The new Die Antwoord video for “Fatty Boom Boom” is spreading like wild fire, but not just for its performance aspect. In the video, Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er adorn full-body paint jobs, but Yo-Landi’s appearance is eerily reminiscent of the minstrel show make-up staple, blackface. While the imagery is undeniable, this is nothing new, as many have discussed the socio-economic implications inherent in Die Antwoord’s music. Via Africa Is A Country:
To me, Die Antwoord is basically blackface and blackface is tricky; it exists on a continuum from satire to parody to mimicry to misdirected appropriation, but the points on the continuum are given valency by reception. As Ninja and Yo-landi are personas, I’ll take Die Antwoord as satirical.
But what are they satirising or parodying? The people on which the personas are based? I.e. the ‘coloured’ gangster or ‘gangster’ or youth? Or is it white working class youth, the select few who due to new proximities in working class and lower middle class neighbourhoods, are now developing habits and mannerisms that will not raise an eyebrow on the Cape Flats taxi-line?
Although, this video may bring newfound attention to the debate. Watch “Fatty Boom Boom” below.