Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Chester French 'Black Girl' Video Doesn't Push the Envelope

Still shot of "Black Girls" by Chester French

Blogging about this video four days after it went viral equates to 10 years in internet time, but I just had to comment.

When I saw people chatting about Chester French's "Black Girls" video on Facebook, my first thought was, "Who's this Chester French dude?" Clearly, I've gained points on my "old school" card because I had no idea they were a music duo. Honestly, I never heard of them until that day. I was hesitant to watch the video because sistas didn't get a lot of media love this past week.  There was that racist, barbaric cake- cutting party in Sweden. Kevin Hart's Twitter scandal rocked the web. The ruckus was over a cartoon post of a stereotypical and offensive cartoon about black women on his Twitter page. He said he neither approved the post, nor created the cartoon and was taking legal action against the person who tweeted the link.  Then he blamed the intern, and later the Evil Twitter Fairy who poses as celebs and posts nasty things to get them in trouble. In all fairness, I saw the cartoon on the web months before it hit Hart's page so I don't think he created it. We all should be shocked if he did approve such a cartoon because in 2010, he tweeted a "joke" referring to dark-skinned black women as "broke ass dark hoes."  But, I digress.

Back to Chester French.  I like the "Black Girl" song but the video doesn't reflect it at all. We don't see the black woman's face until 27 seconds into the video. Chester French are not in the video. Instead, a white woman lip syncs to their vocals.  She has an aggressive lust in her eye for the black model. Ironically, the first line in the song is "This ain't no fetish/ain't objectifying no one." But the white woman's sex-hungry look came off as her fetishizing the black woman. While the black woman looks more playful and innocent. 

I continued to watch and was totally surprised by the girl-on-girl action. There was so much going on in the video that I couldn't focus on the lyrics. I don't have a problem with lesbianism. Since white guys wrote the song, why aren't their white boys in the video singing to black girls?  Is a white man professing his attraction and admiration of black women to a black woman more taboo than hot, interracial, feminine lesbian sex? Especially hot, interracial, feminine lesbian sex meant to entertain men?  Think about it. Is the mainstream's gaze more comfortable with two women getting it on, then a white man respectfully expressing his love for black women?  I know we're seeing more bw/wm couples on television (i.e. Parenthood, Desperate Housewives, etc.). Still, there's something more intimate when a man is singing his heart out.  By so much of the focus being on the sexy models, the black girl is no longer the subject. The attention is taken away from the black woman in the video and the reasons why Chester French admire her.

There were a few cool things about the video. I loved the creators' use of contrast: blonde, long hair, very fair white woman with a dark, short-haired black woman with African features.  The video is shot in black and white. Both models have a unique beauty.  I appreciated that they chose a black model with such features that aren't recognized in mainstream. Artistically, it was well done. Chester French get a few points for the video, but I still don't like it for the song.

After watching the soft porn video and waiting for my laptop to finish smoking a cigarette, I decided to give the song another try. This time I skipped the video. I downloaded the song for free from Chester French's website and read the lyrics. The song took on a completely different meaning.
They're so frustrated I don't keep it in the race
/ Like they've never seen this before/ 
Like it's 1954/ 
But the whole world's turning brown and who cares

 It's a positive song, with a catchy hook that gives love to sistas. I fell out laughing at "the girl don't need a tan" part. 

I've got a thing for black girls
 La, la la la la, la la, la la la la la

Chester French may have a thing for black girls, judging by the song. If you judge their sista-loving hearts based on the video, it only seems like they have a thing for black girls doing white girls on camera. Or they have a thing for giving racist-homophobes heart attacks.  If Chester French really wanted to push the envelope in their video, they would have cast an interracial couple.  No raunchy, sexy stuff—just a white dude happily singing to the black girl he loves. Or at least Chester French could've shown their faces in the video.  Masking girl-on-girl action as shocking was playing it safe. But I still like the song.   La, la la la la, la la, la la la la la


  1. I saw the video too..loved the song..and kinda frowned up at the video.

  2. Yeah I wasn't feeling the video for the song. If the song was called, "Steamy Interracial Lesbian Sex for Dudes" then I would see the correlation. But this not visually tell me how much they claim to like Black Girls. Like I said before, the song is cool.


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