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rawsouthpaw
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Tue May-24-16 09:18 PM

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"VICE interviews UK photog on ATL strip clubs / LA exhibit"
Tue May-24-16 09:19 PM by rawsouthpaw

  

          

Fun discussion on demographic and power of representations ensues too. Pics and a video (NSFW obviously):
https://www.vice.com/read/ivar-wigans-young-gods?utm_source=vicefbus&utm_campaign=global


Photos from Inside Atlanta's Strip Clubs
By Karley Sciortino

May 24, 2016

Most photographers are not invited to take out their cameras at strip clubs, or to document casual hangs with the Bloods. But Ivar Wigan—perhaps due to his soft-spoken, Scottish charm—always seems to be invited to the party.


Wigan's photography series, The Gods, is a celebration of the culture and community around hip-hop in the American South. Shooting primarily in Atlanta, New Orleans, and Miami, Wigan's images are provocative and cinematic, showcasing street culture from a perspective that's intimate and admiring.



All photos by Ivar Wigan
Wigan was born in Scotland and raised in London. His voracious approach to documentation reminds me of a famous quote by Susan Sontag, from her book On Photography: "The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world 'picturesque.'"



The Gods shares common themes with Wigan's previous work, which includes explorations of tribal Africa, the Jamaican dancehall scene, and images from his extensive travels around the American South. Wigan's series is exhibiting at Little Big Man Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles through June 19.


VICE: Why is so much of The Gods shot inside strip clubs?
Ivan Wigan: The subjects of the series all pivot around the world of gangster rap, and strip clubs are the main meeting place within that culture—they're like the church, basically. A lot of the action unfolds in strip clubs. That's where everyone goes to hang out, where the rappers play their new records, where all the hottest DJs in hip-hop have residencies. And for some of the women in those communities, their greatest aspiration is to be able to dance in one of those clubs. For example, in Atlanta, if you're a Magic City dancer, people look up to you, they show you respect, because those girls are making more money than everyone else in their environment. They're often only twenty-one or twenty-two, but some are making $5,000 a night easily. They have flash cars, all that. So a lot of the young girls are literally waiting to hit nineteen, so they can get a dancer's license. And the guys want to date the star dancers, and to be seen with them.



That's refreshing to hear, given that even within the most sex-positive communities in cities like New York, there's still a lingering stigma about women taking their clothes off to make money—even if the women say that they enjoy their work.
Yeah, being a dancer is not regarded as even remotely negative in Atlanta, which of course is a very different attitude to other places in the world. I grew up in England, where a strip club is considered a really dirty place—somewhere old men go alone to get some kind of sterilized erotic experience. But in Atlanta, it's not remotely like this: Everyone goes to strip clubs—couples go, I met a pastor in there, you see groups of girls, people go to watch basketball or football games, they go for dinner—all the clubs serve food. But by the end of the night, it's heated and everyone starts dancing, and it turns into a bit of a club. So it's not just a place where men sit around a stage in a long coat looking sinister. It's really an upbeat, mixed environment where people go to interact. The dancers are beautiful young women who have positive aspirations. It's something that's quite unique to the South. Atlanta is at the center of it, but you have clubs like that in New Orleans, Jacksonville, Memphis, and a bit of it in Miami. There's more than sixty-five strip clubs in the metropolitan area of Atlanta.




The subjects of your work are represented as heroic—almost divine. Is this intentional?
That's very much the case. I'm trying to raise street-corner characters to iconographic status. Another person could shoot all this same subject matter very differently—in negative or condescending light, or in a way that was highly politicized. But I'm trying to lift people up. My purpose is to make beautiful pictures that the subjects of the photos love.


Is this where the name The Gods comes from?
Actually, "Gods" is a slang term for veterans of the street—guys who have survived the prison system, veteran hustlers. So the younger boys will often call the older guys the Gods.

What drew you to this particular American community, rather than, say, shooting communities in your native Scotland?
I think a lot of artists place themselves into lifestyles or situations that are unconventional or exotic to them, in order to clean away the conventions they are born into, and to see the world or their subject in a fresh light.



It's not often that people are allowed to take out their cameras inside strip clubs, or while shadowing gangs. How did you get such intimate access?
I had to live in Atlanta for a long time. When I arrived, I didn't know anybody. I went there because I knew about the club scene, and when I landed, I just said to my cab driver, "Take me to a cheapest motel," and from then on, I learned the city, made friends, and embedded myself. I was there for more than a year, but I didn't take any photos for the first nine weeks—I didn't even take my camera out of the bag, I was just driving through the city and trying to understand it physically, the communities and the neighborhoods, and getting out and talking to people.


