Lynne d Johnson



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05.13.08 03:26 PM

When Did Madonna Get Black?


It's funny. Around the same time that fellow writer Clay Cane was saying Madonna Goes Black (Again), I was wondering exactly when was it that she ever got black. I had written a post then, but sat on it for reasons I don't care to mention at this point. And while I now know that Clay thinks Madonna is black after her 106 & Park appearance with Terrance and Rocsi, I still want to know how and when. So my post still has legs, even though this episode is over like a fat rat.

Granted, if you're an old head like me, Madonna was always a part of your record collection. She made danceable risqué, club music and her dancers and background singers always felt familiar and soulful -- read black, or at least mostly black. And if nothing else, the black kids got them. No not kids -- family -- as in LGBT. Madonna pumped at the Garage and Warehouse (you old New York heads know what I mean) just as much as Colonel Abrams ("I'm Not Gonna' Let You") and Marshall Jefferson ("Move Your Body"). Granted, "Borderline" was hot, but it was not black. Not at all. Not even octoroon.

In recent years though, Madonna was on an a hybrid electronica/rock kick that often alienated whatever black audience she once had. This was until her new release, Hard Candy, which features Timbaland, Kanye, Pharrell, and ghetto-pass wearing Justin Timberlake. Besides, her duo with Timberlake, "4 Minutes," somehow found itself on the 106 & Park Top 10. So in that regard her appearance on the show made sense -- for marketing that is. I'm still not buying the blackness.

I suppose the lineup of black-ish producers and guest appearances must equate with Madge being born again black. Sites like Soulbounce didn't even believe it when they first heard the announcement of her appearance. Speculation was extremely high.

It was an awkward episode, as Clay mentions. But not just because Madonna is utterly weird all by her lonesome. The entire affair was extremely weird -- extremely. From the way Terrance and Rocsi ogled at her, to the aloof manner in which she responded to their questions, even down to the placement of various (white) hipsters in the crowd. You know, I think it was the first time I ever saw white folks in the audience at 106 & Park. Call me crazy if I'm wrong. They also looked a little too old to blend in with that particular audience.


I'm not even mad at her PR team for realizing that her success with this $120 million LiveNation deal will come from her connecting with younger music aficionados. But perhaps a visit to TRL would have seemed a little less weird, though given Madonna's persona, perhaps Clay is right, it wouldn't really have mattered who was interviewing her. I'm just still a little concerned by how Terrance and Rocsi didn't know what to do, or they sincerely felt they were being graced by the presence of a legend -- perhaps even, The Madonna.

Don't get me wrong, I love(s) me some Madonna. But the kids (13 - 21) who live in my 'hood don't really connect with chick. And maybe that's just what this appearance was all about. If I've said it 100 times before, I'll say it again, it's still going to take a lot more than a virtual fanclub and a bunch of photos to hit this sweet spot you're courting. Need a social media consultant? Give me a call. I've seen your Twitter account, and you ain't ready.

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