I was ear hustling some women talking at a Food cart in downtown Philly. The three women were talking about interracial dating and when did black men “jump the shark” and date white women. You know one of those ridiculous conversations that really have no answer and truly no need for an answer. Yeah, I said it Rick James did it! Many would say that many celebrity black men long before Rick James dated white women such as Jack Johnson, Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, and Sammy Davis Jr. But, Rick James made it acceptable for the everyday black man to interracially date.
I sit down and eat my Philly Cheese steak and I continue to listen to their conversation and chuckled to myself. They had the most consistent answers that some black women say. Their statements may have had some validity to it but I figure it’s a futile conversation. I didn’t say anything to them but the more they talked the more I wanted to jump in and tell them the reason black men date white women….Rick James.
I refined this theory a last year and even though it is funny as hell maybe it has some validity. I have written about interracial dating before and I am a proponent of people loving who they love as long as they respect themselves and others. But, I really started to think about it and I really do believe that Rick James made the idea of dating white women (or dating interracially in general). Rick regardless of his crazy life style may have done more for race relations than people give him credit for. The more and more I researched Rick James sans the comedic Chappelle Show episode I learned that Rick really was about that LIFE. Rick loved women!! He dated women from Linda Blair to Ola Ray. If they had grass on the field and were attractive he was playing ball. Rick took the idea of groupies from the Negro leagues to the Major leagues. Some could call Rick James the Jackie Robinson of interracial dating on public scale.
Before Teena Marie was brought into Rick James fold she was just an unknown member of an also ran Motown band. Rick James saw her and made her into one of the best soul artists of the 70s and 80s. Rick James packaged Teena Marie to soul audiences that many didn’t even know she was white until they had already fell in love with her music. Then when brothas finally found out that Teena Marie was a white girl from California they couldn’t believe it but the damage had already been done by Rick James. How could a brotha not fall in love with essence of Teena Marie and the white woman after hearing her croon with Rick James on “Fire and Desire” or how she belts out “Lovergirl”? Of course Rick’s romantic relationship with Teena helped as well.
The Mary Jane Girls was originally supposed to just be the groups lead singer Joanne “JoJo” McDuffie as a solo artist. McDuffie was a background vocalist for Rick already but, Rick had a bigger vision to see the group as something bigger. He decided that he wanted to make a group to compete with Prince’s Vanity 6 that in his words “would have all type of women that every man would want to f***.” Rick James said we need more white girls in here especially a blond. He had them all in different styles of sexy (Sexy/Streetwise, Valley Girl, Dominatrix, and Vamp). Even crazier was that only one of the Mary Jane girls sang (McDuffie) the others were just there to diversify the sexy. When the Mary Jane girls hit with sexy songs such as “All Night Long” and “In My House” black men all over the nation thought maybe they could be with a white women all night long. Of course Rick consistently slept with the “Dominatrix” Mary Jane Girl
Rick James was one of the first R&B/pop artists to get in on the advent of the music video. In those days having a music video was a big deal and a part of an artist’s marketing campaign. In the early 80s many black artists would have white women dancing or hanging out in the video BUT Rick James would be freakin’ the white women, black women, brown women, yellow women, and green women in his videos. Don’t believe me huh? Check out Rick James’ “Super Freak” video and see how he just grinds on all the women. Think about at this time Rick James was a role model for many young black boys in the late 70s and early 80s. Many thought if Rick can freak on all types of women. Why can’t I?
I thought I would give you all a funny way to see how Rick James through his music and life made it publicly acceptable for black men to date white women. There are people that have a color complex that reflects in their dating and it very well may have something to do with some form of self hate but that really isn’t something we need to concern ourselves with on a day-to-day. It is that persons own personal choice, life, and journey that they have to deal with it. As ridiculous as my statement that Rick James made black men interracial date is the same reason people shouldn’t try to figure out why people date who they date. At the end of the day the person has to figure out who they are and where they are going.
Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the “Straight Outta Lo Cash” Radio Show. This week’s show “Little Tink Tink Going to the Bing Bing”. You can also subscribe to the show on I-Tunes or listen on your Android, I-Phone, or I-Pad with Stitcher Radio.