Remember when a certain beloved Hollywood blonde by the name of Blake Lively posted a photo of her couture-clad posterior to Instagram with a caption that set the Internet aflame? (Here’s the recap.) Well there was one crucial man in the midst of this whole story who remained unperturbed — Sir Mix-a-Lot. In fact, the creator of the lyric Blake quoted says that he actually liked the photo and “was a little surprised at the criticism.”
In a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the man whose ideal female measurements every person in the world can rattle off by heart started off by giving a brief history lesson explaining that, “the reason I wrote the song was because I always felt that the African American idea of what was beautiful was shunned…what was promoted as beautiful was kind of really waif-thin, borderline heroin addicts. I don’t mean that literally, I mean the look. That was kind of pushed at us, and we were told that it was beautiful, and what I started to see was some people of color either being ashamed of who they were or trying their best to assimilate.” And so, he was inspired to pen the now iconic “Baby Got Back,” saying, “I wrote this song not as a battle between the races. I wrote the song because I wanted Cosmopolitan, I wanted all these big magazines to kind of open up a little bit and say, ‘Wait a minute, this may not be the only beautiful.’”
He then brings it back to the current drama at hand, saying, “Fast-forward to Blake Lively. For her to look at her butt and that little waist and to say ‘L.A. face with an Oakland booty,’ doesn’t that mean that the norm has changed, that the beautiful people have accepted our idea of beautiful? That’s the way I took it.”
The rapper continued, however, that in the interest of not being perceived by critics as an “Uncle Tom” his approval of Blake’s usage is completely contextual. “If what Blake Lively meant by that comment was, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve gained weight, I look horrible,’– and I doubt that she did — then I’m with the critics,” he said, “But no one in the world is gonna tell me that a woman that wears that dress is thinking that she’s fat…It sounds like to me like she was giving the line props.”
He concludes, “I think we have to be careful what we wish for as African Americans, because if you say she doesn’t have the right to say that, then how do you expect her at the same time to embrace your beauty?…I think it’s almost a nod of approval, and that was what I wanted. I wanted our idea of beautiful to be accepted.”
In the end, if there’s one lesson we can all take away from this social media kerfuffle it’s that booty is truly in the eye of the beholder.