Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kirsten West Savali: Is Paula Patton a Black Trophy Wife?


By: Kirsten West Savali, Your Black World

If I were Paula Patton, I would be embarrassed.

In an exclusive interview with Essence Magazine, the Mission Impossible 4 actress’s husband of six years, Robin Thicke, managed to not only divulge intimate details of their sex life, but to paint his wife as nothing more than a hypersexual, replacement mommy-figure who introduced him to the world of Blackness.

Patton, through no malicious---but still very purposeful---intent of her husband’s, was cast as the Black Trophy Wife, valued because she grants him an authenticity, an entree’ into the world of soul, funk and R&B that he would not have been granted otherwise. He maneuvers her from her rightful place at his side, and pushes her to the front of his agenda to seduce the Black community into accepting him as our own ---that is, when his “mojo and swag” aren’t being occupied giving Patton “double-digit” orgasms.

He also reveals in the interview that she calls him ‘Daddy’ and he calls her ‘Mama’ because their respective parents didn’t play important roles in their lives, so they became each other’s replacement. For some reason, he doesn’t seem to realize that when compounded by race in a traumatized society his words are toxic. Their twisted dynamic is eerily reminiscent of a slave-owner/Mammie dichotomy and co-dependency---exacerbated by racial stereotypes---is neither attractive, nor romantic. 

I enjoy Robin Thicke’s music, but I have no illusions that he will ever be Donny Hathaway or Marvin Gaye, or even Eric Benet or Rapheal Saadiq. Then again, neither does he, because according to him, his contemporaries are “Drizzy Drake and Chris Brown.” He doesn’t even take himself seriously.

Essence asked him to respond to the myth that there are “no good Black men,” Thicke had this to say:

“I think that’s ridiculous. There are so many good Black men out there that are hardworking, decent, and handsome, you know? To start that rumor is as bad as starting any other negative rumor. There are great Black men out there. There are only a few good White men -- trust me. (Laughs) Good luck finding a good White man who understands your journey. I only have three White friends. I’ve got twenty Black male friends, who are all good men who take good care of their wives, and good care of their children. I know amazing Black men...”

Good answer, Robin.

On the surface, this sounds admirable, but when placed in the same context as trotting out the number of his wife’s orgasms in a transparent attempt to co-opt the “Black Man-Sex God” myth, what becomes clear is Thicke is more interested in scoring “brownie” points (pun intented) with Black men, while still placing himself above them because he’s such a rare breed. Black men may be a dime a dozen, but white men like him? Now, we’re talking about a priceless treasure. Well, let him tell it.

The message to Black men is that he is not a threat; all he wants is exclusive membership privileges to Black America, and he’ll continue to sing our praises from Watts to Washington, D.C. In that one interview, Robin Thicke exposed his uncanny ability to insult our intelligence, minimize our value and destroy his credibility, and the tragic irony is that he probably thought he was showing the utmost respect.

In the same breath as he’s drowning Black men in compliments, he manages to slide in that he’s been with the same Black woman for eighteen years – a feat that none of them have managed to accomplish. He then insinuates that the reason there seems to be a shortage of “good” Black men is because maybe we’re not loving them right, or saying we’re sorry enough – the exact same stereotypical claptrap we read on a daily basis. I’m not sure when he became a Black relationship guru, but there are deep, traumatic fissures in the relationships between Black men and women that deserve more than a window-shop analysis.

Thicke shares with Essence that on his latest album, Love and War, he dedicated the song “I Don’t Know How It Feels to Be You” to Patton after they argued about his understanding of what it means to be Black. Her response was simple: “Robin, no matter how hard you try, or how compassionate you are, you’ll never know what it’s like to be a Black woman.”

With all due respect and admiration to the drop-dead gorgeous and talented Paula Patton, her bi-racial heritage (white mother, black father) ensures that she is the standard of beauty for both Black and White men according to a new study. Unlike the multitude of negative studies that invade the wombs, finances, education, sexual health and chances of love for Black women, the only studies that examine the lives of multi-cultural people, besides how beautiful they are, prove that they have better chances of success and will eventually be the majority of the population.

When was the last time that such glowing studies were conducted on the lives of Black women?

