Ok so John Mayer’s recent interview with Playboy sent the internet into an uproar yesterday. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do so. He commented on basically everything, including his love for masturbation, explicit descriptions of sex with famous ex-girlfriends, insecurities with being himself, his black fans, and his lack of attraction to black women. Wow. Talk about a candid interview.
There was a whole lot he said that people took offense to. I for one, wasn’t bothered by any of it. I know I know, gasp, because me being both black, and a woman, I apparently should have taken issue with a few things he said. But I didn’t, and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, it was as candid as you can get. I’m one who wishes people in the spotlight didn’t have to be so edited and “politically correct” all the time, and in this interview, JM was neither. It was like he was sitting in a bar with his boys talking about life without realizing there was a recorder there. It was that uncensored, and I loved it. I dislike the fact that the public says they want authentic, honest people, but when they get that, they negatively judge them for it. I don’t like the concept of an honesty limit.
About the masturbation/sex talk: All grown people have heard of masturbation and most have done it. The act itself isn’t taboo but I suppose talking about it and/or admitting to doing it is. Again, a limit on how honest one can be. And as far as him talking about sex with Jessica Simpson, call me what you want but I thought his description was hot. He’s a songwriter and it sounded like something you would hear him sing as soulful lyrics, strumming a guitar over a background beat. Truth is, I wouldn’t mind being described like that by an ex at all (again, think what you want, but while you’re thinking, go ahead and admit that you wouldn’t mind it either). Removed from all the sexual talk, were his comments on Jen Anniston, which I found to be very sweet and endearing. It’s obvious that even though their relationship is over, he respects and cares for her deeply.
On his description of his insecurities: This was actually the most interesting part to me. We all have our insecurities, but we’re not supposed to let people know, lest they use that information against us. I think it’s brave to be able to share those with the world. His speech was severely self-effacing, as if he was trying to come to grips with being comfortable in his own skin during the course of the interview.
Add the description of living in his head and being more comfortable there than in the real world, and I could relate on an extremely personal level. I’ve felt that way often. To hear someone else articulate what that feels like in such detail, with such intelligence, was really amazing. I could also relate to the inner struggle he described having to hurt people in love because I’ve always said I’d much rather get my heart broken than break someone else’s (although that’s rarely been the case in my own life).
On the comments some people are calling racist: There are two parts to the racially based statements, both of which are, for the most part, being quoted out of context. The first one, talking about having a “hood pass”, referring to being liked and approved by the black community, is what many people are taking issue with because he used the “N-word”. Now while I believe that people shouldn’t use that word, and white people especially, the point he was making was well stated and not racist at all. He was simply saying that if he really did have a “hood pass”, he could use the “N-word”, which he can’t, so he doesn’t. Taken out of context, people freak out because he actually said the word, but the overall intention and point was in no way disrespectful and/or racist. On twitter afterwards, he said that he was wrong for trying to intellectualize a word that was so emotionally charged, and on that front, I agree. But still, people gotta chill out.
The second part where he said he wasn’t attracted to black women, and referred to his male equipment as a white supremacist, didn’t bother me either. Everyone is just mad because JM said in print what a lot of people say in private. Because truth is, you see very few white men trying to date black women. And black men aren’t exactly making a habit of talking about black women in positive ways either (see Kanye, Lil Wayne, and countless other examples in the music industry). Plus, if it’s not racist for black women to say they prefer to date black men—which many do—then it’s fine for JM to say he prefers white women. This wouldn’t even be an issue if he was black and had said he prefers black women. Again, people need to chill.
In short, I loved the tone of John Mayer’s interview. I wish more people were encouraged to be themselves instead of being who they are told everyone wants to see and hear. To me he came off as honest, raw, and wildly intelligent. In fact, his intellectuality and depth was what struck me the most from the interview. Although he’s most definitely hot, I wouldn’t want to hook-up with him so much as sit and listen to his mind all night. I’m sure the uproar over his comments will cause him to be more censored from now on (he’s since announced he’s done with interviews and sound bites), but I think that’s a shame.
What do y’all think about it?