Thursday, September 9, 2010

excess dancing?

Kids Dirty Dancing

I remember when I first saw this video. My friend came up to me & asked, "Hey! Have you seen the video with the little black kids freak dancing???" ...

The video is actually no longer up on YouTube (at least from the searches I made); I had to find the video on other websites, blogs, etc. An interesting observation I made is that the titles that people give to the video often hint toward an ambiguous understanding of where exactly this video is taking place. One blogger described it as taking place in "some Spanish country," while other people claim it is from Peru and others from the Dominican Republic. The notion of Latinidad came immediately to mind: What does it mean to be Latin@? What face does a Latin@ person have? What culture? Where can they be found geographically?

All these questions become all the more difficult to answer when you bring into the discussion the African presence in Latin America. Who are black Latin@s and where are they?

I think it is important to highlight the notion of intersectionality; how are people being constructed depending on their various identities and their intersections? For example, what does it mean for a person to be black, Latin@, Dominican/Peruvian/From some "Spanish" Country, a man/woman/gender queer all at once?

This really brings to mind the infamous Sarah Bartmann, or as she was coined, the Hottentot Venus. Sarah was a woman from Africa that was taken by Europeans and displayed for the White, European audience...A lot of attention was given to her "excessively" large buttocks (JLo anyone?), which was seen as a signifier of her excessive sexuality. Now, keep in mind that the time of Sarah's inhumane exhibition was taking place around the late 18th/early 19th centuries...How far have we come in terms of racial and sexual representation? How are stereotypes and stigmas imposed on black communities then translated to other communities of color (i.e. Latin@s) & vice-versa? & what is the role of the "ideal" white public/audience in all of this?

Oh...and, if possible, read some of the comments on the video's forum, they're quite entertaining.

1 comment:

  1. oh! and is music generally associated with people of color (such as reggaeton in this clip) being portrayed here? Do such types of music inherently necessitate "excessively sexual" dancing?