Is James Davis’ clip a witty political satire, disrespectful, or is he just soft-shoeing?
Making fun of U.S. Presidents predates Thomas Nast’s 1859 parodies of Abraham Lincoln and has continued through various “Saturday Night Live” sketches on down to the present day. But a recent viral video which mixes Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard In The Paint” with various racially charged stereotypes about President Barack Obama, has some viewers question exactly what is off limits.
“That they used it to be so sarcastic, it was almost a form of disrespect,” Waka Flocka told the New York Times. Waka’s mother and manager, Debbie Antney, echoed the same sentiments, saying, “That’s not a positive image for us, period, as African-Americans, where we came from, where we’re going today.” Times writer Jon Caramanica reports that Antney unsuccessfully tried to have the video removed from WorldStarHipHop, a site which in addition to premiering at least one other Waka Flocka Flame video, has also featured clips of fried chicken eating contests, soft-core pornography and women fighting outside of housing projects.
There has been no shortage of racial overtones surrounding Obama’s presidency—from “Birthers,” members of the Tea Party and his inclusion of Lil Wayne and Jay-Z on his iPod. Comedian, James Davis, who portrays President Obama in the video, linked his own racial dichotomy with the President’s.
“I can speak to the educated black guy and the hood black guy,” Davis said. “The fact that we can come out and put on a full production like this in an area where there’s gang violence, in what people would consider the hood, is important to me. He’s a come-up story, in the biggest way possible. That’s what a lot of rap is about, grinding hard, making it from nothing to something.”
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