It’s been an interesting week here at YOMYOMF. With our frank, candid discussion about transgender portrayals vs. guys in drag for comedy’s sake, and the perpetuation of stereotypes, it’s been real here on the blog. With the YOMYOMF Network, although solely for entertainment, we are perpetuating positive Asian American media portrayals, even though that’s not front and center of our mandate. The fact that many of the producers and members behind the network are Asian American, doesn’t necessarily make it a main point on the overall agenda.
Taking ownership of such stereotypes and poking fun of it, is the art of parody. So, when I saw this new video from up and coming YouTube creator, Todrick Hall, I nearly spit out my Diet Coke and short circuited my Macbook Air. Entitled Beauty and the BEAT!, the video opens with what looks like Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, coming out of her house, smelling the flowers in her garden and ready to sing to start a new day. But she ain’t running into Gaston or some dancing tea cups. No sir, this iteration of Belle is coming at you straight from the ‘hood!The fish out of water element of having a squeaky clean, and yes, very white Belle in the heart of the ‘hood is definitely a dichotomy that throws off a viewer’s equilibrium when seeing a Disney-esque musical come to life. And the fact that the ‘hood caricatures, ranging from gang bangers on the street corner to catty women with weaves at the beauty shop are singing and dancing right out of a Broadway musical makes the whole piece smart and comedy cold. Heck, they even threw in an Uncle Remus caricature too, for good measure, just to show you how racist this all is.
And who is Todrick Hall? After a cursory search, I read that he is a former-American Idol contestant! And apparently, he’s been mired in scandal. Whatever the case, this kid is taking his career by the reigns and is doing some interesting stuff. Beauty and the BEAT! is the first of what could be something interesting. Regardless if you like him or not, he’s got my attention.
What do you all think? Hilarious and smart or pushing the envelope too far?