Saturday, December 07, 2013

Why Does Rebecca Black's "Saturday" End With A Racist Image?

The music video for Rebecca Black's "Saturday" is a mostly harmless work of entertainment. The production values in both the music and the video are notably stronger than Black's "Friday." Her voice has been better autotuned not to attract derision, the lyrics are no better but at least hide themselves of any pointed mockery, while making slight allusions to erasing the exposure of previous work ("Trying to get Friday out of my head"), and it is mostly shot on what looks like real sets. It's completely banal and not worth anyone's time really, except for one thing.

The ending of of "Saturday," features a number of teens dancing at a home party and having a good time. Suddenly, as the music stops, the door to the home randomly opens, revealing a cop arresting a protesting black male. The man quotes some of the lyrics from Black's "Friday," and is perhaps a reference to Patrice Wilson, who appeared in the song and video. 

This event has no relationship to the rest of the narrative of the video, making it notably striking. The black male has not been attending the party, nor has he been seen "stalking" the white kids through the video. For four minutes, we follow a number of innocuous affluent white teens having a good Saturday afternoon and partying without supervision in an affluent white home, and then we're suddenly presented with this final image, after the music has ended, so we're forced to pay attention to it. What is the intention behind this image?

My one guess is that Black sees this as revenge. She considers Wilson an enemy, that perhaps as a producer for ARK Music Factory that they sabotaged her career by incidentally making a meme out of her, and also over WIlson's refusal to turn over the master tapes and the subsequent lawsuit against him. But this image, of an older black male being hostile and handled by the police, in a video that otherwise features no police and only one other black male teen (wearing glasses, and thus "safe"), it's a troubling, frankly racist image. Even if Black wanted to mock Wilson, why would she have him being handled by police? It's one I would like to know more about—whose decision it was to end the video as such, how it was designed to be part of the narrative, and why no one realized how frankly insulting the image would be in a time of a larger national conversation on police violence against African American males. The lack of cultural awareness is striking. 

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

it's just a parody of patrice wilson, god damn, lighten up, writing stupid shit like this is why racism still exists

not to mention there's another black guy in the party scenes dancing at 2:20

learn to laugh a little. shit.

Anonymous said...

Laugh? How was it at all funny?
The ending didn't even fit with the music video, and ruined the whole thing.
I thought it was lame enough that the party crowd wasn't multicultural.
Didn't have a problem with that till the ending confirmed it.

Did you look up this blog just to tell someone to laugh about it?
About a sad issue that some people tend to laugh about and then brush under the carpet?
Anyway it was a great blog post. Glad people are addressing this immediately.

Robin said...

Googled this just to see if I was the only one thinking it. The ending is shockingly, overtly, deeply racist. It doesn't fit with the rest of the song, it's not set to music, the other rich white kids are staring at the big angry black stereotype like he's a zoo animal while he gets punished for having his fun. Incidentally, that cop seems to be ONLY arresting the n-word, not arresting the other kids or even shutting down the party. WOW

Anonymous said...

I watched the video to have a laugh....in the end i'm left with a strong feeling of racism from the last scene which had nothing to do with the rest of the song.Way to propagate racism Rebecca

Anonymous said...

No no no it's not racist at all.

It's parodying her creepy old producer from the video "Friday". Viewers criticized the last song for having a certainly older man rapping in a preteen video.

This song is making fun of him, with police officers arresting a black man (supposedly the previous producer) as he tries to crash the party. If you listen closely, he's shouting the rap lyrics from "Friday" as well.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, the majority of the people in her video are probably people she knows as friends, and friends of those friends, just as in the Friday video. It's unreasonable to expect a girl who's still high school age and lives with her parents to automatically live in a diverse enough environment where she knows enough people to have a diverse representation in the video.

Furthermore, even if her parents have money to hire outside actors, she's probably still too young to be completely knowledgeable about these issues, and to create an all-inclusive, all-respectful professional production. She probably doesn't see the problem with the joke she (or Dave Days?) made - to her, her thinking is, well, I want to parody Patrice Wilson creepily showing up uninvited to this party to rap at the end, and I want viewers to think specifically of that guy. Unfortunately, she has evoked an image of a serious social issue of which she is likely unaware - hard to lay all the blame her specifically, when many admire Mayor Bloomberg and others for creating and implementing government policies that lead to such police discrimination in the name of "safety."

Anonymous said...

That being said, I hope she reads the comments and accepts this as a valid criticism, just as much as I hope people don't chew her out over this mistake as badly as they treated her over Friday, yeesh.

