chapter  5
“ms. fat booty” and the black male feminist
Pages 24

And there’s the quandary: Black male writer and scholar, on the frontline with other brothers of all walks of life, who view themselves, not just as fellow travelers of the black feminist movement, but as feminists in their own right. Do feminists check out each other’s asses? We know the asses “conscious” black male rappers check out, but how about black male feminists? My affection for Mos Def’s “Ms. Fat Booty” frames one of the contradictions of thinking oneself a black male feminist. For example, how does black male feminism deal with the reality of heterosexual desire? I’ve consciously looked at more than a few asses like the one Mos Def describes. Or how does this black male feminist explain the aural pleasure he derives from hearing Snoop Dogg’s flow on the remix of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.”?—“Yeah girl I got my Now and Later gators on”— a song whose music video features the very kinds of images that I speak out against as scholar and critic. To speak out against the gratuitous vulgarities of hip-hop is the easy part. The difficulty comes in trying to do so while still affirming the aesthetic and cultural value of hip-hop at the same time. Too often those ready and willing to do the former are ill equipped to do the latter.