoping that the example you set will help guide someone whom you encounter.

But, Rihanna really seems not to give a crap about that. It seems like she and the Mileys of the world have a cult-like obsession with the shamelessness they feel when straddling things in front of music execs worth millions more than them. Rihanna so eloquently put it in her song when she notes that she can simply call up “Jay” and cut a deal. Cause you know Jay-Z endorses the hoe life. And, in a way, we all do too. We have sensationalized the trickalation status of young women. Then we wonder why skank culture seems to overlap with rape culture. We wonder why men objectify and assault young women when overall the messaging is that being a hoe is fun.

Every time someone like Miley or Rihanna releases a video like this or has a performance where we have to watch butt cheeks the entire time, they make it just that much harder for normal women to function in society. They make it more difficult for each of us to be ourselves when they set the expectation that young women who look a certain way are about a particular thing. And, they don’t care. That’s what makes me want to vomit. Cause, I mean, what can we really do about that? Stop buying the records? Boycott? Write a petition?

Will that change anything? Or do we just have to sit and wait until the skanks come home to roost?

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Jenn M. Jackson is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. She is a native of Oakland, CA and has resided in sunny SoCal ever since she met her second half, Daren, at USC in 2002. Bringing the bourgie and good measure of the nerdy, she fearlessly writes about politics, pop culture, and whatever other topics in black America have firmly planted a bee in her bonnet.