Thursday, October 20, 2016

Politicizing Janet Jackson's (and Vanity 6's) "Nasty" Songs

Edited by Azizi Powell

This morning, I woke up with the lyrics "Nasty girl/oh you nasty girl" fluttering through my thoughts of the third United States Presidential debate. And why not? Towards the end of that debate Republican candidate for President Donald J. Trump said "Such a nasty woman" in reference to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton after she dared to suggest that he might follow his general practice of trying to find ways of getting out of increasing his taxes to fund social security. Trump's "You're a nasty woman" comment is forever tied to his earlier comment that "No one respects women more than me".

Here's a video of Trump saying those two comments:

Donald Trump "Nobody Has More Respect for Women" & "Such a Nasty Woman"

GOOD Magazine, Published on Oct 19, 2016

Donald Trump says "nobody has more respect for women" than he does. A short while later he interrupts Hillary Clinton to call her a "nasty woman."

And check out this video mashup video:

Hillary Clinton Gets Nasty

dtran Published on Oct 19, 2016

#Trump, "She's such a #nasty woman." Hillary Clinton #ImWithHer #ImWithNasty #GetNastyOnHisAss

#HombreDoesntGetIt #ClintyGetNasty #RockTheVote #Vote #BritneyVSJanet ;)
Background music clip- Janet Jackson - "Nasty" (1986)

Here's the Janet Jackson "Nasty" video along with some politicized comments:
Janet Jackson - Nasty (HQ 1080p HD)

OMAR HERNANDEZ Published on Mar 29, 2013
Click for a Wikipedia article about Janet Jackson's "Nasty".

Here are selected comments from that video's discussion thread. All of the comments are from 10/20/2016

1. yeah okay player
"RIP Trump's campaign.
I hope Hillary plays this during her inauguration."

2. J Sindone8 hours ago
Her first name ain't baby, it's Hilary, President Clinton if you're nasty

3. Dawna Maiella
"The Presidential Debate just got, "Nasty!" LOL!"

4. Dawna Maiella
"Nasty, nasty debates! "Nasty woman: Donald Trump.""

5. sk8walker
LOL heard that and came here right away.

These are only a sample of the comments that referred to Janet Jackson's 1986 song "Nasty" and its often quoted line "My first name ain't baby, it's Janet – Miss Jackson if you're nasty".

But it wasn't Janet's record that was circulating through my mind when I woke up this morning - it was this 1982 Vanity 6 song:

Vanity 6 - Nasty Girl (original 1982)

RoRoBaby369, Uploaded on Aug 26, 2010
Click for information about this song which was written by Pop musician, singer, composer Prince. Vanity 6's lead singer was Denise Matthews (January 4, 1959 – February 15, 2016), also known as "Vanity".

Here are selected comments from that video's discussion thread: (All these comments are from 10/20/2016.)
1. hERooINe
"trump led me here."

2. destiny66
"Hillary Clinton's should be new theme song! #thinkaboutit"

3. Anakronyo
"Such a nasty woman" lol Trump!"

4. Photo Larry
That hyperlink leads to a Hillary Clinton website that then leads to the second video in this post.

5. Rhonda Lewis
"Waiting on the remix for Hillary Clinton's new ad....."

"What a nasty woman! I better report her to Trump."

There are lots of comments in that Vanity 6 discussion thread that I'd love to document and highlight on this blog, including comments about light skin, redbone Black women. Look for that post here in the new future.

But after checking out Janet Jackson's and Vanity 6's "Nasty" music videos -and Beyoncé's related 2003 video "Naughty Girl I decided to search for articles about what people other than Donald think "women being nasty" means.

Here's a longish excerpt from "Let A Nasty Woman Like Me Explain The Problem With Donald Trump’s Debate Comment" by Gabrielle Moss, 10/19/2016
"Are you now, or have you ever been, categorized as a "nasty woman?" That's the latest bizarre, sexist turn of phrase Donald Trump used in the third presidential debate to try and tarnish Hillary Clinton's reputation, and it sounded familiar to me. Anyone else? Have you ever called a man out for being totally, utterly, absurdly wrong about something — like, so wrong it was obvious he wasn't even trying to not be wrong, and was possibly even kind of getting off a little bit on how wrong he was — and been told that you were "such a nasty woman" or some other descriptor that implied that you were foul, angry, some kind of human hemorrhoid? Have you ever been told that you were rude, unkind, or offensive, because you didn't put a man's feelings before your own in literally any situation?

Ha ha, just kidding — of course you have! If you're a woman, you've been told that it's a character flaw to ever state a very obvious fact about a man that paints him in a negative light (and if you're a woman who spends a lot of time online, you've already been told this 19 times today). Trump's jump aboard the "nasty" train makes perfect sense — over the course of his battle with Clinton for the presidency, it feels like he's done a grand tour of every kind of misogyny there is, from braying about his entitlement to commit sexual assault to implying that Clinton is not hot enough to become president. So naturally, there was no where to go but Nastytown.....

Washington PostVideo ✔ @PostVideo
Trump calls Clinton 'nasty woman' in answer on entitlement programs
10:36 PM - 19 Oct 2016

And I must admit, Trump was effective by one measure. There is a certain sting to "nasty." "Nasty" isn't as easy to dismiss as a vulgar insult, or some disparagement that you know to be untrue. "Nasty" says you're committing the worst crime any woman in our society can commit: you're making people think you're unkind. That's different than actually being unkind, of course — "nasty" is all about perception. You could spend all day devoting your life to public service (you know, like Hillary Clinton does), but inform one guy that you know that he didn't pay his taxes for almost two decades, and suddenly none of it is supposed to count. Suddenly, you're "nasty."....

