Skip to comments.Native Americans Rap OutKast
Posted on 02/12/2004 10:16:19 AM PST by presidio9
You know when OutKast's Andre 3000 hopped around onstage at the Grammys in front of a bright-green tepee--his backup dancers (barely) clothed in feathered headbands and matching fringed hot pants--and you thought to yourself, "Ooh, somebody is not going to like this"?
As CBS' corporate boss got chewed out Wednesday in Washington, D.C., for airing Janet Jackson's bare right breast during the Super Bowl, the San Francisco-based Native American Cultural Center called for a boycott of the network for airing OutKast's "racist" "Hey Ya!" production number during the Grammys (news - web sites).
"We're not attacking OutKast as artists," the group's chairman Andrew Brother Elk said Wednesday, "They can go out and make fools of themselves if they want to, but we are going to question the commercialization of our symbols."
Specifically, the group is taking issue with the "fake tepee," the headdresses, the braided wigs and the "war paint" as smeared on the faces of the University of Southern California marching band, whose members also took part in the number.
Brother Elk cited the use of feathers, sacred symbols of Native Americans, as a particular abuse. He said he understood if a majority of Grammy viewers missed the distinction.
"If people were wearing yarmulkes and the Hasidic dress and bumping and grinding, we would see that as ridiculous, but for some reason we don't see what OutKast did as ridiculous," Brother Elk said.
The group is questioning why under-fire CBS didn't see the routine as "ridiculous," or worse.
"Our point is: How could no one...say, 'This is not entertainment, this is racism?' " Brother Elk said.
The Native American Cultural Center has called for a boycott of CBS, the Grammy organizers at the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and OutKast's label, Arista Records.
In reports published Tuesday, a CBS spokesperson was quoted as saying the network was "very sorry if anyone was offended." There has been no word on the subject from the Recording Academy or Arista.
CBS' apology, which was not formally extended to Brother Elk's group, wasn't good enough anyway, he said. He wants one directly from CBS CEO Les Moonves.
Moonves is a man with a lot on his plate these days--not much of it good.
On Wednesday, Moonves' boss, Viacom President Mel Karmazin, apologized to Congress for Jackson's breast and pledged to make live TV a little less live in order to prevent further bust-outs.
Earlier, Federal Communications Chairman Michael Powell (news) testified the Jackson affair was "just the latest example in a growing list of deplorable incidents over the nation's airwaves."
Brother Elk's group is looking to add OutKast's Grammy performance to that tally. He said he has lodged a formal complaint with the FCC (news - web sites). No word from the commission Wednesday on its status.
And there was a blanket "no comment" Wednesday from the office of the Tennessee attorney who helped a woman file, and withdraw, a class-action lawsuit against Jackson and Justin Timberlake (news), et al., over their Super Bowl display. In dropping the suit, the egregiously offended woman vowed to monitor CBS and see if it was serious about changing its ways.
OutKast won three Grammys, including Album of the Year (Speakerboxx/The Love Below), on Sunday's CBS telecast.
The duo is up for a leading six awards at next month's 35th annual NAACP Image Awards--unless the Native American Cultural Center gets its way. Brother Elk said he's calling on the NAACP to drop OutKast from its roster of potential honorees.
A NAACP spokesman said he wasn't yet familiar with the complaint, but noted that no nominee had ever been nixed from the show. In addition to OutKast, this year's contenders include the under-indictment R. Kelly.
Janet Jackson (news), meanwhile, steered clear of the Grammys and is steering clear of this latest broadcast controversy.
"If there's anything demeaning with what happened at the Super Bowl it demeaned only Janet Jackson," Brother Elk said. "In the case of the Grammys, the performance demeaned a whole group of people."
This gentleman has evidently never heard of Wierd Al Yankovic.
Hmmmm .....I'm not into the genre, however if i could go out and make a 'fool' of myself, and in the process become a multi-millionaire (and win a grammy in the process) then i think that might be a good thing. Maybe they are not as foolish as they seem .....shaking and grinding to some rythmic jams cohered to some lyrics ...and making loot to boot! I would not call that foolish, not at all.
But, really, it was just a lot of fun. If they'd dressed up as cowboys, someone would have been upset at the six-guns.
if i could go out and make a 'fool' of myself, and in the process become a multi-millionaire (and win a grammy in the process) then i think that might be a good thing. Maybe they are not as foolish as they seem .....shaking and grinding to some rythmic jams cohered to some lyrics ...and making loot to boot! I would not call that foolish, not at all
Saw his video...the one where he plays all the characters. Very entertaining; and he's sort of a new version of the line that extends from Cab Callaway to Time to Hammer to him. And the Funkadelic spectacle is wed to some actual musical outgrowth; the yoots get a taste and feel for funk and jazz, then start looking back. Next thing y'know, they'll be buying Coltrain records and calling it cool.
Some of the greatest jazz musicians I know trace their roots back to Bootsy, who led them to James Brown, who led them to beebop.
I thought it was fun, too -- OutKast has a real sense of humor that's missing from so many acts today. And since when do Indians wear shamrock-green outfits?