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Stereotype of the Month Entry
(7/2/04)


Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Colin Powell Sings Village People Song

Fri Jul 2, 1:03 PM ET

By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell donned a hard hat and tucked a hammer in his belt Friday to perform a version of the Village People's hit "YMCA" at the conclusion of Asia's largest security meeting which tradition says ends with a night of skit and song.

Powell danced alongside five other U.S. officials dressed in fancy dress and blasted out a version of the 1970s disco classic to the delight of foreign ministers from across the Asia-Pacific and Europe.

"President Bush, he said to me, Colin I need you to run the department of state. We are between a rock and a hard place," Powell and his colleagues sang to the tune of the disco classic.

The after-dinner show is an annual highlight of the ASEAN Regional Forum, a time for ministers to loosen up after discussing security issues. Footage of the closed-door event was obtained by Associated Press Television News

The Russian delegation, headed by that country's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, sang a version of the Beatles "Yellow Submarine" as a women waving a Russian flag ran around the dinner tables.

Indian Foreign Minister counterpart Natwar Singh read a poem before his delegation burst into a song. "I'm not worried but the audience should be," Singh told The Associated Press before attending the gala dinner.

In 1997 Madeleine Albright, bowled over the ministers when she performed a musical skit dressed as Evita Peron.

The traditional jamboree at the conclusion of the conference is closed to the press, but reporters regularly go out of their way to get the scoop.

Rob's comment
If I'd been running the Stereotype of the Month contest in the 1970s, I would've included the Village People's "Indian chief." The fact that the "chief" supposedly was Native or part-Native wouldn't have changed the outcome. You're not supposed to wear feather bonnets outside a Plains tribe for secular entertainment purposes.

To the inevitable cry of "It was just a joke," I say many stereotypes are supposed to be "just a joke." Read "It's Just a [Fill in the Blank]" and get back to me with your response.

Seeing Colin Powell perform a routine not far removed from a 19th century minstrel show is somewhat ironic. Many people think Powell is the Uncle Tom of the Bush administration.

The inevitable cry
As expected, a reader responds:

>> Don't take it serious it was just in good fun. <<

It was "in good fun" and it was stereotypical. I noted the latter point, which is independent of the former point.

Rob

Related links
The big chief


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