This is…unfortunate. First, it’s called “Ghetto.” Second, it’s a song about living in the ghetto written and sung by a white woman who moved to east Nashville and had to sing about her observations “of my neighborhood and the inequalities that exist between people in America and around the world. A daunting, horrible reality.” Except she didn’t consider the daunting, horrible reality of releasing a song like this that is completely tone deaf and blissfully oblivious. (And, yes, racist.)
Third, the singer, Ashlee K Thomas, is inexplicably practicing yoga in her music video.
“She’s good livin’ down in the ghetto” the chorus carries on like a thick drip of ignorant, insensitive honey.
Cue the Annie Lennox.
Yoga is already riddled with controversy. Did we need this? No. The answer is no. But maybe, just maybe, the universe dropped this hunk of a clunker in our laps so we can discuss.
Yet another example of good intentions gone terribly wrong. Thomas explains her inspiration, via YouTube:
No one escapes pain in this life and no one chooses the hand of cards they are dealt.
I moved to east Nashville over 10 years ago. This song began to write itself over the observations of my neighborhood and the inequalities that exist between people in America and around the world. A daunting, horrible reality.
I have love in my heart, body and energy for the people deeply affected by this song & video. I am understanding and compassionate towards the chord this strikes and how difficult my bringing light to a very real truth and shrouding it in love and yoga, is.
Hm. Thank you, white savior, for bringing this to light as no one else has and practicing yoga so these ghetto folk can find their truths? You know it best because you’ve witnessed it.
Gunshots and sirens are the music of the hood
Flashy rims, lowriders, rolling slow, up to no good …
Mama’s gotta feed the babies, standing in the welfare line
Pleading to the Lord, “Please save me, help us make it another night”
If only they could practice yoga, too.
Is it time to make it mandatory to include cultural sensitivity in yoga teacher training?
Ashlee K. Thomas is already getting her Becky hair handed to her. Via The Grapevine:
We should really applaud her yoga instructor because the average white savior would’ve pulled a muscle Beckying this hard, but not Ashlee K. Thomas. She wrote a song whiter than an unseasoned chicken breast with mayonnaise and kale, all folded inside a gluten-free Wonder Bread wrap.
And for some reason the video is still up (and allowing comments). We’ll quote one well-intentioned forewarning YouTube commenter: “ooooh girl, a shit storm is comin’ your way. Good luck!”
Like we said, maybe this is good fodder for discussion on what not to do. Maybe this video should go away and never be seen again. Maybe she’ll get a book deal out of it and she can bring light to others.
While the video is still up, embedding has been disabled, so you can view it here, if you must.
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