Macklemore’s joyous, upbeat anthem marred by sexism, racial stereotypes of women of colour

Macklemore, amazingly outspoken proponent of marriage equality has dropped the ball. Minutes ago, his latest video, for “Downtown”, was posted on Facebook. I clicked, expecting something fun with a good beat. On that count, I was not disappointed. The music is fun, with a full and joyous sound, reminiscent of the era in which scooters and big, theatrical dance numbers were common. The colour palette of the cinematography supports the retro feel.

Something that should not be brought back from the past, however, is the idea that women are only good for eye and arm candy, and that black women are acceptable because “…I like a big girl, I like ’em sassy.”

I’m glad you’re so open-minded that a woman’s size is acceptable to your place of privilege. What a flippin’ relief! Because the highest aspiration of any woman’s life, clearly, is seeking approval from a man.

And how about that racial stereotyping? WOW. The sassy black woman. It’s aiiight, though. You said she was cool, too, she meets with your approval. You like ’em that way, so go ahead and exploit ’em. Get down with your bad self, Mack.

I’m not even sure what to make of your two rival street gangs. They are primarily composed of men of colour, especially “your” gang, but led by white dudes. Symbolic of the appropriation of rap by white folks, maybe? At least you sat on the shoulders of a white dude, avoiding some fraught symbolism there. But I’m not sure it’s much better – white dudes helping white dudes. Sigh.

Sorry, no. Same Love does not let you off the hook here. There are huge problems with this video, your lyrics, and apparently your understanding of both sexism and racism. I thought the incident with the costume was just a fluke. But maybe it wasn’t.

You need to check yourself, Macklemore.

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