Nouns, verbs & unpacked adjectives by St. Paco
Jacked photo (above) by Cigar Aficionado
Jacked photo (above) by Cigar Aficionado
I'm gonna begin this reasoned rant by confessing that I feel as though I'm doing myself a small disservice by even usin' my exquisite mind to ponder the matter that will presently be considered. The sad fact of the matter is, though, that for as long as this matter has been floatin' on the...ether, no one with a unique sense of perspective has 'spoke' on it.
I nominate yours truly.
And so this dirty deed will be done by this writer primarily because he utterly despises that which defies logic. And when a discussion like the one that has inspired this post comes into being--and then refuses to die the appropriate quick and natural death--it's the responsibility of folks like yours truly to make like Missy Elliot and "kill it with a skillet."
Before gettin' down to the nitty gritty now, I would like to offer Jay-Z my apologies for this... Nah, scratch that. To quote a Beyonce verse: "I ain't sorry. I ain't sorry. No, no--hell naw."
Frankly, if a guy has what Busta Rhymes calls "Arab money," and the weight of mo' money mo' problems gets him down, he can take a chauffeur-driven Bentley ride over to where his private jet is hangared, climb aboard, kick off his Yeezys, relax in the Corinthian leather seats, and have the pilot fly him off to an old villa in the south of France, where he can drown all his sorrows in bottles of 19th century wine.
Or...he could just go home and get his bump-n-grind™ on with that bootilicious™ wifey who keeps breakin' iTunes™, Twitter™, Snapchat™, and every other modern day bar by which human achievement is now measured. Either way, he wins.
Now, according to some non-experts in various corners of the interwebs, the suggestions of Jay-Z's "unprettiness" that have dogged him for much of his two decade-old music career are apparently [dramatic pause for effect] a "subconscious manifestation of anti-blackness."
Fhat the wuck?!
Aiight, lemme speak in dialect for a hot minute like somebody born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and 'aks' these hella failed Jungian Psych Majors the $25,000 question:
Whut the heyul kinda’ Kool-Aid™ is ya'll drankin'?
Seriously, have ya'll ever seen Africans before? Yes, those 'melanated' peoples of the Motherland from whom we, "the blacks," inherited most of our unmistakable appearance?
I'm feelin' inclined to say no, because if ya'll had ever seen Africans before, then maybe one of the last things ya'll would be tryna do is make a brotha whose caramel complexion would prolly pass the infamous Brown Paper Bag Test ("Skee Wee®!") a poster child for blackness.
Young Hov in '88
By that anti-logic, Jay-Z's mug exemplifies that of our African ancestors more than any. other. brotha. in modern pop culture. Ergo, this is the reason why some... Okay, a lot of folks think that the dude ain't pretty. Because...deep seated anti-black self-hatred.
Jesus, Isis, and Osiris. Can a man’s face simply not fit any one of the textbook concepts of handsomeness? Can his face not have a generally pleasing symmetry and it just be okay?
No? Well, walk with me. Because I have ten foolproof reasons why that subconscious self-hatred theory is trash.
Ten reasons why that 'anti-blackness' theory used to explain criticisms of Jay-Z's looks is trash
1. Fifty Cent is reason number one. He's been in the rap game for almost as long as Jay. He got shot a couple times, was hospitalized, and went to jail (I think). But ladies love him. Maybe not as much as they love LL Cool J, but LL was a pretty mama's boy. Fiddy was a thug.
2. Will. i. am leads the rap group Black-Eyed Peas. He may not be on any of the "Sexiest Dudes" lists, but if he ever got shot up and spent some time pumpin' iron in the pokey, he'd prolly be number one with a bullet. Women are attracted to dangerous thugs. (See #10)
3. Wesley Snipes is a great actor and a bad boy too (read: prison time). And for over two decades, he's been on the Sexual Chocolate List of many. In fact, one woman I dated even named her kid Romello, after his character in New Jack City! So, is Wesley the keeper of your woman's panties? (Genesis 4:9.5) Yes, he is.
4. Idris Elba is an actor whose face has graced numerous men's magazines. Sales in those months are known to spike due to the flocks of chicks who cop those issues for an Idris fix. He can make women undress faster than you can say "Rainbow Bridge." (Yup, a Thor movie reference for the geeky mamas.)
5. Morris Chestnut had a partial nude scene in The Best Man Holiday...and gave Wendy Williams and millions of other broads across the country eyegasms. (He gets just one sentence for that. Fucker.)
6. Emmitt Smith is both a Super Bowl and a Dancing With the Stars champion. He was also featured on TV's Who Do You Think You Are?, where genetic testing found him to be 81% African, one of the highest Motherland percentages they'd seen. He could prolly have Beyoncé if he wanted her.
7. Akon is an American singer with roots in Senegal, West Africa. In his past, he also spent time in jail, because America just looooves black folks in bondage. Nevertheless, the ladies love this talented "Konvict," and would gleefully role play "sexy prison guard" for him N-E-day.
8. Dijimon Honsou is an actor and model from Benin who has been featured in music videos, Calvin Klein underwear ads and countless films. He's been on "Sexy Man" lists from E! Entertainment to Essense. And for many--my sister included--Honsou is the chocolate gladiator of love.
9. K'Naan is rapper from Somalia who immigrated to Canada as a teen. Growing up, he lost friends to murder, suicide, prison and deportation. But he gained fans across the planet by mastering rap music. And his East African looks with curly, Nubian locks are prolly a plus.
10. Mike Coulter is a fairly new face in American pop culture. But his recent star turn on 2016's hit Netflix TV show Luke Cage has fangirls across the country wanting Coulter to take 'em out for late nite coffee. If you've seen the show, you know exactly what that means.
Side note: For full disclosure, this writer may have placed Coulter in the final spot in the deluded dream that the actor might hook a brotha up with co-star Simone Missick. To quote an old LL verse, I would "take her breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breakfast."
So is Jay-Z, by some really backwards-ass logic, supposed to be 'blacker' than many other black male celebs--including brothas from A-f-r-i-c-a--that don't suffer any debilitating stigma of blackness? Hell naw. So ya'll need to take that tripe back to whatever butchered cow ya got it from, stat!
At the end of the day, the criticisms of Jay-Z's looks have nothing to do with anti-blackness. Jay's cosmetic detractors go after the dude for reasons similar to those that drove simple village folk in fabled France to go after the Hunchback of Notre Dame: They hatin'.
Nah, Jay just doesn't have the fairytale looks of the tall, dark and handsome Prince Charming. But he's got platinum records, boo-koo bucks, worldwide acclaim, President Barack Obama's goddamn cellphone number, three beautiful children, and a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious spouse.
The fact that he isn't the dictionary definition of handsome just balances the scales of the universe a bit for a man who has damn near everything. I mean, how much more would it suck for all the rest of us mere mortals if Jay looked like a male model too?
Ol' King Hov
In a Facebook discussion that partially inspired this post, at least half a dozen ladies expressed that they've long thought of Jay-Z as handsome. My mother disagrees with them. But she did buy her son a copy of Jay-Z's Decoded as soon as it came out, because she thinks Jay-Z is brilliant. Her son the blogger agrees.
Note: For those who don't know, "Super Ugly" is actually the title of a song that was written and performed by Jay-Z for that now legendary Jay-Z/Nas battle...that Nas won with the song "Ether." Just saying.