“I’m A Golliwog[i]”

by A.D. Carson

 

You can be a N!&&@ just like me/

Walk, talk, act, dress like me/

Roll over, beg, fetch like me/

Get a check like me/

Be a slave—put a chain around your neck like me/

(You need to get like me!)

You can be a N!&&@ just like me/

Walk, talk, act, dress like me/

Roll over, beg, fetch like me/

Get a check like me/

Be a slave—put a chain around your neck like me/[ii]

 

I be on that ol’ Coon A$$ N!&&@ s#!t/[iii]

Ice—no flaws, no blemishes/

N!&&erish/

Skin real black like licorice/

Complex—if I could, I would get rid of it/[iv]

Hate to even mention it/

Cool Kids Club, and our membership/

Is the color of our skin and it’s/

So dark that we don’t wanna live in it/

And we think that’s alright (all write) like penmanship/

 

You can be a N!&&@ just like me/

Walk, talk, act, dress like me/

Roll over, beg, fetch like me/

Get a check like me/

Be a slave—put a chain around your neck like me/

(You need to get like me!)

You can be a N!&&@ just like me/

Walk, talk, act, dress like me/

Roll over, beg, fetch like me/

Get a check like me/

Be a slave—put a chain around your neck like me/

 

I got a Styrofoam cup, and I’m fillin’ it up/

Look at me, N!&&@, I’m livin’ it up/

I know you jealous of my ‘6 foot, 7 foot,/[v]

Kunta wit’ a severed foot,

Chain gang swag—take steps that he never took/

I’m plankin’ on a million/[vi]

I’m plankin’ ‘cause I’m feelin’/

So damned fly I should be plankin’ on the ceilin’/

I don’t understand it, but I fake it ‘cause I’m willin’/[vii]

And you so f*^%in’ stupid that you take it ‘cause I give it/

 

You can be a N!&&@ just like me/

Walk, talk, act, dress like me/

Roll over, beg, fetch like me/

Get a check like me/

Be a slave—put a chain around your neck like me/

(You need to get like me!)

You can be a N!&&@ just like me/

Walk, talk, act, dress like me/

Roll over, beg, fetch like me/

Get a check like me/

Be a slave—put a chain around your neck like me/

 

Okay kiddies, I’m’a teach you all a neat dance/

Get a rope, tie one end around a tree branch,/

Take the other end that’s hangin’ in the air,/

While you’re standin’ on a chiar,/

Tie it tight around your neck/

Now you’re set.  Now you’re set/

All you gotta do is wait/

I advise you playin’ your favorite mixtape/

Just jump, then you turn and you spin slow/

We don’t call it suicide, we call it ‘The Jim Crow’/[viii]

 

You can be a N!&&@ just like me/

Walk, talk, act, dress like me/

Roll over, beg, fetch like me/

Get a check like me/

Be a slave—put a chain around your neck like me/

(You need to get like me!)

You can be a N!&&@ just like me/

Walk, talk, act, dress like me/

Roll over, beg, fetch like me/

Get a check like me/

Be a slave—put a chain around your neck like me/

###

 

 


[i] Golliwog is a pejorative used to describe people with dark skin worldwide.  The term originated as a character in the children’s book, written by Florence Upton, The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg, and eventually went on to be used as an advertising mascot and trademark for the Robertson jam and marmalade company due to the character’s resonance with children as a popular toy.

[ii] The insinuation is that the rapper, referencing himself as a Golliwog, instructs his listener that he or she can attain some ideal of fame or financial success by imitation of the stereotype being presented.  Essentially, the speaker is appealing to the idea that the individual who cowers to the idea of fame in this way is expected to act like a pet—a dog that is expected to “roll over, beg [and] fetch” as well as be a “slave” both literally and figuratively.  In the literal sense, slaving to generate money for others (“masters”, which also doubles as a commentary on the music industry) and in the metaphorical sense, wearing a chain around the neck, though seen as a symbol of stature in the music world, brings to the fore the slave chained and made to work (and treated like a dog).

[iii] Coon: (African American Vernacular) For an African American to play the dated stereotype of a black fool for an audience, particularly including Caucasians.

 

Examples of quotations:

1994, Donald Bogle, Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks, An Interpretive

History of Blacks in American Films, Continuum Intl Pub Group, ISBN 082641267X page 234. “Rather than cooning or tomming it up to please whitesthe black comic characters joked or laughed or acted the fool with one another. Or sometimes they used humor combatively to outwit the white characters.”

1999, Nelson George, Elevating the Game, Black Men and Basketball, U of Nebraska

Press, ISBN: 0803270852, page 52. “If any other forties figure paralleled this humorous, graceful man in appeal it was the dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, who, like the Trotter, funneled his extraordinary physical gifts into mass entertainment for whites yet remarkably, considering the time, avoided cooning.”

2005, Kermit Ernest Campbell, “Gettin’ Our Groove On”, Rhetoric, Language, and

Literacy for the Hip Hop Generation, Wayne State University Press, ISBN: 081432925X, page 80. “From the classic toasts to the dirty dozens to the early blues and now to gangsta rap lyrics—why not consider it all just a bunch of niggers cooning for the white man’s delight and dollars?”

 

[iv] The entertainment industry has long reinforced the ever-familiar intraracial idea of light skin vs. dark skin, which, in turn, has created a generation of entertainers and consumers who have bought into the idea that the standard of beauty is somehow more easily attained by having a lighter skin complexion.

 

“Shades,” a song recorded by rapper Wale’s 2009 debut, Attention Deficit highlights this particular inclination.

[v] See the lyrics to “6 Foot 7 Foot” by Lil Wayne, from his 2011 release, The Carter IV.

[vi] See the lyrics to “Gotta Have It” by Jay-Z & Kanye West, from their 2011 release, Watch The Throne.

[vii] The fad of individuals having pictures of themselves taken while playing dead, or “Planking,” as it is commonly known, has caused much controversy because of its similarity to the arrangement of slaves on ships to be transported, which, though many contend is merely coincidental, is notable.

[viii] Popular songs that describe dance moves that become popular have been in existence for ages.  Similarly, in the world of Rap music there have been many notable dances from “Da Butt” to the “Tootsie Roll” to the “Laffy Taffy” to “The Dougie” and “The Cat Daddy” and many more.  These dances are generally accompanied by music videos that illustrate how the dances are performed.  Not exactly a dance song, or illustrating a dance move, the video for Tyler the Creator’s song “Yonkers” from his 2011 album Goblin, depicts the rapper standing on a chair and hanging himself at the end.

 

A popular song and dance from 1865, “Jump Jim Crow,” was performed by the “Original Jim Crow,” Thomas Dartmouth (T.D.) “Daddy” Rice, gave us the name of the Jim Crow Laws that enforced de jure racial segregation in the United States.  This dance is described in the lyrics to the 1865 song:

“Wheel about, and turn about, and do just so;/

Every time I wheel about, I jump Jim Crow.”

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Aydee TheGreat

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