Ben said...

This is getting ridiculous... The constant cries of racism over benign incidents and the onslaught of faux-outrage by self-righteous white liberals who are just attention-whores that are trying present themselves as morally superior to everyone else is doing a DISSERVICE to the victims of REAL racism. Constantly screaming racism at every turn waters down the term, and makes people numb to any claim of racism because so many of them anymore are like this: meaningless. So when REAL racism happens, no one listens or cares because the claim means nothing anymore!

The more authors who act as the "little boy crying wolf" there are, the less the word means. There are plenty of real acts of rasicm to try and stop in this world, you don't need to make them up at every single corner.

Grow up, and next time you cry wolf, think about what your real motives are, and who you are really hurting. Articles like this are a pathetic disgrace, and authors like this are weak, sad little men.

Ben said...

Or, she is trying taking a jab Patrice Wilson, the man who produced Friday, and whom she is in a legal dispute with because she did not receive any of the money made by the song and video.

What's more racist, putting a portrayal of the guy she feels she was "robbed" being arrested as a way to get back at him, or the person who sees a video like this, and immediatly thinks "theyre saying all black people are criminals!!!"

Why did you mind jump to a though of black people being criminals? Apparently that's what your subconscious is thinking since its the first thing you went to. That sounds pretty racist to me. So then to make yourself feel better and say "well I'm definitely not racist... I'm offended!! A racist person wouldn't be offended by such racism, so clearly I can't be racist... Phew! I better go post on the internet about this, so the world can know how not racist I am!"

Racism is a VERY serious problem... Stop watering it down with meaningless claims like this. Eventually, no one will take real racism seriously anymore because of people like you screaming "racism!!!" at every event they don't like.

Anonymous said...

The writer that ranted about "crying wolf" over racism would not be saying this if they understood the experiences of true victims-of the negative stereotype presented in this video.

Despite the background with the dispute, that doesn't change what I saw first saw and felt. She really did noooot have to address it in this way either. But "she's young...?" Welps maybe her youth kept her from being a little more clever about the joke. But if you want to present this argument, you have to admit that it's pretty sad how ignorant she is...And this "innocent" ignorance is a common problem in the U.S. and beyond.

I didn't know about the problems with Wilson until after I looked up the reasons behind the end of the vid. Even after finding out it was a joke...still left a pretty sour taste. Because I've been victim to innocent "mistakes or jokes" as a young black woman. Most I've ignored, but some stung a bit and held me back. But mehhh I got past all that. That's what growing up and University life is for.

Yes the dude was wrong, but Rebecca could've been a little more clever or mature about it. I had a better and improved image of her, until I saw the end of the video.

Even if the initial intent wasn't racist, that does not change the way blacks are viewed in this country. We should be working on making little steps of progress. In stead of dwelling in the negative bits. Meanwhile young girls and guys like her think these kinds of "jokes" are acceptable.

I can't blame kids that aren't privileged enough to experience multicultural diversity, like I did growing up. They just might not know any better, if they're used to thinking comfortably within a box. Instead they see mainstream images/entertainment and stereotypes, and keep that as a base of knowledge.

I've found this problem across various ethnicities and races--not just within black and white communities (alike). But blehh these are problems... Well then, what about solutions? This video was not a positive solution to her issue with the dude Patrice (even if he was a meanie).

Sorry for the super lengthy rant (^ 3 ^)

Eric Hardeman said...

late comment but i agree with what the first guy and some of the others said, in no way was this racist and she was simply mocking Patrice Wilson. If he were white and the same things happened, she probably would have had the same ending but with a white guy, had nothing to due with his race, and STOP blaming her youth for why she chose to get revenge in that way

and am i the only one smart enough to realize that he got arrested in the joke because he was a middle aged man driving a bunch of young teenage girls unsupervised?

Angela Black said...

I just saw this video now(late to the party) and the ending was a slap in the face. I'm not nearly educated in the ways of Rebecca Black's history or life drama or business drama. I have only ever listened to the song Friday and now Saturday. So, the ending of this video was a slap in the face and a big WTF moment. I instantly was like "Dude, why did Rebecca Black's video just end with this super racist random scene?" and now I see a lot of folks defending it because there was this history there that makes it not racist blah blah, but the fact that you have to have an education on Rebecca Black's life to make that moment seem less racist shows that it was in incredibly poor taste and should NOT be part of her video. Thanks for writing this article and pointing it out. Rebecca Black should really do a retrospective on what she and her team did wrong there.