No worries, I’ll wait while you think about that one.

Even though she doesn’t like to be referred to as “bi-racial,” finding it offensive and arrogant, there is still an undeniably different trajectory for her. She can seamlessly transition from one world to the other without the scorn or side-eyes of people wondering why she was allowed in the front door. While I would never diminish her personal experiences as a woman of color in this country, nor minimize the nuanced racism that she has surely faced, the lens through which she is viewed is not definitive of many Black women. Thicke should not be confused by that fact, nor erroneously believe it grants him the authority to speak with any knowledge of what Black women should or should not do to get---and keep---a Black man.

I truly believe that love should be color-blind. We should be able to elevate the Black community without feeling as if we’re committing treason just because whom we decide to romantically love does not share our skin melanin-content. What Robin Thicke has done is no more than Will and Jada Pinkett –Smith’s propensity to indulge in limo-sex confessions everywhere from the red carpet to Oprah’s couch. My criticism of Robin Thicke is only race-specific because he demanded that it be so; he is asking to be judged on his ability to love a Black woman --- and how well he professionally competes against Black men; which is unfortunate, because authenticity, regardless of ethnicity, is much more readily accepted than cultural plagiarism.

If Thicke truly loves his wife, then he shouldn’t use her as career booster. If he really wants to show the world that he’s a “different kind of white man” then he shouldn’t reduce his wife to orgasms and lingerie, juxtaposing that visual with her morality and character. By placing emphasis on the fact that he’s “never dated a white woman and [doesn’t] want to” he makes it appear that Patton’s ethnic composition factors more heavily into their relationship than who she is as a person --- and leaves one compelling question: Does he truly love Paula, or does he love that Paula is Black?

Patton stands by his side, the beaming Black Trophy Wife of a Blue-Eyed Soul singer, and his professions of love for her in Black media have recently become the equivalent of nothing more than the desperate, patronizing insult “But, I have a Black friend.” In the past, and even in this interview, he speaks about loving her morality, strength and the fact that she taught him racial compassion. I think it would serve him well to stick to that script.

They make a beautiful couple and have been an example of a transcendent love that crosses racial boundaries and the five-second romances so common of many celebrities. Many times, he has braved the dangerous interracial media waters to make it clear that he deeply respects and loves his wife; It’s extremely unfortunate that this interview leaves the impression that he loves what her “Blackness” does for his career more.


imageKirsten West Savali is Senior News Editor at YourBlackWorld.com. She is founder and administrator of the Nomadic Poets’ Oasis, an online destination dedicated to the exposure and elevation of poetry, spoken word and the visual arts. She is also currently co-writing The Hole in the Wall, a piercing, Blues-tinged screenplay that delves into the bruised soul of a fatherless son in search of himself. Her provocative commentary appears in various publications and explores the interconnectivity of race, gender, politics and culture. Kirsten’s work can be found on ClutchMagazine.com, HuffingtonPost.com, AOLBlackVoices, Loop21.com, IllumeMagazine.com, BirthplaceMagazine.com and others. Connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @KWestSavali


Roz said...

Shame on Essence. Was this a set-up? Why the hell was Robin Thicke, silly as he is, asked such a question and he attempt to answer it in the first place? Poor fellow, just because he is married to a Black woman makes him no authority on Black men/women relationships. I can't imagine Essence posing such a question to Robert DeNiro or he attempting to answer it. ESSENCE. Black people. Silly.

Jeff Samano said...

Wonderful job in exposing Robin Thicke's white privilege. The interview is dripping with insinuations that imply, suggest and devalue both women and Black bodies while seemingly playing off his answers as harmless banter. Privilege always seem to conceal itself and to those who possess it! Particularly the insightful passage that reads "If Thicke truly loves his wife, then he shouldn’t use her as career booster. If he really wants to show the world that he’s a 'different kind of white man' then he shouldn’t reduce his wife to orgasms and lingerie, juxtaposing that visual with her morality and character" especially in comparison to black men. The most harmful part of all is that the discourse in generated by Thicke seem natural and legitimate within the confines of a racist patriarchal structure. Great post!

