Tuesday, April 17, 2012

'Breaking My Heart': A Mach Five joint gives male lust the Spike Lee treatment

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Last week, Mach Five dropped a flower bomb with the debut of new single "Breaking My Heart" featuring Bilal and Hollyweerd. This week, they follow through with the Artemus Jenkins-directed video, a perfect parody of the 1986 Spike Lee joint She's Gotta Have It. Besides being entertaining as hell, there's something to chew on here. I'm not sure whether it was intended, but similar to the original film, the video serves up a juicy side-dish of commentary on the role black women's sexuality plays in contemporary rap videos.

Like Lee's independent flick - which garnered plenty of controversy back in the day - the song and video revolve around a free-spirited freak and her ongoing love rectangle, i.e. she's juggling three dudes at the same damn time (maybe "circle" is the more appropriate geometrical metaphor). In the original film, the lead role of sexually-liberated Nola Darling was played by Tracy Camilla Johns, the '80s actress/eye candy who also holds the regal distinction as one of hip-hop's first bona fide video models, thanks to her appearance in Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" vid two years after She's Gotta Have It and three years before her last big screen strip-tease as Uniqua the skeezer in New Jack City. They say Johns is a born-again Christian now.

The star of "Breaking My Heart" is distinguished in her own right. Proclaimed "The Most BEAUTIFUL WOMAN in the World" earlier this year by MediaTakeOut.com, the ATL-based Sepsenahki Aahkhu portrays Becky Beubs, a video reprisal of the Nola Darling character. Aahkhu's real-life claim to fame is her rep as a raw food specialist and self-empowered natural beauty.

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Much like She's Gotta Have It, the video culminates with the climactic dinner scene, as Beubs watches her three lovers (Mach Five's A.Ware and Corey Davis, along with the scene-stealing Chris McADoo of Hollyweerd who pulls off a cool Mars Blackmon) duel it out for her love. Sure, she's still the object of male lust, but at least Beubs isn't a passive mute reduced to animated butt shots like the stereotypical video ho of the 2000s. The ironic thing is Spike caught plenty of hell at the time of his film's release from those who viewed it as a sexist representation of female independence, enslaved to a male-centric point of view. But if Becky Beubs = Nola Darling in 2012, then this is one giant (indie) leap forward in the way females are portrayed in comtemporary hip-hop. Or at least a satirical step in the right direction.

BTW: Mach Five's new mixtape Ratchet Shit Vol. 2 drops on April 24.

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