Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
Recently Montana Fishburne, actor Laurence Fishburne's 19 year old daughter, has decided to release a sex tape.
As the daughter of one of the United States Black elite, I found it interesting that she has chosen to publicly choose a career as a pornography star as a way to earn a living. Summer M. of the Black Youth Project talks about Montana's gall here.
In a society where Black women are treated as silent and hyper sexualized, as all purpose ho's or "wifey's" I am fascinated by Montana Fishburne's choice.
The assumption appears to be that if Kim Kardashian can do it, then so can I.
For her, it is irrelevant that Black girls are born all purpose ho's. #ummhmm.
As you can tell, I am ambivalent about this.
On one level it takes a lot of gall to openly say, as Black girl, and the daughter of an affluent Black man, that this is how I choose to get money in 2010.
On another level what kind of society creates a Montana Fishburne?
Montana Fishburne's choice is interesting for a few reasons.
First of all this flies in the face of the meritocracy/American Dream that we are all suppose to believe in.
The United States exists largely because of both the property and value that White male plantation owners extracted from enslaved African women and their children. And the systemic decimation of Native American peoples as well. For more about the value and labor of enslaved Black women see Black Women Property Twice.
Second, black women and white women have different yet connected histories within the United States. The history of how Black women's and white womens bodies are constructed are different and related as well.
Lorraine O'Grady writes in the essay Olympia's Maid,
"The female body in the West is not a unitary sign. Rather,
like a coin, it has an obverse and a reverse: on the one side, it is
white; on the other, non-white or, prototypically, black. The two
bodies cannot be separated, nor can one body be understood in
isolation from the other in the West's metaphoric construction of" woman." White is what woman is; not-white (and the
stereotypes not-white gathers in) is what she had better not be."
Again. "The two bodies cannot be separated, nor can one body be understood in isolation from the other."
Thirdly, the Kim Kardashian plan. Kim Kardashian does not read (looks like) as a Black woman. She certainly reads as an exotic White woman (she is Armenian, Dutch,) but certainly not as a Black woman. And then there is Montana Fishburn's "ho tape" issue.
Have you noticed that Laurence Fishburne has both criticized and allegedly distanced himself from her?
Do you know who Robert Kardashian is? He is the father of Kim Kardashian and a prominent attorney, a part of OJ Simpson's legal team. He passed in 2003 so whether or not he "approves" of Kim Kardashian's usage of leveraging a sex tape into a career is moot.
What is worth being noted is that Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian's mother manages all three of the Kardashian sisters.
What I am trying to get at here is that different ways that the family dynamic is playing out in the lives of these two women.
This brings me to Hannah Montana. Other than Britney Spears is there another teeny bopper White singer, within the last decade, who has managed to appeal to girls across race, be sexy, without being hypersexualized? While Brittney managed to do this for the first three years of her major label pop career from 1999-2001, she certainly developed a more overtly sexualized adult image, symbolized by her kissing Madonna at the 2003 VMA's.
In some ways I am seeing a connection between Hanna Montana's largely "wholesome" career and Montana Fishburnes decidedly "deviant" one.
Classic Madonna/Whore eh?
For more read Andrea Plaid's piece "Understanding Montana Fishburne, Celebrities, Sex Tapes and Race."
What does it mean to me a Montana Fishburne in a Hanna Montana/Kim Kardashian world?
What does it mean that in 2010 the Black daughter of an affluent man chooses to use porn as a career stepping stone?
Why do Black people say shit like "something was wrong with her home life" (rhetorical question. trust.)