There’s a right way and a wrong way to take the piss out of Michael Rapaport

When I first saw the headline at the Root “Black Twitter tells some white dude named Michael Rapaport to keep Janet Jackson’s name out of his mouth“, my first reaction was “Who?”. His name sounded rather familiar, in that “didn’t I see this XXX film recently with a guy who had that last name” kinda way. Thankfully this is the Age of Google, and it only takes a few strokes–keyboard strokes–to find out all there is to know about the dude who swerved out of his lane and into incoming traffic. It turns out Michael Rapaport is an actor. Dun dun duuuuuuun. And a director. A podcast host. A writer. A media personality. Oh, and a comedian. Dude wears a lot of masks. Maybe he’s having a crisis of self, and is trying his hand at a bunch of different things to see what works.  I can’t tell if his offending Tweet was meant to Rapaport the comedian or Rapaport the media personality, but either way, this ass ran headlong into oncoming traffic when he decided to cry Janet and let slip his smug ignorance:

Popping.  He did say ‘popping’, right? I wonder how aware Rapaport is about the African-American roots of the term he has used appropriated. {Mental note: add ‘cultural appropriation’ to ‘list of things Michael Rapaport needs to educate himself on before speaking.  That’s going to increase the difficulty setting for “media personality”, but it’s not like he doesn’t have another mask to wear, and really, after that Tweet, he should go radio silent for a while and think about where he went wrong in life. Or at the very least, think about what the fuck kinda point he was trying to make. Speaking of…

His, ummm, ‘point’ (I hesitate to call it a point, bc he so grossly misunderstands the people he’s criticizing, but ok, whatever) actually misses the point of the commentary about Janet Jackson. Rapaport seems to think critics were A: crying and B: crying over her absence. Nuh-uh. Bzzzt.  Sorry, you’re wrong. Now it’s really time to STFU. That commentary isn’t about her absence.  It is criticism about how she–a Black woman–was blacklisted from the Super Bowl and blamed for the 2004 “wardrobe malfunction” that was the fault of the guy who saw his career take off in the wake of “Nipplegate”.  A guy–a white guy–who was invited back to play at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show, as if nothing ever happened

In reality, it wasn’t that people were necessarily tweeting about her absence. More were tweeting about Justin Timberlake’s presence. And how, as a white man, he got to leapfrog over the event that nearly ended Janet’s career {Note: the dual privileges of maleness and whiteness lie at the heart of JT’s forgiveness, while racism and sexism intersected to screw over Janet Jackson–Tony}. And then he joked about it in his performance.

Justin has been granted some kind of credibility in the Black community. He worked with Timbaland and Pharrell and Janet and Jay-Z. He knew the shorthand. He was invited to the proverbial cookout — though he knows better than to say the N-word. We spent money on his music and his shows. We respected his artistry, though we know it’s heavily borrowed. But when pressed, he lied and moved on. Janet who?

Justin Timberlake has spent much of his career picking and choosing which elements of African-American culture that he wants to appropriate for his artistic portfolio (note to JT and all other white folks, Black culture is not a Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar). JT has taken a lot from the Black community, the music, dance, hair, style, clothing, and more. Hell, he went against Prince’s wishes and used his image in a manner not significantly different from the one Prince is on record saying he did not want. But hey, it’s just a Black person, and this is JT’s career we’re talking about. Why should we expect him to honor the wishes of the man he ostensibly performed a tribute for. when he is concerned about his career. Geez, priorities. I swear, I can almost hear “Can’t you Blacks just be happy with what we give you”

All of that, is why people were “crying over Janet Jackson”. Michael Rapaport might have known that if he’d bothered to engage people (something a media personality ought to have some skill at). HIs inability to comprehend why Janet Jackson was on the lips of so many people wouldn’t have been so bad had Rapaport simply kept his mouth shut. But since he went and let the verbal diarrhea fall out, he opened himself up to criticism from Black Twitter:

 

 

I’d love to leave it here and ride off into the sunset, content with the well-deserved roasting Rapaport got from Black Twitter. Unfortunately, I can’t, bc some of the pushback he faced chose to focus on something other than his opinions and beliefs:

 

Michael Harriot, the author of the Root article on Rapaport (and a guy who I usually find pretty humorous, got some digs in as well:

Anyway, even though I might have no idea who Michael Rapaport is, this guy who looks like the love child of Pikachu and the Pillsbury Doughboy was right when he said, “Motherfucka’s wanna make nothing something.”

What could have been some sharp criticisms or rebuttals of Rapaport’s dismissiveness of and ignorance about Janet Jackson was marred by too many appearance based ‘joke’s.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but part of Black Liberation is freedom from the oppressiveness that is being judged according to the bodies we live in, no?

Do we not live in a society that shames ppl for having the “”wrong body”” all the time?

  • Too skinny.
  • Too fat.
  • Too much makeup.
  • Too little makeup.
  • Too much acne.
  • Hair is too long/short.
  • Tattoos determine your character.   
  • Facial hair doesn’t belong on women.
  • Dontt wear skintight clothes.
  • And much more.

Do we not want a body positive society that does not shame others for their meatsuits ?

I know I do.

Whoever Michael Rapaport is–comedian, director, actor, joke, or smugly ignorant white dude who swerved out of his lane and needs to course correct–eviscerate the fuck out of him bc hes got shitty beliefs, but leave his appearance out of it.

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There’s a right way and a wrong way to take the piss out of Michael Rapaport
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