Wednesday, April 08, 2009


So, I was surfing You Tube when I came upon this relic of my youth!

This is one of the greatest songs, and greatest videos, ever made. But I have a question: is it racist? Look at the physical portrayal of the main character, Tyrone Shoelaces. Look at the physical representation of the other black characters, especially the cheerleaders. Are the other black basketball players depicted as thugs?

Next, is this imagery used by whites to marginalize African Americans? Or is it typical urban imagery of the mid-seventies, used by African Americans to express pride in their racial identity and their culture? Would African Americans of the time think it was racist? (my bet is some did and some didn't. It would be easy to find out).

btw: if you are not familiar with the song, it was by Cheech and Chong, it peaked at #15 on the Billboard charts. The band included George Harrison, Carol King, Tom Scott, and Billy Preston. I never could find out who animated it, but it has the look of the cutting edge animation of the mid-seventies. Very urban and very hip. It reminds me a bit of Ralph Bakshi (especially Fritz the Cat), Terry Gilliam's Python stuff, Alegro non Troppo, and School House Rock (all of which can be found on You Tube).


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