Tell Me How to Feel About This: Chester French's "Black Girls"

A friend sent me a link to rock band Chester French's new video for the single "Black Girls" and I very honestly don't know how to feel about it.

Apr 20, 2012 at 12:30pm | Leave a comment

I'm only mildly aware of the band Chester French as something akin to the "edgy" rock a cappella groups a lot of white guys belonged to when I was in college. And honestly I don't care enough about music made pre-1993 to Google them, although I hear they're cool. At home I listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock and Adele on repeat until it's time for "Smash" or "Glee." 

So when a friend sent me the newly released video for CF's single "Black Girls" I didn't know what to expect after clicking the knocked over isosceles triangle for "play." Warning: This joint is not suitable for work unless you get your paycheck from a wildly progressive think tank on the moon run by nudists.

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A screenshot of Chester French's "Black Girls" video.

The video's director, Francesco Carrozzini, told the Huffington Post that he aimed "to celebrate female beauty, pointing the attention on same sex/interracial love. We approached it with simplicity, trying to make the images speak for themselves in the arch of the very simple story told."

My gut reaction after staring wide-eyed at my computer screen for three minutes: "I have no idea what to think about this. Seriously, tell me what to think?" 

I have no clue whether I should be offended, whether I should laugh, whether I should just ignore something relating to an industry and genre I don't pay much attention to, or should I just celebrate this "provocative" take on sex and race?

The lyrics go a little something like this:

This ain't no fetish, ain't objectifying no one
I reject your deconstruction of my taste
But ignoramus always look in my direction
They're so frustrated I don't keep it in the race
Like they've never seen this before
Like it's 1954
But the whole world's turning brown and who cares

Sounds interesting enough, right? But then homeboy goes into this one line about "tasting the rainbow" and sort of lost me.

I hate the exhausted metaphor of comparing skin color to "flavors" when anyone uses it. Halle Berry's ex-husband, R&B singer Eric Benet, has a song titled "Chocolate Legs" and more than being offended, I just saddened by the lack of creativity. If my legs are chocolate (which comes in a variety of colors by the way) then are a white girls legs vanilla despite the fact that vanilla beans are brown? See how dumb this meme is?

When it comes to Chester French I'm pretty sure these two crazy kids are trying to hint at something subversive and post-racial or whatever. In the end, I actually like having a visceral and confused reaction to art at first glance. It makes me think, which is what good artistic expression is supposed to do according to the cocktail party education I got at my very expensive Ivy League school.

It's just after watching the video more than three times I STILL don't know what to think. Do you?