Wanna Be or Jigaboo? Which are you?

Now really, if you aren’t aware of the Don “Dumbass Ignoramous” Imus controversy by now, then you really have been living under a rock. After listening to the conversation that got his stupid ass into this hot water, the one thing that seems to be over looked is that his producer actually called the women “hard core hos” first. Ignoramous then followed up with the comment about “nappy-headed hos.” And although they’re taking heat for the “nappy-headed ho” comment, they also called these young women several other inappropriate names. He also interjected some banter about the Jigaboos vs. the Wannabees.

Now if you’re black, you also know that Jigaboo is another racist term that white folks at one time openly used to degrade black folks. These two butt heads bring it up because they think they know something about it being in a Spike Lee movie which they incorrectly attribute to “Do the Right Thing.” But it was actually a part of a different movie by Mr. Lee. Many black folk will remember the Jigaboo vs. the Wannabees as that wonderful production number in “School DaZe” released in 1988. Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times Review that tried to describe the rivalry between the two groups as depicted in the movie:

“School Daze,” is a satire on an all-black college similar to his [Spike Lee’s] own alma mater, Morehouse, turned the friction centered on color into a pointed burlesque. The college’s women divided into two camps, the dark “Jigaboos” and the fair “Wannabees,” who taunted each other in one scene with the epithets “pickaninny,” “Barbie doll,” “tar baby” and “high-yellow heifer.”

I remember going to see that movie. It show cased quite of bit of talent some of whom went on to have very good careers in both film and TV such as Lawrence Fishburn (the Matrix), Jasmine Guy (A Different World) and Tisha Campbell (Martin) and others. Anyway, there were quite a few really great production numbers in that movie, one of which was the showdown at ReRe’s Salon between the Wannabees and the Jigaboos. I’m sure few white folks are even familiar with this film. Quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that either Ingoramous or his producer ever saw it. Just to set the record straight, the entire movie was about exposing the divisiveness that black folks can create amongst ourselves when we label each other by such things as skin tone e.g., light skinn (good) dark skin (bad), wavy/looser textured hair (good) and nappy/kinkier hair texture (bad). At the end of the movie, all the characters call for us to “Wake up! Wake up!”

Unfortunately, these issues remain very divisive in our community today. So we really do still have a long way to go before we wake up. But thank goodness for Youtube, cause darned if the “Good or Bad Hair” number isn’t posted online. I dug it up for your entertainment and for some, your enlightenment as well. Here it is…enjoy!

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Comments
3 Responses to “Wanna Be or Jigaboo? Which are you?”
  1. LBellatrix says:

    Now that was a pleasure to see (again). Thanks for posting it. 🙂

  2. nappyme says:

    You’re welcome!

  3. mscocontxus says:

    This is the film that a few of us gave a debate on in high school. (I know I’m “dating” myself, but who cares) I thought it was an accurate depiction at the time, unfortunately it still is. I wish that we can see past this & call upon this type of divisiveness as only a debate. That’s not the case because I still see some hurt going on these days regarding color and “good/bad” hair. I don’t care about color, I care about health, love & happiness. Anything that distracts from that is just sad, and since I did enjoy this film, I must say that I enjoyed the debate. I probably would today as well, as long as people refrained from name calling and insensitivity. Thanks for the memory…btw I’d bet a hundred neither Ignoramus or McButthead saw the movie.

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