“Anaconda” turns Nicki’s butt into a literal force of nature, causing earthquakes in a jungle setting. After parodying the idea of exoticism by opening on a jungle scene, she shifts into a workout setup with comically small weights. All of these setups make the same point: Nicki’s body is the modern ideal. And because Nicki is spitting rapid-fire jokes the whole time she is onscreen, it’s impossible to feel like she’s been reduced to a mere body.

This is confirmed by what comes next: Nicki squirting whipped cream on her tits, fondling a banana, and then slicing the banana with a maniacal laugh. Cutting up a metaphorical dick onscreen makes it even more clear that the “Anaconda” video is about Nicki asserting her power, not as a sexual object but a sexual subject. Both the suggestive choreography and the song’s lyrics, which recount a series of sexual encounters, double down on the fact that Nicki has all the power here, and that she can show as much of her body as she likes and retain all that power.

People of color, women, and gays — who now have greater access to the centers of influence that ever before — are under pressure to be well-behaved when talking about their struggles. There is an expectation that we can talk about sins but no one must be identified as a sinner: newspapers love to describe words or deeds as “racially charged” even in those cases when it would be more honest to say “racist”; we agree that there is rampant misogyny, but misogynists are nowhere to be found; homophobia is a problem but no one is homophobic. One cumulative effect of this policed language is that when someone dares to point out something as obvious as white privilege, it is seen as unduly provocative. Marginalized voices in America have fewer and fewer avenues to speak plainly about what they suffer; the effect of this enforced civility is that those voices are falsified or blocked entirely from the discourse.

Excerpt from Teju Cole’s essay “The White Savior Industrial Complex”.
(via jalwhite)

(via secretcallgirl)