It doesn't surprise me that Snoop took the opportunity to engage in a little product placement, though he's also joked about pot brownies on Martha's show. What's more interesting is that Landy's deal with Snoop appears to be a case of the tail wagging the dog. References to cognac started appearing in hip-hop lyrics as early as the 1990s – somewhat, it seems, to the surprise of cognac makers. Previously the brandy (named for the region in France where it's made) was marketed to older, upper-class and upper-middle class white folks, at least in the U.S.
After a few years, the stodgy, slumping cognac industry seized on the trend and started enlisting rappers for endorsement deals; right after Snoop was shown pouring yak into mashed potatoes, Hennessy released a special edition cognac to celebrate Obama's inauguration.
African-Americans probably don't make up the percent of the market that some cognac makers claim. But the cognac industry continues to court African-American customers heavily, and rappers are still coveted spokespeople for luxury booze (even if they're also, uh, shilling for Hot Pockets).
We spend a lot of time in the handful of decades that we exist in this world being told things and telling things. But there are comparitively very few moments when we allow our pretenses to drop and we come together to share something honest, and complex, and for many of us a little (or a lot) scary. That's a transformative thing.
I'd like to spend the next eight weeks with you looking at the history of weddings and marriage in Western culture, talking about how marriage is used as a tool of civil and economic inequality, and how the gender binary plays a role in how we think about weddings and helps to fuel the wasteful consumerism associated with THE SPECIAL DAY. Mainly I'd like to look at how anyone can say NO to the pitfalls of the wedding industrial complex.
So I was watching Glee the other night, waiting desperately to see if Brittany and Santana would show some sign that they were still together. As I tried to peer into the minds of Glee's creators and discover their subversive intent in having the lesbian character Santana dance to a song with romantic lyrics about boy/girl love with the gay-in-real-life Ricky Martin, it hit me: TV is not activism. I mean, critiquing TV can be activism, but TV programming itself exists, by and large, in the service of profit, not activism. In recognition of TV's persuasive powers over "impressionable youth," there is a long history of the "after school special" and the "very special episode" of family sitcoms. But the structural inequalities and relations of rule responsible for the most urgent cultural problems of our time run way deeper than the politics of media representation.
Monday marked the release of the music video for M.I.A.'s "Born Free," the lead single off the British rapper/singer/visual artist's forthcoming third album, and yet another clip from a female pop star this year that caused quite a stir. Continuing the discussion begun by the open thread Kjerstin started yesterday, I thought I'd share my thoughts.