Sex sells out R&B traditions

I was 20 years old the first time I watched The Supremes perform. I happened to stumble upon one of those black-and-white shows on Nickelodeon at a ridiculous hour. I was entranced from the very first note. Three young ladies with voices like angels, modestly dressed, singing about the highs and lows of love. How beautiful these women were! How classy! No wonder they were referred to as “America’s sweethearts.”By the time they were finished, I was squealing and jumping on my bed like a schoolgirl. I went to bed humming, hearing the same symphony that Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard sang about. The next morning, my alarm clock went off to some chickenhead rapping about the parts of her body that her lover could lick. It depressed me so much that I went back to bed and prayed it was a nightmare. It wasn’t. How did we fall off so fast and so far, music-wise? Once upon a time, chanteuses wore dresses and heels and carried themselves w with dignity. Now, we’re lucky if they wear anything at all. It used to be a terrible thing for men to refer to women as b-s and whores. Nowadays, female musicians demand to be referred to as such. And other women seem to love it. Women are solely responsible for the images that are seen of women in the American media. The cries of exploitation are bogus. It’s not exploitation if women willingly pose with little clothing and their breasts out – be it for pornography or for something as simple as cologne. No one seems to mind. If Ja Rule showed up to FAMU tomorrow and said that he needed 100 naked women for a video, I guarantee that 500 Rattler women will be standing there, ready to strip for free. But how did we get to this? The Supremes didn’t do it. Aretha didn’t do it. Gladys and Patti and Dionne didn’t do it. They relied on their talents, not their bodies, to get ahead in the male-dominated industry. They hold sales and awards records that have stood the test of time. These women were the real pioneers of music. These are the women young girls should be looking up to, not some cellulite-laden former stripper with a song titled, “No Panties.” What kind of message does this send to our girls? Personally, I feel the whole so-called movement is a crock. I think it’s full of minimally talented tramps that have given up on demanding respect from their male counterparts, and opted to serve themselves. And the same minimally talented tramps will support their own every time You’re free to call me what you will. But people don’t watch a Lil’ Kim video for her rapping any more than they watch pornography for the dialogue. And no once can even remember what Mercedes sang; rather, they remember her stretch marked behind hanging out of a G-string on the cover of her CD. Women are never going to get ahead in the music industry by these so-called sexual politics. The singers of the past have proven that it’s not needed to begin with. I’m sure that they’re horrified to see what their sacred circle of music has turned into. It’s time for women to stop buying albums that call us ho’s. It’s time for us to stop wobbling around in stiletto heels and push-up bras to the local rap video shoot. It’s time for us to demand some r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

J. Danielle Daniels, 20, is a junior political science student from Dallas. She is the Famuan’s deputy opinions editor She can be reached at