Really, Glee? Two Months & We Should Be Over Whitney

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Amber Riley as Mercedes

Maybe this isn’t fair, because this week’s episode is airing, right now…and I haven’t even seen the entire episode. But, to paraphrase Jerry MaGuire’s love interest “you had me at Whitney.” That is until, Mr. Shuster uttered, “it’s been two months, shouldn’t they be over it already.” Pause. Blank Stare.

Cue singing montage featuring the fab four: Mercedes, Santana, Kirk, and Rachel. Can we just let Mercedes sing this song? No, there is Rachel, somehow being positioned as the lead, even for a song that might give Mercedes an opportunity to take center stage – and I think, exemplifying part of what Whitey broke down. In short, Whitney, though gives much slack for it by some in the Black community, broke down barriers of Black womyn being idolized and centered. Glee has appropriated Whitney.

So, you know what we should be over Mr. Shu…the appropriation of Black womyn.

I don’t like this at all…

In part, because I was truly troubled by last week’s episode, in which the Idol watcher winner was positioned as a Black man who had a female alter-ego (at first) and was truly transgendered. NOW, I support the inclusion of transgendered characters. My beef was how they did not humanize, but caricatured this character. Then they had Quinn in her chair…SMH. The tokenization on this show troubles me.

And the commodification of Whitney; this doesn’t feel like a tribute. I know it is intended to be, but in my opinion it was done in poor taste. Particularly when we have the beauty of Whitney’s going home ceremony as an example of Whitney’s cultural grounding; rather Glee gives us what Whitney was often in the middle of: her pop persona and her very real Black cultural roots.

And lastly, if they would let Mercedes use her full voice, she would outshine Rachel – and frankly NO ONE on the show in my opinion was really up to the standard of singing Whitney – though both Mercedes and Rachel, I think could do it.

Glee this is your last season with me. The identity politics are just too messy – and by messy, I mean problemactic, dismissive, pseudoliberal (read neoliberal), and marginalizing.

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