Masego's Song 'Navajo' Is Problematic
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Masego's Song 'Navajo' Is Problematic

Another problematic song (in my opinion) and I'm going to rant about it.

Masego's Song 'Navajo' Is Problematic

First, let me start by saying that this article is not meant to offend anyone who likes the song or to offend the artist, but I think it is important to interpret the lyrics and what they mean to Native people.

This is not the only song out there that claims to be "Native-inspired" in some shape or form, there have been countless others (i.e. Seminole Wind by John Anderson, Natives by Blink 182, Half Breed by Cher, Indians by Anthrax, etc.). Each one has their own take and their own issues.

However, I want to focus on Masego's "Navajo." As a young Navajo woman, I had to see what this song was about for obvious reasons.

I first saw the song shared by someone's Instagram story and they seemed to like it. I found it on Spotify and listened to it, then... I came to a conclusion - Native womxn are still objectified and Native people are still seen as "less" in some sense.

From my perspective, the song has a very nice beat that is catchy. It has a very chill vibe that is complemented by lyrics that sync with the beat perfectly. The vocals are beautiful and provide a nice echo that makes it difficult to stop listening to.

YET, the lyrics... these lyrics are what I have a problem with. Maybe I'm overexaggerating this whole thing, but this uneasy feeling still sits in my stomach and I can't seem to shake it every time I have come across the song.

The song opens with "I love you" on repeat so that gave me the impression that the artist wanted a Navajo girlfriend or was in love with a Navajo, but then it says "until I..." and drifts into the first verse which is below:

"I know you see it, girl
This ain't sitting real good in my soul
Everywhere this little girl goes
She pick up another obstacle
She was my heart
I don't know the tribe or the fall
But by default she don't think of me"

That's the first verse and when I first heard it, I was like...

UNTIL the hook went like this...

I thought she was an Indian (Navajo)
She be slangin' thangs like a simian (Now I know)
All my life I wanted me an Indian (There She Go)
Now she's far away

But I had to know
Let me dismantle that like the patriarchy, line by line. The first line brought in the outdated term "Indian," come on. The only people really allowed to say that are maybe some really old Native elders, but they get a pass because they're old and had to identify as an "Indian" for most of their lives by the U.S. government. It is 2018, educate yourself and come back to me.

The second line says, "She be slangin' thangs like a simian (Now I know)." A simian means monkey. Monkeys have been used as a racial slur against Black people and it has the implication/suggestion that someone is only partially human and more beastly or primitive.

Natives have constantly been considered "tribal" or "primitive" because we like to maintain our old stories and traditions. In addition, Masego adds that this person is "slangin' thangs."

I'm not sure if he means this person is hustling or if this person he is referring to is selling drugs. Either way, it's pretty unclear what he means in this line.

It continues with, "All my life I wanted me an Indian (There she go)." This line and the lines after remind me of the sexualization of Native womxn and the fantasy that to meet a Native is some kind of achievement.

[Post Hook]
I know you see it, girl
This ain't sitting real good in my soul
Everywhere this little girl goes
She pick up another obstacle
She was my heart
I don't know the tribe or the fall
But by default she don't think of me

Honestly, Masego sounds like he's heartbroken here because the girl doesn't return his feelings, but I'm not all that sympathetic for several reasons. One, because if someone who is non-Native tries to date a Native womxn, he takes on more than just dating her.

A word of advice from a young Navajo woman to people who fantasize about dating a Native womxn - you are dating her culture, her family, her ceremonies, her lineage, and all aspects of her demand respect.

Two, you don't know the tribe or the fall? But you like her? If you really knew a Native girl, her identity and culture are at the top of her list of priorities and you don't know which nation she comes from? *eye roll*

Lastly, Masego says, "But by default she don't think of me." You damn right she don't because she is out in the world carrying herself as only an Indigenous womxn can.

The next part is the chorus again.

I thought she was an Indian (Navajo)
She be slangin' thangs like a simian (Now I know)
All my life I wanted me an Indian (There She Go)
Ooo girl lemme in

This is repeated and only fuels the problematic nature of this song. Get ready, NEXT!

[Verse 2]
In the street
With a wedding ring
And she hit the bar
City babe, are you down to cheat
He looked in her eye
Chivalry is it really dead?
He pulled out a tip? Pay Up
Jumpin' right on him
Thinkin' when's it good to intervene
Then I lost her
Lost her to the world and the girls and impostors
Entertain? I doubt it'll pay and it cost her
I ain't mad at me but it hurts

Oh now you wanna wife this girl now? You got a ring but she "jumps" this other guy at the bar... uhhh? This part of the song is a huge jump in assumptions.

"Lost her to the world and imposters," well yazh I wonder why. You didn't understand her because she is Navajo, you basically called her a heartbreaker/cheater, and compared her to a monkey. Native girls don't meet your expectations? Well, you probably don't meet our Navajo in-law standards either.

[Hook ]
I thought she was an Indian (Navajo)
Now she only worried bout' the Benjamin's (Grab The Gold)
She Been lurking' in my dreams (There she go)
I swear that eyes on me

You best believe you don't ever forget a Native womxn. "She only worried about the Benjamin's (Grab the Gold)," girl, same. Overall, this song has a nice beat, but I can't with these lyrics.

I'll leave my Navajos with this classic and it is my final message to others who want a Native girlfriend, specifically Navajo.

Photo from The Native Boys on YouTube

If you want to hear the song, it's here on YouTube.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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