“There is nothing the Internets loves more than making a Black person appearing to be a complete fool,” writes D.L Chandler on HipHopWired.com.
A woman who identified herself as Sweet Brown gave Oklahoma City-based NBC affiliate KFOR-4 an on-air interview shortly after her home caught on fire. And everyone is calling her the new Antoine Dodson. (you remember him? “Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife”)
“I woke up to get me a cold pop, then I thought somebody was barbecuing, I said, ‘Oh, Lord Jesus, it’s a fire!” a bandana-wearing Sweet Brown exclaims. “Then I ran out, I didn’t grab no shoes or nothing, Jesus! I ran for my life!”
“And then the smoke got me, I got bronchitis! Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Sweet Brown knows people are making fun of her.
“I’ve been shown it, but I don’t like looking at it because I don’t like looking at myself like that because I look like a joke and I was really serious!” she told KFOR on Tuesday.
Jamilah King called Antoine Dodson’s video modern day minstrelsy and KFOR’s video of Sweet Brown may fit this description also:
Things like this have happened countless times before. I still remember the infamous Bubb Rubb video, which has since been turned into a G.I. Joe cartoon. In it, two black Oakland residents — identified only as “Bubb Rubb and Lil’ Sis” — stand decked out in Raiders jerseys and do-rags while they tell reporters the benefits of having loud whistler tips installed on their cars. All this is much to the chagrin of angry white folks nearby, who vigorously complain. “The whistles go whooop!” Bubb Rubb says in the video.
The dynamics were largely the same: a black person put in front of a camera and then endlessly made fun of online. On the one hand, there’s the obvious question of journalistic integrity. If you’re interviewing someone who’s from a historically misrepresented community, do you have a responsibility to portray them in a positive light, especially if your audience is mostly white and see the misrepresentation as the norm? On the other hand, like the reporter in Huntsville mentioned, there’s the issue of censorship. Who decides which people get access to the public sphere? Bubb Rubb and Antoine Dodson are real people, and they deserve airtime, too. The problem is that they’re put in the precarious position of representing an entire race.
And yes. Sweet Brown has been auto-tuned.