White Chicks by Keenen Ivory

Categories: Film

At first glance, it’s easy to discredit White Chicks as another gimmicky comedy from the Wayans, filled raunchy humor, and “infantile flatulence jokes and fairly obvious gags”1. Coarse, raunchy language is spread throughout the film, intertwined with racial humor. Farts account for many of the plot turns, yet the Wayans utilize humor to they’re advantage. The Wayans’s film utilizes humor to gloss over harsher topics, and realistically comment on society and race roles. With the use of makeup the Wayans prove anyone can be anything.

Could it also be that through the portrayal of “white chicks”, the Wayan brother’s are able to convey a message about performance and race?

White Chicks, released in 2004, was directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans and written by Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, and Marlon Wayans, with the latter two starring as the main characters. The film begins with Kevin Copeland and Marcus Copeland (Shawn and Marlon Wayans) disguised as old Caribbean men attempting to take down a drug organization that sells drugs inside ice cream containers.

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A gunfight so1on pursues, and it is discovered that the containers contained ice cream. Moments 1 Lehmann, Megan.

“Slight Chicks” later, 2the drug d3ealer arrives to see the store in shambles, and soon escapes. Kevin and Marcus are given a final chance to remain in the FBI, with a new task of protecting the rich heiresses Brittany and Tiffany Wilson from a kidnapping scheme. On the way to the Hamptons, the group is involved in a minor accident, with the sisters receiving minor cuts on their faces.

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The Wilson sisters refuse to leave the hotel due to their appearances. In an attempt to save their jobs, Kevin and Marcus decide to go undercover as the Wilson sisters with the help of heavy prosthetic makeup.

At the hotel, Kevin and Marcus get acclimated to the Hamptons, as well as Brittany and Tiffany’s best friends, Karen, Tori, and Lisa. They also become acquainted with their enemies Megan and Heather Vandegeld. While pretending to be the Wilson sisters, Kevin and Marcus endure a difficult process of trying to be men, Marcus for his wife, and Marcus for his new love interest, Denis Porter. While attending the “white” party, they stop and capture mastermind behind the kidnapping schemes. The Wayan brothers became the Wilson sister’s through he use of body paint, makeup and layers of prosthetic masks, a process that took five hours 2.

This process is a modern take on whiteface, in which a person wears theatrical makeup in order to appear like a white person. White face is different than black face in which white face is done while white people are in power, and the power holders loose nothing. White face has been employed since 19655, and has been used most notably by Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Lenny Henry, and others. Instead of limiting themselves with only theatrical makeup, the Wayans employed rubber prosthetics. However, the rubber prosthetics 2 32. Wayans Transform for ‘White Chicks'” Fox News.

Render their faces all but immobile, and the blue contact lenses give them a vacant zombie look, o4ne which is “scarier than anything in ‘Scary Movie’ and ‘Scary Movie 2. ” 3 After physically appearing like white women, they had to act like white women in order to completely transform into the Wilson sisters. In order to prepare, they watched movies such as “Clueless” and “Miss Congeniality”, and studied the mannerisms. Once Shawn and Marlon “white up” they are able present their critique on “White America”, by over exaggerating their newfound quirks and abusing their new privileges.

Kevin and Marcus perform whiteness with a sense of entitlement, evident by their new form of language, behavior, gestures, and judgment. Towards the middle of the film, once Kevin and Marcus have deceived everyone and are embraced by the Wilson sister’s rich friends, they are all headed to the mall in a BMW convertible. On the way to the mall Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” comes on the radio to the delight of all the rich friends. Reiterating, “this is our jam”, and giddy with joy, Brittany and Tiffany are seen confused and somewhat scared in the backseat.

