By Jay Dodd
We shouldn’t be laughing at Drake right now. Like for real.
Say what you want about the memes, and lists, and tweets reacting to Madonna’s latest shock attempt, but it’s not funny yet. Madonna can’t perform that type of “domination” in such a public forum without critique. His face said it all. Drake’s face was of disgust and shock. Madonna’s arrogance gleaming, almost grotesque, beside him. But she stay doing this. Madonna stay exploiting Black men/of color who serve as sexual prop for her own attempts at taboo. She stay attempting to politicized her body by positioning it near and around Blackness. She stay having this history of Black men she attempts to keep in her wake. Whether this Cochella “highlight” was rehearsed or not, the optics of this kind of dynamic is troubling.
Madonna has been on a crusade to be the most un-self aware White woman of the century. From calling her son “#disnigga” on Instagram andcomparing her oeuvre to Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley. She is one of the original modern appropriators and has exploited popular Black bodies before (see: Tupac). Her most recent quips declaring ageism as the new “Black” of sorts, positioning it as “the worst thing” we casually allow. (Because they aren’t killing Black people of all ages right now in America). Madonna’s flippant ignorance sets an uncomfortable stage for her interaction with Drake. She is clearly trying to assert a power. Her power as a woman is unquestioned, but she too is White, and has a dynamic power in relation to Drake.
While (Black) men are complicit in misogyny against all women, White women have a different conversation. White women have participated in anti-Blackness in ways only they can. They have been unjustly positioned as the pure and fragile and Blackness, her enemy. White supremacy positions white women as the most vulnerable to threat of Black men; we feel this weight. Some Black men prize White women as sign of “making it” —that’s both misogynist and a colonial thought. Other Black men know the danger White women could bring. Black mothers warn of white women with white fathers. For many Black men, a White woman is just as terrifying as a White man.
We also are complicit in misogyny and must complicate our “distrust” of any woman. We must locate any violence as it is. But there is a dynamic here.
There is a dynamic between Drake and Madonna. What could he do? On a global stage with a powerful woman with significantly more capital? He was, in many ways, powerless. She really could have taken that as far as she wanted. His face said it all. Whatever could have been planned was not that.
There is so much more (Black) men need to be doing to combat misogyny and sexism, and we must also acknowledge subjugation as it appears. We need language to call out White women for their complicity in racism against Black men/of color. That language needs not to reproduce misogynistic violence.That language needs to find a word for the emotions Drake must of felt as Madonna strutted off.
If I had read Harry Potter, I’d make a better dementor joke.
Jay Dodd is a writer and performance artist based in Boston, originally from Los Angeles. After recently graduating Tufts University, Jay has organized vigils and protests locally for Black Lives Matter: Boston. When not in the streets, Jay has contributed to Huffington Post and is currently a contributing writer for VSNotebook.com, based in London. Jay Dodd is active on social media celebrating Blackness, interrogating masculinity, and complicating queerness. His poetic and performance work speaks to queer Black masculinity and afrofuturism.