Sir Mix-A-Lot has come to Blake Lively's defence amid controversy over an Instagram post containing lyrics from his 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back”.
In one of her most divisive posts to date, the actress shared an image of herself at Cannes Film Festival from the front alongside one from the back, with the caption: “LA face with an Oakland booty”. The reactions came in thick and fast on social media, sparking a fierce debate over her appropriation of the lyrics.
As a privileged white woman, Lively was accused of being racially insensitive, using black women’s bodies as a ‘commodity’ and hit by suggestions she “get woke - and fast”. The feminist blog Jezebel claimed her use of the lyric was problematic because of the way “LA face and Oakland beauty" sets up a racial division, presenting only one - whiteness - as beautiful.
But not everyone understood the backlash, including the man who penned the original lyrics 24 years ago.
Sir Mix-A-Lot told Pret-a-Reporter: “That song was written with African-American women in mind, but trust me, there are white women with those curves everywhere, and they were once considered fat. And that's what the song was about."
A number of those who initially defended Lively asked why, if there was an issue, it wasn't being taken with the actual lyrics as opposed to Lively's use of them.
"I wrote this song not as a battle between the races," Sir Mix-A-Lot said in response. "I wrote the song because I wanted Cosmopolitan, I wanted all these big magazines to kind of open up a little bit and say, 'Wait a minute, this may not be the only beautiful.' I mean, I don't look at Serena Williams as fat. I don't think she has an ounce of fat anywhere on her. I didn't want there to be one voice. I wanted to say, 'Hey, us over here! What we feel like is this.'”
Sir Mix-A-Lot said his lyrics were written to empower black women by promoting a type of beauty that was being shunned by mainstream culture, explaining his reference to LA as a reference to Hollywood. "In other words, makeup or whatever it took to make that face look good, they do it in LA But, as much as you can throw makeup on something, you can't make up the butt. That's what LA face and Oakland booty meant.”
He suggested Lively’s post signifies that “beautiful people have accepted our idea of beautiful”.
“I think it's almost a nod of approval, and that was what I wanted. I wanted our idea of beautiful to be accepted.”
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