Monday, May 31, 2010

Rihanna's a Slave

Madonna set the bar long ago with videos to such songs as "Papa Don't Preach," "Express Yourself," "Justify my Love," and "Erotica." And ever since, pop princesses have been trying to establish themselves by cloning the original -- even while the original has faded into a pathetic case of "look at me, I'm still relevant." It's like a lopsided game of one-upmanship where the newcomer ends up looking like the rodent chasing the fox. If the '80s were good for anything, it was originality.

Lately we've had Lady GaGa pulling off some artsy performance-type of S&M latex-clad crap and now Christina Aguilera is being chastised for making a comeback while mimicking said Lady with her latest single "Not Myself Tonight." Couple of points: Aguilera was "dirty" long before Lady GaGa was on anyone's radar, Aguilera is a million times more talented (vocally, at least), Aguilera is more accessible to the mainstream, and Aguilera isn't a tranny. She has durability and will be here long after GaGa's 15 minutes are up.

Now Rihanna is also guilty for trying to capitalize on some shocking imagery. Sure, she's also using latex and extreme makeup, and, yeah, she looks pretty hot in her video for "Rockstar 101," but as a black performer why is she using slavery and racist imagery with the black paint and chains? Also, I hate it when R&B artists put that token guitar-laden track on their albums. What, you think you're fooling anyone? I'm all for an artist trying to broaden their sound, but please give me an entire album of that sound -- you know, like Ice-T did with Body Count. So, contrary to what Rihanna is saying in this particular track, no, you're not a rock star -- so stop trying to look like Slash and put the dude who's featured on this single in your video.

And to conclude, I feel for the teenage boys who are growing up with the ubiquitousness of these erotic sadomasochistic images.