Full disclosure: I went into this video with high expectations. There are a lot of 'Hathahaters' still percolating over a year after her Oscar campaign and I desperately wanted Jimmy Fallon to inject some self-aware, self-deprecating humor into this bit to win Hathaway back some good will. Which he most likely succeeded in doing. She nails the singing and her comedic timing is spot on. But there was this uncomfortable sensation growing behind my eyes the longer the medley played. A tiny warning siren trying to get my attention. And then, about when 'Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe” started, it hit me. Oh noooooo, this was appropriation.
White people, we need to talk. This is getting embarrassing for us as a whole. It's funny and sometimes poignant to take a popular song and change the genre. Less so when you ignore the cultural connotations of 'classing up rap' because then wow no. Full stop. If you want to give yourself aural pleasure do yourself a favor and go listen to ScottBradleeLovesYa and his band Postmodern Jukebox (most likely the inspiration for Fallon's bit). But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this isn't a classic accidental piece of institutionalized racism so systematic to our country. Maybe I'm just the bitch killing the vibe. But entertainment doesn't exist in a vacuum; context matters.