Geoff Thorne said...


they met, fell in love and stayed there. not everything is a political statement.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mr. Thorne on this one. They met and have been together since high school. Why can't they just be together for love?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mr. Thorne as well. I don't think he needs his black wife to boost his career, because some of his fans didn't even know that he was married and had his wife in his videos. I was a fan of his way back in the day when he had long hair, then when he resurfaced singing "Lost without you" some of my friends didn't even know he had an album out previously, and raved about his music. He has loved that woman since high school and their marriage works for them.

shanda said...

I too am with mr. Thorne I am so tired of the hatred behind interracial couples. Does it matter where you find love? Never. I would say dont write out your own race but if someone from a different race is all that you want go for it. Would you rather her be with a hip hop rapper beating the crap out of her and cheating on her to no ends or be with a man who genuinely cares for her, respects her and treat her like the black queen that so many of us wish we had and not a trophy? If you ask me I would think the person who wrote this article and conducted this interview where straight up jealous because paula is #winning. and you... not so much

Anonymous said...





Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that the writer of this piece sounds as if she has been wounded previously through racial comments. Her comments makes her sound bitter and racist. Why do people, and especially black women, always have to take comments out of context. It sounds to me as if you might be jealous. Yes, perhaps some comments that Mr. Thicke made should have been re-thought. However, why can't people love who they love, and why should publications always twist and ask questions that are clearly none of their business. Shame on Essence Magazine for your insensitive questions, and the seemingly honest answers of a man that is a singer and husband who happens to be white!!!

Kirsten West Savali, use your talents and intelligence in a more positive way...sister girl!

Mrs. Kim Y. Seals said...

Dear Ms. Savali, I am embarrased for you, rather than Mrs. Thicke. Your article shows such anger or is it envy, jealousy and hatred? It leads one to believe that their marraige is an affront to you personally. Was he your ex-boyfriend or were you recently jilted?!! What possibly could compel you to write such a viciously acid filled read?!! I pray for your spiritual healing and future happiness, in all sencerity. God bless and keep you.

Anonymous said...

Dear author,
please grow up, and stop being hyper sensitive to all issues of race. Mr. Thicke is entitled to be married to any woman who wants to be his wife. He does not need a black woman to boost his career.

Anonymous said...

Why did you ask the man the question? I am very racially conscious and understand some of the response but most of it is too deep and an over reactive response. He was explaining his sex life with is wife who has been with for almost 20yrs...I am sure its more than an access pass. Its not like she is the round the way girl...at this point if a woman a black woman can find a man willing to adore her....let it be. For the record I prefer a black man but I will not remain single waiting on the good black man. When we win the battle of how black men view us then we will have time to wonder what this white man was thinking.

David said...

As a black man I agree with everyone who thinks this writer ought to be the one embarrassed. The two of them met and married before either of them "blew up" and now that they're in the public eye you become a hating sister, poor you. You'll be the first one out there looking for that "good white boy" but sorry Paula even beat Halle to this one.

Anonymous said...

"If Thicke truly loves his wife"
This is just inappropriate and unnecessary Kristen. Although, I'm quite certain you meant well because you ordinarily write eloquently, I also believe that you didn't chose your battle wisely. Why pick on Paula??? Essence magazine is not as Afican-American conscientious as it once was. Many blacks are not even aware that it is white-owned. I cancelled my subscription years ago. It's not as if the interview was reviewed or even conducted by Susan Taylor or Angela Burt-Murray's team. Who knows how much of that interview was edited for time and space? Aside from that we're talking about Paula Patton. She's not some a zz shakin video ho. She is an elegant young woman who has talent and a level of success from it,a husband who not only shares it with her and appreciates her but also has his own level as well. So how does that equal "trophy" ?
I want you to be mindful that Wil and Jada aren't the epitomy of love just an example of it. It's nice that they have been married for many years but so has Denzel and Pauletta, Samuel and LaTanya-less the media drama. Oh, must we not forget President Obama and our elegant First Lady Michelle? I never knew Paula has a white mom. However, our President does as well. He says he's black-we say he's black. Paula says "I'm black" and you write she's "a woman of color." If that's her description of herself than we all should respect her confidence in who she says she is. You're a bit off base. My take on Paula is that inspite of what she has been through because white mom or not the World treats her as black-she is confident in her own skin. Why don't you write about all the O.J Simpsons and Kobes and rapper dudes of the World who have a problem with what they see in the mirror?????????

