Thursday, 6 August 2009

Random thoughts on "Obsessed"

Ok, it's another Mariah Carey "what the?" moment. In her latest video (which I'm not going to embed as I can't find a decent embeddable version at the moment, but here's the link to her official site where it plays within a little widget on the left), Mariah Carey not only dresses up as a man and plays her own stalker (a nice way to get double the screen time for MC, as opposed to say, what would happen if she brought in David Boreanaz to play the part, and also giving the whole video an Austin Powers/Dr Evil vibe), but we then see him/her get run over by a bus. Now that's a surprisingly violent climax for a Mariah Carey video, no?

Incidentally, I've always been fascinated by the presentation of Mariah Carey's race in all of the media pertaining to her. Mariah Carey is mixed race, with Irish-Caucasian on the one side and Black-South-American on the other, yet was famously made to "play down" her "blackness" (as well as any explicit portrayals of adult sexuality) whilst working under husband/manager Tommy Mottola. Upon her separation - personally and professionally - from Mottola, you suddenly see a massive upswing in the amount of cultural signifiers of "blackness" in Mariah Carey media, including a great deal of collaborations with rap/hip-hop/r&b artists (and hey, Spike Lee too). I also find it telling that Mariah's "evil alter ego" - appearing in the videos for "Heartbreaker" and "Boy" - is called "Bianca", although maybe that's a bit of a stretch.

The reason I'm thinking about all of this? Simple. When watching the video for "Obsessed" I couldn't help but wonder, Mariah Carey can certainly get away with playing a white man, it seems, but if she'd been playing a black man, would she have been accused of 'blacking up', despite her own black heritage? It's all a moot point, obviously, as she's not done so, but still, it makes me wonder.

And in case you're wondering why she gets hit by a bus in the new video, well, it's all a big "fuck you and I hope you die" to Eminem, apparently.

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