When I eventually found the clubs that I wanted to work in, I would go there every single night until I knew all the dancers and the security and the management. It's all about relationships. So I was part of the scene at the time. I'd always have my iPad and would show them my photos—the work breaks down the barrier, and they can see what I'm about.
For more on the culture of strip clubs in Atlanta, check out our video: 'Atlanta: Strip City':


Would you say your work is portraiture? Documentary? Both?
You know, I never really thought of it in those terms. There's definitely some portraiture in there. But then, when I met the Bloods... well, it's not like you get many chances to hang out with the Bloods, so you can't try to control that situation—you just shoot what you can. So from that point of view, it's a documentary project. But I'm not trying to document everything, warts and all. It's more like, "Here's my view of this world. Here's a slice of life that I've chosen to represent."


I was very much looking for moments of light in the storm. Because it's a dramatic world. Really, it's more akin to wedding photography—I'm trying to enter this world and be very much part of the party, to live within it, get to know everyone there, and to give back something that the subjects love and want to keep. I give the people I shoot prints whenever I can. There's a couple of shots in the series—the bigger group shots—where I didn't get to give a photo to every single person, but for the most part, everyone loved and was given their photographs.



Do you feel like white audiences are more receptive to a white photographer representing black culture?
I would say no. In Britain, we don't categorize artists by their ethnicity, so I find this question a bit odd as it's intrinsically divisive. The subject of race is a tricky one for me because Britain is very different in this regard, and much more integrated. There's been many events and parties where I've shot side-by-side with NYC-based photographer Wayne Lawrence, who was born in the Caribbean. We are friends and frequently share feedback on each other's work. He is probably the highest-profile photographer of African descent working in America. Wayne is a far more successful photographer with countless accolades and awards, so I'm very much still in the shadow of many artists who have come before me. On his Instagram, he just describes himself as "a human." That's how I see myself, too. I don't think the question of the reception of our pictures by the public is in any way related to our complexion.

What does it mean to be a white person creating imagery of a group of people who don't usually get control of the way they are represented?
With social media playing an increasing role, I think everyone has a stronger degree of control over their images.

How do you navigate the lines between admiration and fetishization? Documentation and exploitation? How much of a concern is this for you and your work?
Fetishization implies some sort of erotic content that I don't really see in this series at all. I don't feel photography to be an exploitative process if the intention is to produce a positive result of lasting beauty. What better gift can you give a person than to portray and display their image, caught looking their finest, in the prime of life?



People often compare your work to Nan Goldin, although her work feels much darker than yours.
I like Nan's work very much. I met her in Paris the year I started doing this, and I bought a print from her at the time, which I live with, above my bed. She's always been an inspiration to me, but she shoots from a very dark place—she has concentrated on a lot of very dark and turbulent subject matter, and while my pictures might have an edge, I don't see darkness in them. I see them as positive, more of a celebration. So that's really the difference. For example, one of Nan's most famous images is of the hand of a final-stages AIDS victim, holding the hand of his boyfriend. It's a very powerful image, and I respect it very much, but I would never take that photo, because that's just not my purpose as an artist. My purpose is to find things to celebrate.

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
Ummm kehinde wiley much?
May 25th 2016
1
LOL. Khende takes it to level 5,000 though
May 25th 2016
5
Goddamn do dudes just not wear shirts down there?
May 25th 2016
2
You don't spend $2,000 and 4 hours getting 30 of the worst tattoos ever
May 25th 2016
3
most strippers only make a few hundred per night
May 25th 2016
4
this is so cultural voyeurism / racist
May 25th 2016
6
Hold on... this mother fucker DID shoot the Suri tribe in South Sudan
May 25th 2016
7
      he describing the Rolling 60s like they the long lost Dinka tribe
May 25th 2016
8
           Yall fell for the racist trap though. Because the immediate question to
May 25th 2016
11
                ^^^ things 'woke' people say
May 25th 2016
13
                Then I might be the racist one because they don't seem that different to...
May 25th 2016
22
                     I wouldn't say 'racist' necessarily. And like you said, it's one thing
May 25th 2016
24
                Not lower. But less ubiquitous.
May 25th 2016
14
I hate when think pieces try to psychoanalyze gangs and strip clubs and ...
May 25th 2016
9
I think I hate it to but I do believe it is a result of all those things...
May 25th 2016
12
Nah, this is textbook example of all those things
May 25th 2016
15
      what does making it rain have to do with any of this?
May 25th 2016
16
           Only cause you seem to be bored!
May 25th 2016
20
           1. Ninja you ain't go to 'splain nothing bout no strippers to me aight?
May 25th 2016
21
           watching this being typed was like watching a slo-mo car wreck. lol.
May 25th 2016
29
           BigReg clearly said systematic racism. you even quoted him.
May 25th 2016
27
Fuck Vice and everything they stand for.
May 25th 2016
10
basically
May 25th 2016
19
strippers strip cause min wage is $7 and 3min lap dance is $20
May 25th 2016
17
I didn't read it. lol but I see my fetishism concerns are addressed in a...
May 25th 2016
18
is this the dude who got in trouble for like
May 25th 2016
23
is this something only white people can do?
May 25th 2016
25
Channel4 did a doc where they brought some papa new guineans to the uk
May 25th 2016
26
      NatGeo did it here stateside. "Meet The Natives"
May 25th 2016
28