Miracles and blessings to all...

Taunya Baker Curry said...

I am so sick of everything being racial and/or political. Why can't this man just be in love with his wife and that be that. Damn people, sometimes, we just don't know how to leave well enough alone.

Anonymous said...

Ms Author ....you need a bit of therapy. Are you jealous because this loving couple have a solid marriage? Or are you suffering from unrequited love? These two appear to have a deeper love and respect than what you portray in this article and you can't stand it! Just face it and write something positive rather than your hateration and biased assessment of their relationship. I'm happy the majority came down on your negatism!
From: Sick of all the negative in the world.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is "Mr. Thorne?" and how did he get into this discussion?

Anonymous said...

If I were Robin or Paula you would have never gotten the interview...for what, so you can do this? Take everything out of context and plant negative seeds in peoples head...marriages are already hard behind closed doors! No one needs their celeb life assumed by bloggers like you...yes, I have a husband of 18 years and I'm 42 so yes I can speak on it...you need to take that pen and write an apology to the two of them and stay in your lane you will fair better in life...maybe you will find a man who will love you the way he loves her...give me something to read and apologize...Do That!

Anonymous said...

Paula girl, you do you. I wish you and your husband nothing but happiness. I too, as the previous posts feel embarrassed for the writer.

Anonymous said...

What on earth is wrong with this woman (Ms. Savali) does she require medication. Those statements are so mean. If someone said something like that about her it would be a problem. Sweethearts from high school and she's a trophy wife? Doesn't even sound right. Why are you so bitter? Check yourself.

Anonymous said...

I understand what the writer is saying about revealing so much intimate information, but Paula is not a trophy. She is a beautiful and talented woman who is well loved by her husband.

Anonymous said...

I agree
With the author of this article, because of all the
Sexual discussions. Would he be discussing their
Sexual life if she were white? Was he
Justifying his sexual abilities
To satisfy a black woman, as well as any black man? No I am
Jealous . Happily married. It reminded
Me of discussions in slavery narrations. I'm just

Anonymous said...

I would like to be a black trophy wife... please. This article is ridic.

LD said...

Very nice article. Its sad that most of the people who commented lacks understanding of what the article is saying. Get real people racism still exists. Always has, always will. Compliments to the writer

Anonymous said...

this was the most stupid article i ever read. may be you just wanted a rise out folks for numbers . Because you made no sense. If Thicke said something positive , you say he is being phony, he kept real and you call him racist ,...what the hell do you want lady. Plus as a Biracial women I take offense to everything you wrote. Biracial people comes in all forms to darkest of dark to Mariah Carey light ...so dont you dare pass prejudgement on how we are percieved or not . Like it or not were all in the same damn black boat look at the president whens the last time he got a pass for being biraical ! I am embarrased for your article not not Paula or Robin..love them please continue to do you P and R!



sounds like someone has been dipping in the "Haterade"! How did she honestly expect him to answer any of the questions to her or everyone's liking? Point of the matter is that he is a whiteman with a fine black wife and they are happy ......End of discussion

Anonymous said...

Wow...from the article to the various posts...it shows how deeply rooted self hate goes in the the American culture. The better question would be one exploring why it is an issue in the first place. Yes it is worth looking at, but not as to if Robin is gaining any credibility by being with a black woman or is Paula loosing any by playing on her beauty, being of mixed race to enjoy a long lasting and gratifying relationship. The real question is, why is it black women are portrayed in the American society as less desirable in the first place. Recognize the decline in the growth of the population of blacks in American, the ever rising of single black mothers and fatherless children and ask the questions, how and why. Energy given to anything else is futile. I appreciate the author's attempt to explore the issue, but dressing it up in Robin and Paula's relationship leaves too many loop holes to distract from the real issue. Black women bring value to sustaining a relationship. It is the black male who has abandoned his role of cherishing the black female and shouting to the world the wealth she brings to his life. Let's get back to that and maybe these other things will seem pointless.
From a licensed relationship expert.