Jason Derulo’s newest single, “Talk Dirty to Me” Featuring 2 Chainz is currently sitting at number three on billboard’s top 100, the accompanying music video has over 133 MILLION views, and it is quickly becoming the newest constantly on the radio or in your head party anthem. I’m not even quite sure where to begin in everything that is oh-so-very wrong with this song and music video.
Let’s start with the very beginning and very end of the video, an Asian women with heavily applied makeup opens the video by saying “Jason Derulo” with a heavy, ditzy-sounding accent, and later reappears to close the video by flirtatiously saying “What? I don’t understand” and giggling. She might as well have been saying “Me no understand English” because of how heavily implied it is that she is a foreigner. There is a long history within America and other English speaking nations of fetishizing women of other nationalities and cultures. The caricature of the Asian schoolgirl, for example, has been done in an unmeasurable number of ways, all of which remain offensive.
The rest of the video consists of groups of women of color in various states of undress dancing provocatively around Jason Derulo. There are a multitude of rotating female dancers, which sends the message clearly; their identity is vastly unimportant. These women are nothing but a collection of body parts, present for the sole purpose of providing sexual provocation for both the men in the video, and the male viewers at home. It is a gross habit of Americans, particularly men, to be culturally insensitive to societies different from our own, and it is amazing how blatant people are willing to be with it.
While I can’t say I’m surprised at this music video and song, I remain painfully disappointed with it. It’s 2014. The long lasting tradition of cultural appropriation and degradation of women in our society lives on in media like “Talk Dirty to Me” and it continues to be a problem. While I’m sure many people will continue to blast this tune on radios and at parties, those of us who recognize it as harmful to our well-being as a community ought to take a moment to think about what message we are sending by deeming the concepts portrayed as acceptable. We know better than this. We ARE better than this. Didn’t we learn anything at all from “Blurred Lines”??