Light-skinned stereotypes ‘Verzuz’ dark-skinned stereotypes
Bizzy Bone’s antics have led to another colorism debate
2020 was universally a one-star review from everyone worldwide. From March and onward, non-essential stores were locked down, people lost their jobs, hospitals were overcrowded, debates ensued about masks and social isolation, and the news was largely overpowered with talks of coronavirus (COVID-19). But in the middle of that conversation came a glass-half-full moment: “Verzuz.”
Who knew that producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland would be the bright spot everyone needed last year? Whether you were a fan of hip-hop or R&B, this duo brought about R&B, hip-hop and pop legends who were largely being overlooked, along with some of today’s most popular artists.
On March 24, 2021, “Verzuz” celebrated its one-year anniversary, agreed to a partnership with Peloton and became acquired by Triller Network. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have been busy, but not too busy to require being part of the management and shareholder team to make sure “Verzuz” continued to be what they envisioned.
Music battles from home (and sketchy equipment) transitioned to deejay battles, throne seats, fancy stages, live audiences and plenty of refreshments to go around. Largely positive, I was growing nervous when live crowds became the norm. While I’ve been to countless concerts as an entertainment reporter and know that Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival in Houston is not the norm, COVID-19, the Delta variant and the Omicron variant add an extra layer of danger to people meeting in person. What I didn’t expect was for the danger onstage this time to be one of the artists: Bizzy Bone.
If you’ve seen the December 2nd concert between Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Three 6 Mafia, then you already know what happened. Bizzy Bone of Bone Thugs felt that members of Three 6 Mafia were “mocking” him while he performed and told them to stop. Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia responded by inviting Bizzy Bone to his nether regions, and Bizzy Bone threw a drink. A short fight ensued with people from both teams crowding the stage while Layzie Bone tried to break it up.
After a short “technical difficulty,” Layzie Bone went full Stephanie Mills (in a ganglier, younger male body). (If you’ve seen how much work Stephanie Mills worked to save the “Verzuz” with questionable behavior from Chaka Khan, you know what that means.) He became the peacemaker, the serial hugger, the complimentary rapper, the high-fiver, the dap giver and the jokester that made the post-fight concert even better than the pre-fight concert. If Layzie Bone ever wanted to be, he could be Bone Thug’s official PR for the group — who happens to be equally musically gifted. I was so impressed.
How did colorism become the Verzuz topic of discussion?
Then here comes the comment section: Instead of just commenting on Bizzy Bone’s outburst or taking sides with a favorite hip-hop group, a flood of comments came in about Bizzy having “dark-skinned” tendencies and “acting light-skinned.” I’m exhausted by these stereotypes, largely because when fully grown adults do it, then younger ears listen and want to carry on the colorism mantle for the cycle to continue.