If you weren’t watching last night’s airing of the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, well, I applaud your life choices. If you found yourself taking a shot every time host Rebel Wilson made fun of a minority, well then you’re probably hung over too.
But for South Asians the highlight (or was it downside) of last night’s awards ceremony (Wilson’s “Indian” accent for a “Life of Pi” skit aside) was the performance of one Selena Gomez, age 20, who was “dressed like an Indian princess.” That’s dot, not feather.
Give Selena a break. She might still be coming down from James Franco’s contact high after filming “Spring Breakers” with him. Although I have heard rumors that after her ex Justin Bieber’s controversial Anne Frank guestbook entry , Gomez furiously searched for a population other than “Jews” to offend and settled on “Indians.”
For those of you who don’t regularly keep up with the teen-dominated pop culture landscape, Gomez released a new song last Sunday called “Come and Get It” which samples a song in an ambiguous foreign language. Perez Hilton calls it a “New-Age, Middle Eastern production and instrumentation” but it sounds South Asian to our untrained ears.
Our little hunch was confirmed tonight in the latter portion of tonight’s show when Gomez took to the stage with a red bindi prominently displayed on her forehead. She then proceeded to lip-sync her way across the stage with a bevy of backup dancers. In case you were curious about whether or not the actress and singer can actually sing you can watch the video below. As for me, I’ve decided to sidestep that question and distract you with 5 other facts gleaned from Gomez’s performance.
1. Turns out Selena Gomez is actually of Hispanic descent, and not South Asian. I know. It’s hard to tell. After all, the celeb rags are all calling her a “Bollywood Beauty” now. (What’s a little brown between two totally different cultures?) And of course, we shouldn’t presume anything. But as a certified South Asian I can authoritatively cite based on extensive Wikipedia research that Ms. Selena Marie Gomez is not desi. Or is she? (We find out on “High School Musical 4: Gabriella Goes to Mumbai,” trailer forthcoming.)
2. Rumors are that the Brad Paisley/LL Cool J “Accidental Racist” duet was inspired by rehearsals of Selena Gomez’s performance.
3. It’s not actually Selena Gomez’s fault for thinking she’s Indian. Madonna made her do it. Katy Perry made her do it. Gwen Stefani made her do it. Julia Roberts made her do it. Shakira made her do it. Oprah made her do it. Justin Bieber made her do it. Just kidding, they broke up soooooooo long ago. Pay attention.
4. What we saw last night on the MTV stage was real art. Appreciate. The chorus of “Come and Get It” contains some really catchy hooks. Mainly, “When you’re ready come and get it (x2)/Na nana (x3).”
Hmm, no. That’s not what I meant to emphasize. I meant to direct your attention to the verses.
First, the buildup. Ms. Gomez issues the ultimate romantic invitation, “You ain’tgotta worry it’s an open invitation/I’ll be sittin’ right here real patient.” Then, the coyness appears. “I’m not too shy to show I love you, I got no regrets.”And finally, she issues the ultimate romantic proposal, “I love you much too, much to hide you, this love ain’t finished yet.”
That’s just poetry right there. Shakespeare, eat your heart out.
5. Nobody seems to know conclusively if the background production is actually Indian-inspired or not. And it turns out that Selena doesn’t seem to know either! She told one gossip rag that her song had a “Middle Eastern” vibe. In another interview, she said it has a “tribal feel.” To add to the confusion, an MTV post about the teaser video for her song places her in a “sunny Indian garden.”
I’m confused. Is it Indian-inspired as the bindi would lead us to believe? Or is it Middle-Eastern? Or is it “tribal?”And if so, what tribe? What’s tribal music anyway? I have so many questions, Selena, so many questions. One wonders what your tutors (Gomez was homeschooled throughout her Disney career), taught you about geography. Either way, we’re sure to see more this summer as Gomez kicks off her tour.