Buddy_Gilapagos
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Wed May-25-16 06:33 AM

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1. "Ummm kehinde wiley much?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


>The subjects of your work are represented as heroic—almost
>divine. Is this intentional?
>That's very much the case. I'm trying to raise street-corner
>characters to iconographic status. Another person could shoot
>all this same subject matter very differently—in negative or
>condescending light, or in a way that was highly politicized.
>But I'm trying to lift people up. My purpose is to make
>beautiful pictures that the subjects of the photos love.
>

**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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BigReg
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Wed May-25-16 07:39 AM

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5. "LOL. Khende takes it to level 5,000 though"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

I see his perspective in the actual pictures thoughl; it is in depth but doesn't seem exploitative...or as exploitative as it could be considering its in a strip club.

There's also the angle in Khende's work that feels a little 'male gaze' towards his subjects at time and almost sexualizes them.

Here he's trying the opposite.

  

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T Reynolds
Member since Apr 16th 2007
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Wed May-25-16 06:53 AM

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2. "Goddamn do dudes just not wear shirts down there?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

  

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B9
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Wed May-25-16 07:09 AM

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3. "You don't spend $2,000 and 4 hours getting 30 of the worst tattoos ever"
In response to Reply # 2


          

And then cover them up with a t-shirt, especially when you want to show off your dedication to crappy tattoos over doing like, you know, a pushup or two.

  

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deejboram
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Wed May-25-16 07:35 AM

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4. "most strippers only make a few hundred per night"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

.

****
pink toes: http://i.imgur.com/WN7DPL1

  

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deejboram
Member since Sep 27th 2002
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Wed May-25-16 07:42 AM

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6. "this is so cultural voyeurism / racist"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

He's making Atlanta seem like he embedded in the jungles of Limpopo

****
pink toes: http://i.imgur.com/WN7DPL1

  

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T Reynolds
Member since Apr 16th 2007
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Wed May-25-16 07:53 AM

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7. "Hold on... this mother fucker DID shoot the Suri tribe in South Sudan"
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

/ Ethiopia

http://www.shootingfilm.net/2015/02/Ivar-Wigan.html

  

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deejboram
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Wed May-25-16 07:55 AM

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8. "he describing the Rolling 60s like they the long lost Dinka tribe"
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

.

****
pink toes: http://i.imgur.com/WN7DPL1

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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Wed May-25-16 08:30 AM

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11. "Yall fell for the racist trap though. Because the immediate question to "
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

you is what is wrong with the comparison? Do you somehow think that the African tribes are of a lower cultural value and beneath comparison?



**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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T Reynolds
Member since Apr 16th 2007
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Wed May-25-16 08:40 AM

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13. "^^^ things 'woke' people say"
In response to Reply # 11


  

          

lol

to compare two totally different groups of people, far removed from each other and somehow see some shared 'essence' between them, despite being as culturally disparate as vikings and Wisconsin football fans, as someone who is ethnically and culturally different, doesn't seem like an issue to you?

look at these asian medical school students, aren't they like samurai?

look at this white trailer trash, aren't they like the rag-covered filth of victorian England?

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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Wed May-25-16 09:36 AM

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22. "Then I might be the racist one because they don't seem that different to..."
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

Like I see a shared "essence" between the rhythmic erotic (by western puritanical standards) dancing of people from all parts of the Diaspora from the Juke joints and strip clubs in the American South, Dancehalls in the Carribean, to the dances you see from remote african tribes.


Don't get me wrong, there is something problematic going on here with this series and this dudes taste in subject matter and doing the job of explaining black exotic life to white audiences, but I think it is hard to deny there is a common thread that he seeks out in all his black subjects that isn't made up.


