Yesterday, I watched my friends Marc Lamont Hill and Brittney Cooper do this HuffPost Live segment entitled “Do ‘Hood Sites’ Normalize Black Stereotypes?” The conversation was mostly about the infamous WorldStarHipHop.com and their penchant for posting videos of black youth engaged in violence toward one another. These videos generate thousands upon thousands of hits, are circulated widely, and become entertainment for many. The discussion was about whether or not the distribution and popularity of these videos help to perpetuate stereotypes that are heaped onto blackness.
On that particular question, I think there’s a “yes, but…” These videos don’t help combat the stereotypes, but they would exist even without WorldStar. Getting rid of the video hosting site would not end the violence that just so happens to get documented there. But Brittney brought up an excellent point, that part of what drives the traffic at WorldStar is videos of young black girls fighting one another. The brutal “Sharkeisha” video is one of the most recent examples. And, as Brittney noted, while there’s this larger cultural concern for the violence black boys commit toward one another, a snickering goes on as we watch and circulate videos of black girls being violent. There isn’t the same type of conversation about root causes or understanding or compassion. Read More