April 18, 2010

Kesha goes tribal in Saturday Night Live

Last time we saw Kesha, she wore a Plains chief's headdress. This time she's wearing an Amazon Indian costume.

What On Earth Was Ke$ha Wearing On SNL?

By Verena von PfettenI have no idea what Ke$ha or her costume designer was thinking when they put together this glow-in-the-dark, neon paintsuit made up of nothing but stereotypical tribal markings—paired, of course, with a halo of feathers—but the result was painful to watch.

Comment:  The headband, rings around the eyes, dots under the eyes, strips on the cheeks, and feathers on the shoulders strongly suggest an Amazon Indian. The rest of the tribal markings are just an abstraction.

Note that Kesha is wearing a black mask over her face. So she's literally as well as figuratively appearing in blackface.

Fortunately, there's nothing "tribal" about Kesha's song or performance. Apparently she just likes to dress up in colorful costumes.

In fact, her singing sounds mediocre unless it's electronically enhanced. One could argue that her performances are all about the spectacle of her costumed routines. Because they don't seem to be about her musical talent.

Indeed, I thought this costume was the most interesting thing about her two performances. If she had fashioned it without imitating an Indian, I might've approved. As it is, I consider it an interesting failure.

The problem with Kesha's costume is the usual one, of course. It positions Natives as primitive people of the past--wearing facepaint and feathers while everyone else is wearing suits, jeans, or dresses. Kesha probably doesn't know it, but many Amazon Indians wear Western clothes and hold Western jobs these days. Some even surf the Net and watch videos like the one below.

For more on Kesha, see What's So Wrong About Kesha? and Outrage Over Kesha's Performance. For more on SNL, see Indian Curse in Saturday Night Live and Cobell Skit in Saturday Night Live.


Anonymous said...

Yeah...one can argue that she doesn't harbor any real musical talents. To me she's more of an obscured actress rather than a faux singer. I don't know what her bitter White fans hear in her voice but she doesn't average well above the typical Idol contestant. Kinda reminds me of Diva--Julian's obnoxious shrill vocals as seen in the WWE. Its bad.

Sorry Ke$ha, you get a thumbs down.


Anonymous said...

whats wrong if amazon indians wearing facepaint? You're a racist prick, rob. Thats their culture. Its not "in the past" for them to wear it while others wear suits. its not in their culture to wear suits. It doesnt make them "primitive" to not take part in a culture thats not theirs. Instead of saying "well, some indians have given up on their culture and imitated white culture" how about not putting so much value on white culture and honoring indians who stay true to who they are