>lol
>
>to compare two totally different groups of people, far removed
>from each other and somehow see some shared 'essence' between
>them, despite being as culturally disparate as vikings and
>Wisconsin football fans, as someone who is ethnically and
>culturally different, doesn't seem like an issue to you?
>
>look at these asian medical school students, aren't they like
>samurai?
>
>look at this white trailer trash, aren't they like the
>rag-covered filth of victorian England?
>
>


**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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T Reynolds
Member since Apr 16th 2007
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Wed May-25-16 10:15 AM

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24. "I wouldn't say 'racist' necessarily. And like you said, it's one thing"
In response to Reply # 22


  

          

to appreciate / understand it, and another thing to insinuate or peddle in it (especially as a foreigner)

  

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deejboram
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Wed May-25-16 08:42 AM

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14. "Not lower. But less ubiquitous."
In response to Reply # 11


  

          

Dinka tribe not "less than" Boogie & Trey from Crenshaw Mafia but he is describing them ad if B & T is so hard to find and never been talked to before.

I can't quite explain it but I imagine him talking in hushed tones like Geraldo in that vault explaining his photos to a TED crowd at Austin City Limits

****
pink toes: http://i.imgur.com/WN7DPL1

  

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deejboram
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Wed May-25-16 08:04 AM

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9. "I hate when think pieces try to psychoanalyze gangs and strip clubs and ..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

No, this shit is not a result of slavery
No, it is not a result of white supremely
No, it is not a result of racism
No, it is not a result of the lack of a living wage
No, it is not the result of corporate greed


Sometimes shut just BE.

****
pink toes: http://i.imgur.com/WN7DPL1

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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Wed May-25-16 08:34 AM

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12. "I think I hate it to but I do believe it is a result of all those things..."
In response to Reply # 9


  

          

I just am not a fan of glorifying a culture that it is ultimately destructive for the people involved.

Dude is going to visit those places, take his pictures and make a name for himself taking those pictures. But then he is going to leave and not carry any of the baggage from his slumming it.


**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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BigReg
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Wed May-25-16 08:43 AM

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15. "Nah, this is textbook example of all those things"
In response to Reply # 9
Wed May-25-16 08:44 AM by BigReg

  

          

>No, this shit is not a result of slavery
>No, it is not a result of white supremely
>No, it is not a result of racism
>No, it is not a result of the lack of a living wage
>No, it is not the result of corporate greed

While it's not all bad and there is some sex positive things happening here, ultimately those transactions(stripper/patrons) are almost a DIRECT link to systematic racism affecting both sides, along with a healthy dose of patriarchy sexualizing women the second they have their first period.

It's a case of people trying to flip their lot in life and make it a positive, but lets not act like the fact that lot ain't directly because of 'merica's racism.

  

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deejboram
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Wed May-25-16 08:51 AM

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16. "what does making it rain have to do with any of this? "
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

ultimately those
>transactions(stripper/patrons) are almost a DIRECT link to
>systematic racism affecting both sides, along with a healthy
>dose of patriarchy sexualizing women the second they have
>their first period.
>
>It's a case of people trying to flip their lot in life and
>make it a positive, but lets not act like the fact that lot
>ain't directly because of 'merica's racism.



You guys try to put misogyny and racism on everything

Like how many strippers do yall know or talk to?
Out of the two HUNDRED or so strippers I've talked to none have said they stared stripping because of a racist white man.


Patriarchy
Sexualizing

Thinkpiece verbal again.
Stop it.
I'm serious, go to a strip club and TALK TO the strippers.

Stripping is big because minimum wage so low and stripping has ZERO necessary educational or skillset needed to make maximum dollars

Stripping is pure people skills aka sales
And looks/body image plays a part SOME times

****
pink toes: http://i.imgur.com/WN7DPL1

  

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BigReg
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Wed May-25-16 09:22 AM

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20. "Only cause you seem to be bored!"
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

>Like how many strippers do yall know or talk to?
>Out of the two HUNDRED or so strippers I've talked to none
>have said they stared stripping because of a racist white
>man.

Come on man, in that case ain't no racism period. LOL.

>Patriarchy
>Sexualizing
>
>Thinkpiece verbal again.
>Stop it.
>I'm serious, go to a strip club and TALK TO the strippers.
>
>Stripping is big because minimum wage so low and stripping has
>ZERO necessary educational or skillset needed to make maximum
>dollars

Yup, and even watching that video you had more then a few strippers like, 'I don't necessarily want to do this, its just the money'. It's an easy path if you've got the skillset, but unfortunately they don't have as many options; why isn't Palo Alto the strip club capital of the world?

