The (White) Rapper Show, or White Folks Acting Like Fools?
by Marnie Binfield — University of Texas at Austin
April 20, 2007 – 03:06
On Egotrip’s The (White) Rapper Show on VH1, “12 contestants … will have to find a way to make it through challenges that will test their musical cred, knowledge of hip hop culture and their ideas about race along the way.” In this clip, the contestants make music videos. Both the comments on this clip on YouTube and the commentary around this show illustrate the trouble with the series: “Are they serious?!” The program raises questions especially hot in the aftermath of the Don Imus “nappy-headed ho” debacle. If we ask “who can say what about whom” (or in this case “who can adopt which personae”) are we asking the right questions? Is The (White) Rapper Show really about testing musical credibility and hip hop knowledge or is it a sort of minstrelsy? And why do white folks look like such fools in the act of imitation?