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What The Game’s Been Missing: Neo-Soul Video Vixens


Music videos are part and parcel of the game, and unlike many aspects of the industry, they have gotten better with age (see: Exhibits A, B, and C). Thanks to technological advances, everything from production quality to set design to special effects is so much better than in the olden days. This is an undisputable fact. Sadly though, the roles for women -- especially black women -- are limited.

This is how the typical hip-hop/R&B music video goes:

  • Man singing/rapping about street life
  • Light bright  to light brown complexioned model/s with long hair jiggalatin' in the foreground
  • A rented luxury automobile in front or on top of which "models" gyrate
  • Money, jewelry, and/or ostentatious displays of wealth and/or power
  • Large bottles of pricey liquor and goblets from which to drink it

As a proud member of the Natural Hair Mafia, these images are frustrating. Yes, I use juices and berries  on my lovely locs and shea and cocoa butters to keep my skin supple and soft. However, too often natural sisters such as myself aren't represented as "sexy" or "alluring" but rather as "crunchy" and "militant," which is simply
not true. Outside of Lauryn Hill and India.Arie, I have yet to see a darker skinned leading lady in a mainstream music video, and certainly not one with locs (natural baby hair doesn't count).

So the other day, while messing around on Twitter, my inner hoodrat possessed my spirit and I posed the following question:

@litenthedark: Is it wrong that I want to be a neo-soul video vixen?

A lot of people (and by "a lot people" I mean fewer than the number of fingers on my hand) had some slick things to say in response. Apparently, a neo-soul video vixen should both burn incense and Tootsie Roll on a stripper pole; she should have natural hair (duh); she should hold her man down while aligning her chakras; most of all, she should be scented in oils of frankincense and myrrh but still wear bamboo earrings and booty shorts. Essentially she should have all the positive qualities associated with living a neo-soul lifestyle (vegetarianism, peace, love, light) and the positive attributes of being a vixen (banging body, slim in the waist, cute in the face).

I don't want to disrespect my mama or the ancestors, but part of me feels like it would be cool to be the love interest in a mainstream hip-hop or R&B video. And not on some on some make it rain, trick type ish either. But as someone who is desired, pursued, and doesn't have 10 pounds of "good hair" cascading down her back. I
don't know who it would be *cough* Drake *cough*, but I would want it to be seen by racks upon racks of people, just so they'd know that you can be sexy and have the kitchen of Kunta Kinte.

And for the self-righteous among you who will certainly smite me in the name of Isis for saying I want to be in a music video, pause yourself. Like seriously. Do not act as if you wouldn't drop down and get your eagle on if you were cast as a Maxwell's boo thang in a video. Let's not play the game.

So the question becomes, could you see yourself being a leading lady (or gentleman) in a particular artist's music video? Who would it be, and why? Do you think if I start a #neosoulvideovixen hashtag that indie soul video director Matthew Cherry will cast me in his next video?


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