Commentary: Is "Black Girls" a Fetish Track?

Commentary: Is "Black Girls" a Fetish Track?

There's been a certain aversion to the song "Black Girls" by the band Chester French, which some say fetishizes Black women. Some would say the song is getting a bad rap.

Published April 25, 2012

People are mad about pop music again.

Today, the rage is directed at a new song and music video from the Massachusetts band Chester French.  

The song: Black Girls

Sample lyric: “I've got a thing for Black girls / La la la la la, la la / La la la la la / Yeah, my mom says I've got a thing for Black girls.”

The video for the song depicts a white woman lip-syncing the track while dancing around a Black woman.

It’s pretty direct: You know what Chester French is saying. But is it offensive?

"We don’t know how to feel about this song and video,” writes the Urban Daily, a Black culture site. “Are Black women a fetish for them or what?”

Meanwhile, on Global Grind, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons’s website, the verdict on the video is decidedly lighter: “In effort to address the somewhat taboo topic of interracial relationships, Chester French created a bold and unabashed ode to celebrate Black women and their femininity.”

While I can understand people’s reflexive aversion to Black Girls, if I’m being honest, I think getting up in arms about the song is misguided.

For years, white male artists have been singing the praises of Black women. When Mick Jagger sang, “Ah, brown sugar, how come you taste so good,” back in 1971, he was not talking about sugar. And the Van Morrison song Brown-Eyed Girl was originally titled Brown-Skinned Girl. It was changed so as not to be too risqué on 1960s radio.

Black women, like all women, are beautiful, and acknowledging that beauty doesn’t automatically mean fetishization. As Chester French says at the beginning of its song: "This ain't no fetish / ain't objectifying no one."

Sometimes a song is just a song.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo: Courtesy Interscope Records)

Written by Cord Jefferson


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