Like I said out the gate there are plenty of sex positive things happening here; a woman can do what she wants, and there are plenty of empowered ass strippers, the stigma's disappearing. But the math ain't hard to add up here (women in the interview saying there's no other revenue streams, etc)

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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Wed May-25-16 09:26 AM

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21. "1. Ninja you ain't go to 'splain nothing bout no strippers to me aight?"
In response to Reply # 16


  

          


>Like how many strippers do yall know or talk to?
>Out of the two HUNDRED or so strippers I've talked to none
>have said they stared stripping because of a racist white
>man.

2. Yeah that's not how it works. The fact that people can't identify the source of their oppressive conditions doesn't mean those conditions aren't there. In fact they work best when the oppressed aren't aware that they are there. Hence the term "woke".


>Stripping is big because minimum wage so low and stripping has
>ZERO necessary educational or skillset needed to make maximum
>dollars

3. Homey how you going to type this statement about low wages and lack of education and then say in the same convo that institutional racism and poverty doesn't have anything to do with it?


**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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PROMO
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Wed May-25-16 01:13 PM

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29. "watching this being typed was like watching a slo-mo car wreck. lol."
In response to Reply # 21


  

          


>
>>Stripping is big because minimum wage so low and stripping
>has
>>ZERO necessary educational or skillset needed to make
>maximum
>>dollars
>
>3. Homey how you going to type this statement about low wages
>and lack of education and then say in the same convo that
>institutional racism and poverty doesn't have anything to do
>with it?

STAND OUT HAND OUTS: http://basquiatwhenipaint.tumblr.com

TWEET ME: @PROMO206

  

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KiloMcG
Member since Jan 01st 2008
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Wed May-25-16 12:29 PM

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27. "BigReg clearly said systematic racism. you even quoted him."
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

  

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Big Kuntry
Member since May 09th 2010
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Wed May-25-16 08:06 AM

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10. "Fuck Vice and everything they stand for. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

  

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philpot
Member since Apr 01st 2007
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Wed May-25-16 09:16 AM

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19. "basically "
In response to Reply # 10


  

          

________________________________________________________________
whenever you did these things to the least of my brothers you did them to me

  

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deejboram
Member since Sep 27th 2002
25755 posts
Wed May-25-16 08:55 AM

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17. "strippers strip cause min wage is $7 and 3min lap dance is $20"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

A hood chick can drop out of high school at 17 and make $400 a night instead of $45 working at Jamba Juice

All with no diploma and she barely can read and most definitely do long division


Why do dudes go to strip clubs?
Because science!

****
pink toes: http://i.imgur.com/WN7DPL1

  

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deejboram
Member since Sep 27th 2002
25755 posts
Wed May-25-16 09:03 AM

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18. "I didn't read it. lol but I see my fetishism concerns are addressed in a..."
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.

****
pink toes: http://i.imgur.com/WN7DPL1

  

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esb225
Member since Nov 12th 2003
41415 posts
Wed May-25-16 10:14 AM

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23. "is this the dude who got in trouble for like "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

faking a stripper club receipt and didn't even go on a particular day?

I got a good life man

  

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legsdiamond
Member since May 05th 2011
70719 posts
Wed May-25-16 10:23 AM

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25. "is this something only white people can do? "
In response to Reply # 0


          

could a black man take photos of strippers or russian wives boyvht online and put it in a gallery and get press?

just wondering

****************
TBH the fact that you're even a mod here fits squarely within Jag's narrative of OK-sanctioned aggression, bullying, and toxicity. *shrug*

  

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Reuben
Member since Mar 13th 2006
1855 posts
Wed May-25-16 11:01 AM

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26. "Channel4 did a doc where they brought some papa new guineans to the uk"
In response to Reply # 25


  

          

As a 'reverse' anthropological study

It's actually on youtube it's wack tho.


You're right you simply can't do it the other way and make any pointed observations the white identity is too robust for that imo

_______________________________________
When discourse of Blackness is not connected to efforts to promote collective black self determinism
it becomes simply another recourse appropriated by the colonizer

http://hardboiledbabesanddarkchocolate.tumblr.co

  

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PoppaGeorge
Member since Nov 07th 2004
10384 posts
Wed May-25-16 12:46 PM

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28. "NatGeo did it here stateside. "Meet The Natives""
In response to Reply # 26


  

          

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F6PE9C-G7w

^^^ This one was probably my favorite segment because of the truth being spoken by the native men about how we raise cattle.

  

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