Each girl has her own distinctive choreography to the song, but they all sing along, with the exception of the Wilson sisters. When it’s Brittany and Tiffany’s turn to sing the next verse, they butcher the lyrics, forgetting the majority of the words, and earn a “C-“ from the group. The radio station is then changed, and the Notorious B. I. G ‘s Realest Niggaz Feat. 50 Cent & Eminem is heard playing, much to the delight of Kevin and Marcus, who begin to sing along, and act that their white friends find offensive; Karen: “Guys I cant believe you said that. ” Tiffany: “Said what? ” 43. Kehr, Dave. “White Chicks (2004). ” The New York Times. Karen: “The N-word” Brittany: “So…

Nobody’s around” All the white friends look at each other; there is a tense moment of silence, serving to determine the racism or anti-racism of the women, but soon the women smile and begin to rap in unison “Don’t try and act like you don’t feel a nigga”. No one argued the use of the term “nigga”, each complicit with their racism as long as it’s out of earshot of black people. In this scenario each person is acting. Kevin and Marcus are acting as white females, and what their perception of white women is.

The three friends, Karen, Tori, Lisa, are “acting” as if they’re not racist, evident by their surprised reaction when Brittany and Tiffany said the N-word. Ironically, they all knew the lyrics to the song, discrediting the original disbelief and false moral shock. However, only Kevin and Marcus are truly acting, and performing race. According to Andrew Kelvan, the idea of a performance is always being “mindful”. Kevin and Marcus are truly performing, they are mindful of the way they talk, their mannerism, they’re voices, all have to be “white” and “feminine”.

There is clearly a language difference between Kevin and Marcus, and their white friends. By exaggerating the differences between black and white languages, such as with the repetition of Brittany’s catchphrases (“I’m so frickin’ pissed” and the term “bitch fit”, to name a few) leave the black speakers at a crossroad; either they give up their colloquialisms, and risk alienating from their peers, or they risk remaining “ghetto”5. In a similar way, by reinforcing the differences between races leaves blacks in the position of attempting to be white enough or prove they’re black enough. 55. Young, Vershawn Ashanti. “Chapter 1. ” Your Average Nigga Performing Race, Literacy, and Masculinity.

Through their performances as white females, the Wayans are able to produce a “shock of being seen” 6. The Wayans’s are portraying white chicks to the best of their knowledge, but also leave room for critique. The over exaggeration helps the person seeing; it triggers a process of self-awareness. The witness can passively subject him or herself into it or can process it as food for thought. In this case, the witness is White America. The Wayans’s utilize the shock of being seen as an imitation as revenge.

Audiences enjoy seeing whiteness portrayed as nothing more than a performance, seeing as how they are still in power and lose nothing. White Chicks serves as the Wayans brother’s perspective on white society, serving as their take on white culture. Instead of re inscribing white normality, or white power, Wayans challenged anti-black racist stereotypes while confronting white privilege. White Chicks over exaggerates white culture, and society, by putting a spin on black face; in this case the Wayans brothers performed what they understood to be whiteness. The audience is able to see the privilege Kevin and Marcus receive once they are perceived to be white chicks.

As Brittany and Tiffany, Kevin and Marcus perform whiteness with a sense of entitlement, evident by their new form of language, behavior, gesture, and judgment. 6 Njami, Simon. “The Shock of Being Seen. “

Works Cited

  1. Lehmann, Megan. “SLIGHT ‘CHICKS’ – WASHED-OUT SCRIPT SINKS WAYANS’ DRAG COMEDY; ‘WHITE’ LACKS COLOR. ” New York Post. 23 June 2004. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://nypost. com/2004/06/23/slight- chicks-washed-out-script-sinks-wayans-drag-comedy-white-lacks- color/>. “Wayans Transform for ‘White Chicks'” Fox News.
  2. FOX News Network, 23 June 2004. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.foxnews. com/story/2004/06/23/wayans-transform-for- white-chicks/>. Kehr, Dave. “White Chicks (2004). ” The New York Times. 23 June 2004. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www. nytimes. com/movie/review? res=9400E6DE1039F930A15755C0A9629C8B63>.
  3. Young, Vershawn Ashanti. “Chapter 1. ” Your Average Nigga Performing Race, Literacy, and Masculinity. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2007. Print. Njami, Simon. “The Shock of Being Seen. ” The Shock of Being Seen. 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www. fondation- sindikadokolo. com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/the-shock-of-being- seen_njami_en. pdf>. VILLAMARIN 6.
Cite this page

White Chicks by Keenen Ivory. (2017, Jan 25). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/white-chicks-by-keenen-ivory-essay

White Chicks by Keenen Ivory

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