15-year-old Danielle Bregoli, better known as the Cash Me Outside girl or by her rap name Bhad Bhabie, is the rising star of the day and we—or at least, I— can’t seem to figure out why. She rose to fame in 2016 after she and her mother appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil, during which she threatened both him and the audience, coining the infamous phrase “cash me outside, howbowdah?”, which became an inescapable meme and was remixed into a rap song and dance challenge. Eventually Atlantic Records offered her a record deal and since then she has since released a number of songs, including her most recent “Babyface Savage” which has already accumulated more than six million views since its video release six days ago.
All this said and done, Bhad Bhabie is a symptom of exactly what’s wrong with our society. She’s essentially a performance—a walking minstrel act in the 21st century. Her role is to make a mockery of black culture and it seems like everyone (including black people) are being complacent in allowing the joke to continue. White people no longer have to paint their faces with blackface to mock us, as was done in the early 20th century. Furthermore, Washington State sociology professor David .J. Leonard writes in his book re:Skin that “today’s popular culture reduces race or skin color to a commodity…those who have the right clothes…the appropriate language and the overall look can be black regardless of social location”.
Artists like Iggy Azalea simply have to imitate black people and black culture and they are almost guaranteed to be deemed as “new”, “innovative” and “creative” while simply doing what blacks have done long before them. A lot of us are sweeping this problem under the rug and promoting artists like Bhad Bhabie, not realizing that we are contributing to our own erasure in the media. The entertainment industry no longer has to hire and sign talented black artists when they can find white artists who do the same thing and are almost guaranteed to have more success. We are guilty of lending our support to harmful performers like Bhad Bhabie while boycotting the many talented black female entertainers who deserve adoration and acclaim.
But the change starts with you and me. Instead of simply writing an article on why Bhad Bhabie is problematic, I’m going to direct your interest to some female rappers who deserve the support and acclaim we are giving to Danielle Bregoli:
Seandrea Sledge, better recognized by her stage name Dreezy, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, she studied fine arts as a distraction from her home life. She dances, sings and writes her own music. Dreezy is a much-needed combination of dark-skinned beauty and raw talent that we haven’t seen since the likes of Lauryn Hill.
Check out her new single “Chanel Slides” featuring Kash Doll below:
Four days into the New Year, Lizzo released what has been hailed as ‘the first great song of 2019’, a retro-funk song called “Juice” that is all about loving yourself and feeling good. Her video currently sits at just over one million but she deserves to have hundreds of millions of views just for her bubbly smile, feel-good music and carefree attitude! Rolling Stone wrote that “if life were fair, this [song] would be as big as ‘Uptown Funk’” and we couldn’t agree more.
3. Justine Skye
The music industry is notoriously superficial and it’s no secret that looks make up a large portion of one’s ability to find and maintain success as a musical entertainer. But if we went off just looks alone, Justine Skye would be just as big as Rihanna or Beyoncé. Yet while her close friend Kylie Jenner is a house-hold name, Justine Skye remains severely underrated. Why? Well, despite being one of the most beautiful girls on the scene right now and having a beautiful R&B voice to match, it’s likely that her gorgeously rich complexion has held her back in this prejudiced industry. Hopefully 2019 will be the year to change that!
Listen to Justine’s song “Build” featuring Arin Ray:
What if the black community combined our efforts to support black artists like Dreezy, Lizzo and Justine Skye? We’d make the music industry a much more welcoming and diverse place, where dark-skinned black female artists can have a shot at success and super stardom. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of world I’d prefer to live in.
"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."