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.
Kirsten 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