And I have to say, at the risk of sounding cliché, I'm proud of it all. I'm proud of my nastiness. Because, do you know what "nasty" means? It means that I speak up when I see something that I think is wrong, even if I know it will make some people think that I am a jerk because their lives would have been easier if I had kept quiet. It means that I don't swallow my words when I know they need to be said, even if said words will make someone think I'm not a "good" woman. Because I'm not a good woman. I'm a f&&king* nasty woman. And I love it.
This word is completely spelled out in this comment.

And lastly, here's an excerpt from "32 Tweets That Will Make You Damn Proud To Be A Nasty Woman" by Jessica Samakow, 10/19/2016
"Donald Trump is nothing if not consistent in the way he demeans women. “Such a nasty woman,” he muttered into his microphone in the final moments of the third presidential debate while Hillary Clinton was answering a question about health care.

It was a horrifying moment that should surprise nobody considering how Trump has acted in the past any time a woman has threatened his (very fragile) masculinity.

But this time, the good people of Twitter decided not to be offended by Trump’s words. Instead, they took the opportunity to make some beautiful Janet Jackson references and declare that perhaps a Nasty Woman in the White House is exactly what we need.
Just minutes after the debate ended, was redirecting to ― the handy work of Jeff Meltz, a photographer and social media producer who lives in New York."
That author shares "32 tweets that will have you wearing Nasty Woman as a badge of honor". Here are a few of those tweets (renumbered in no particular order for this pancocojams post)
1. Alanna Vagianos ✔ @lannadelgrey
"You know what a #NastyWoman is good at? Voting. #debate"
11:03 PM - 19 Oct 2016

2. Nasty Natalia Reagan @natalia13reagan
"I like my presidents like I like my woman, nasty. And strong. And smart. And capable. #Debatenight" #ImWithHer
10:40 PM - 19 Oct 2016 · Burbank, CA, United States"

3. Julia Craven ✔ @juliacraven
"I, too, am a nasty woman (if nasty means smarter than you and you pissed about it) #debatenight"
10:50 PM - 19 Oct 2016

4. Sarah Watson @SarahWatson42
"Such a Nasty Woman" is my new battle cry.
10:40 PM - 19 Oct 2016

5. Jason Sparks @sparksjls
"A nasty woman's place is in the White House."
10:50 PM - 19 Oct 2016 · Washington, DC, United States

6. Emma Gray ✔ @emmaladyrose
"How do you think Trump is gonna feel when all the "nasty women" get out and vote on November 8th?"
10:48 PM - 19 Oct 2016

7. Joseph Nobles @BoloBoffin
"All the nasty women
All the nasty women
All the nasty women
All the nasty women
Get your votes up"
10:46 PM - 19 Oct 2016
This is a re-working of Beyonce’s song “All the single ladies" ("Get your hands up”).

8. Marci Walton @MarciKWalton
"Trump made a big mistake using the word nasty. Cuts across gender, race, sexual orientation, and Janet enthusiasts. #NastyWomenVote #debate"
10:45 PM - 19 Oct 2016

9. Elizabeth Banks ✔ @ElizabethBanks
"Madame President if you're #nasty #debatenight"
10:40 PM - 19 Oct 2016

10. Ron Charles ✔ @RonCharles
"That's the sound of people everywhere printing up t-shirts that say, "Nasty Women Make History.""
10:40 PM - 19 Oct 2016

11. braden graeber @hipstermermaid
"I want an orange man in the streets and a nasty woman in the White House."
10:39 PM - 19 Oct 2016

12. Rachael Berkey ✔ @bookoisseur
"Proud to be a nasty woman. #ImWithHer"
10:35 PM - 19 Oct 2016

13.Anne T. Donahue ✔ @annetdonahue
10:34 PM - 19 Oct 2016

14.Jeanne Queen-Blake · Works at Placer Academy
"Janet would be so proud! Miss Jackson, for those of us who know!"

15. Jennifer Wright @JenAshleyWright
"Look, if you've ever been called a "nasty woman" for disagreeing with a man, go vote November 8." #DebateNight
10:39 PM - 19 Oct 2016

UPDATE: 10/20/2016, 11:28 AM

I also meant to include that I think that in its positive sense the term "nasty women" can refer to women
who acknowledge and celebrate their sexuality, however ways we are true to themselves. In that sense women are reclaiming the word "nasty" and declaring that we are going to be all that we can be".

Maybe I should also add - Women are saying they can be nasty as they don't get too raunchy (or ratchet*) with it.

*That's an inside joke. Read the comment that I wrote below before I added this update.

The content of this post is presented for political and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and all the singers whose videos are featured in this post.

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1 comment:

  1. This post is a detour from the pancocojams series that I've been working on about the slang word "ratchet".

    But while I read through a lot of the comments in the Vanity 6 video discussion thread and a few of the comments in the Janet Jackson discussion thread, I was on the look out to see if any commenters used the adjective "ratchet" to refer to either of these singers. But I didn't find even one comment using the word "ratchet" even though some commenters thought that Vanity and her two also attractive background singers were singing lyrics which were considered sexually explicit in the 1980s.

    Commenters described Vanity (Denise Matthews) as being "sexy", "sultry", "beautiful", "gorgeous", "fine", "classy", and "hot". These are all complementary adjectives. So I wasn't surprised that the word "ratchet" wasn't used to describe her since it appears to me that "ratchet" nowadays usually refers to someone who is a "hot mess".

    While there can be a sexual element to "ratchet", the female who is described by that word isn't looking or acting "well put together" as Vanity and her background singers were.

    I know this has nothing to do with the 3rd and last (Thank God) Presidential debate for 2016. But I wanted to share it here as I'm about to get back on that "ratchet" train.

    Here's a link to the first post in that series: What "Ratchet" Means & How Its Slang Meanings Continue To Change