Friday, April 27, 2012

Hudsons' 'Ratchet Girls Anthem' drags up age-old debate over black men in dresses

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Talk about a self-made phenomenon. Atlanta comedy duo/brothers Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson have taken their hilarious, homemade "musical comedy" videos from the bedroom web cam to the club with the new and improved release of "Ratchet Girls Anthem." Since posting the video yesterday, it's catapulted their total YouTube viewership to well over 100 million views.

But everybody's not laughing. Besides garnering comparisons to Martin Lawrence and Jamie Fox's classic characters Shenehneh and Wanda, they've become Exhibit Z in the age-old debate over black comedians and actors in drag. The question being, how much of it is rooted in the long-theorized conspiracy to emasculate black men?

I had a pretty rigorous Twitter debate about this a few months ago with Stereo Williams after Charles Barkley donned a dress on a (very weak) episode of Saturday Night Live. The consensus we drew was - well, I can't really remember, and it's too far back to trace the timeline. But I do think there's a huge difference between comedians who organically create drag characters for their own self-produced vehicles (TV/film/video) and actors or non-actors who jump in a dress because a Hollywood producer/director/scriptwriter tells them to.

By that standard, Tyler Perry, Martin Lawrence, and Flip Wilson would all be in the clear. But Ving Rhames and Wesley Snipes? Not so much. And what about those cases that aren't so clear-cut, like Jamie Foxx's? He created his character for "In Living Color," a show executive produced by Keenan Ivory Wayans at the time (remember "Men On Film"). But since the show was produced by another brother, does that make Foxx less of a Fox network pawn? Probably not, if Spike Lee has anything to say about. And don't even mention Eddie Murphy. Dave Chappelle definitely wasn't having that shit. Yeah, navigating such self-imposed racial politics is a mutha. Kind of like pondering whether hip-hop's preferred term of endearment, the N-word, is acceptable in mixed company.

But that seems to be the least of commenters' concerns over on the ever-ratchet WorldStarHipHop, where the discourse is centered around getting to the bottom of the Hudson brothers' sexual orientation:

OMG ALL YOU HATING ASS MEN NEED TO STFU. THEY ARE NOT GAY DAMN, ITS JUST ENTERTAINMENT. MARTIN LAWRENCE PLAYED SHANAYNAY ON HIS HIT TV SHOW AND DAMN SURE ISNT GAY. ITS CALLED ACTING.

Yeah people, acting.

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