Today in Post-Race History: Dear John
Dear John Mayer,
Dude, wtf? I was in New Mexico off grid for a few days; I get back home to the Chi, and every straight black girl with a blog now hates you. I had a message in my Facebook inbox with a link to your Playboy interview, so I figured it out. Note to self: friends don’t let friends interview drunk.
Normally, John, I wouldn’t be paying much attention to you. My homegirl, Maegs swears by you, and insists on torturing me at work by playing your albums. I don’t quite understand the allure. You’re kind of like Corinne Bailey Rae to me: people love you, but you bore me to pieces. Don’t get me wrong. I love my sensitive white boys. I dig Damien Rice. Josh Rouse’s 1972 is my album. Amos Lee’s “Skipping Stone”? My jam. Yet for whatever reason, whenever I hear Maegs humming “Daughters,” I start hitting the snooze button. However, you woke me up with your Playboy interview. You infuriated others. You made me shrug. Then again it’s kind of my moral obligation as a blogger on this thing we call pop life to say something, right? So here’s my “something.” Pay attention.
John, Captain Obvious has a message for you: If you want to keep your hood pass from being (temporarily) suspended, you shouldn’t say racially charged things to interviewers. For the most part, you were an arrogant idiot, but that’s no crime. In an effort to sound entertaining, you said things that could be–and have been–interpreted as homophobic. And you put your ex-babes on blast. Really, John? Really? You’ve been in the celebrity game for nearly fifteen minutes; you should have known that even in a Playboy interview one cannot speak with such promiscuity. Dude, you needed a dental dam–seriously.
What really got the colored section of the blogosphere jumping, what really seemed to irritate folks is the looseness with which you spoke of black people’s, particularly black women’s alleged love for you, and the fact that you, in turn, have no love for them. You do, however, believe you have some intimate knowledge of the black experience in America. Um, no, dude. Playing blues guitar does not give you infinite wisdom of blues people.
Listen, John, Dave Chappelle may have issued you a hood pass in 2004, but declaring your penis a white supremacist is never, ever okay. I guess that line was supposed to mean that you’re only sexually attracted to white girls. I don’t really understand the analogy, frankly. I mean, I can’t speak for David Duke, but it seems to me that mad white supremacists have “slept” (raped or otherwise) with black women. Some have even had children with them. (Will the real Strom Thurmond please stand up?) So although I understand what you meant, there’s some blowback in that statement you might want to think about once you sober up, especially if you want to be the smart, introspective pop star and all. I mean, dude, Klan-inspired sobriquets for your male member just ain’t good for your image–even in a Playboy interview. Doing so will only infuriate many, many black women, and you don’t want to do that. Our feelings are kind of hurt right now. None of us can find a good black man. Surely you’ve seen Tiger Woods’ mistresses. Michelle Obama notwithstanding, it’s been an extra tough six months for black women’s desireability quotient. Newflash: Jezebel is dead. A big butt and smile is in recession with the rest of the U.S.’s commodities. We don’t need the extra shade from you.
But I digress. With the Chappelle stamp of approval, a song with Common, a blues band, and hood pass in hand, I’m sure you thought you could use the n-word, no problem. After all, we have a black president–and you voted for him! Wait. Hold on, John. You made a mistake. You went to show your hood pass, but accidentally pulled out that white privilege card. An honest mistake, I’m sure. Tell you one thing: it better not happen again.
Let me help you, John. A hood pass does not mean you get to talk about black people like you know them. It only means that you can appropriate our culture for your own personal gain, and most of us will look the other way and not talk shit about you. In addition, a hood pass entitles you to:
- An office in Harlem. (See Clinton, Bill.)
- An invitation to and/or nomination for NAACP Image Awards, whether or not your work is concerned with (positive) images of black people.
- The opportunity to present one (1) video on 106 & Park.
- The option to participate in one (1) musical tribute to a black star (to be named later) during the next UNCF An Evening of Stars.
- You may employ any of the following rappers for a guest appearance on your next album: Lil Wayne, Common, Kanye, or Mos Def. (May substitute Talib Kweli if you are in need of a “deep” verse.)
- 30% off music production by Pharrell and/or Timbaland, AND an appearance by the chosen producer in the related music video.
- A mention in a Chris Rock HBO special.
- Piano accompaniment by John Legend at an upcoming acoustic show in one (1) of the following major cities: Los Angeles, New York, London, or Toronto.
- An unlimited supply of Vaseline and Blue Magic.
- A seat next to Spike Lee at four (4) New York Knicks games of your choosing.
- Illustrated instructions to the Electric and Cha Cha slides.
- An “expert spot” in a documentary on black music. (See Clapton, Eric or Raitt, Bonnie)
- Free food from Harold’s Chicken Shack and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles for the length of your hood pass. (May not be used in conjunction with other coupons and/or discounts.)
- Unlimited Negro hugs (dap and a smack on the back) by black male celebrities including Jamie Foxx, Nick Cannon, and Will Smith while working the red carpet.
- One (1) free duet with Mary J. Blige or Alicia Keys. (Offer not valid for Divas Live!)
- An invitation to one (1) Diddy party.
- A bulletproof vest (courtesy of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), OR a wind machine signed by Beyonce, OR an Ice-T approved copy of The Complete Works of Iceberg Slim, OR an Ankh spa package (courtesy of Erykah Badu).
- A Best of Soul Train DVD, with special commentary by Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson.
- Sam Jackson’s voice on your outgoing voice mail message.
- An invitation to the next Obama White House Annual Family Reunion and Barbecue. (Only good for Michelle’s side of the family.)
- Ten (10) official Lunch with Robert DeNiro passes for mentoring and guidance.
- A date with Kerry Washington.
If you have any questions about this, please email Justin Timberlake at your earliest convenience. Finally, when in doubt: Shut up.
Are we clear, John? Do this kind of thing again, and your pass will be permanently revoked, and you’ll return to being whiter than a drinking game. Get it? Got it? Good. Move along.
Summer M., Certified Race Woman