Not My Nasi

This is a little bit old news, but too disgusting not to merit comment.

The artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince And More Currently Known As A Jehovah’s Witness Who Makes Increasingly Terrible Music has a new video, Cinnamon Girl, featuring Keisha Castle-Hughes as what is clearly intended to be an Arab girl who maybe does or maybe doesn’t blow herself up in an airport. There are a number of things that are very wrong with this.

First, most obviously, it’s cashing in on people’s pain and suffering, because it makes for a “topical” storyline. Yuck. But more than that: The protagonist of the video is, it seems, a Muslim girl living in a multicultural environment who suffers discrimination. That’s a worthy issue for attention, but why did he decide to conflate lots of different complex issues and turn her into a suicide bomber? Wherever she’s from, it ain’t the messed-up landscape of the contemporary Middle East (which is not to say that most people who are in the ME are suicide bombers, mind you). I just mean to say that if nothing else, he’s managed to simply extend the harmful stereotype from, “All Palestinians are terrorists,” to, “All Muslims of any sort in any locale or context are terrorists.” Which is really not helping.

And, lastly, here’s just a shout-out for trying to hire people who are actually of the ethnic background one is trying to depict. Would it kill him to hire an actual Arab if he’s making money off of portraying them (and, ultimately, probably just making life harder for them in the end?)

3 thoughts on “Not My Nasi

  1. Actually, it’s the only song that I really liked on the album. (Ignored the lyrics, of course, but you get used to that if you’re a right-winger.)
    I have an idea. Bob Dylan’s “Neighborhood Bully” has great lyrics (or at least congenial ones) but a mediocre tune. Cinnamon Girl, the opposite. Can we combine them?
    Where have you gone, Prince? MIA since the “Batman” soundtrack. What a shame.

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