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John Mayer’s Lies and The Brown Nipple Theory

10 February 2010 23 Comments

I am a very…I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me. – John Mayer

Very full of crap is what he is. I never liked John Mayer. He’s a sloppy looking guy whose music is the sort they play in nail salons and waiting rooms. While I wasn’t paying attention this dude rose from awkward white kid on the adult contemporary charts to black America’s favorite Caucasian on the guitar. Dave Chappelle (who is to blame for all of it) put him in a skit and five years later he’s tickling the strings at last September’s televised Madison Square Garden Jay-Z concert. Meanwhile Tito Jackson is sitting at home playing Parcheesi and we rest safely in our belief that the guitar is for white boys. All of that aside, John Mayer is a liar. I didn’t say racist or misogynist, which he might also be, I don’t know. But he certainly is a liar.

If you haven’t read the full text of Mayer’s interview with Playboy it’s worth checking out but only to have an informed opinion on the matter. The general vibe is what one would expect from a celebrity notorious for saying out of pocket things and a magazine built around the bravado of male heterosexuality; as he discusses masturbation, his past partners, “fags”, and his own penis, Mayer betrays his mild personality disorder and desire to shock people. Before you label him a “douche” realize that Mayer used that word in reference to himself eight times in the interview, which is classic drawing attention behavior (anyone seeking a positive image would avoid the subject). Of all the nonsense, one segment in particular caught my attention:

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’”

PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.

MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

PLAYBOY: Let’s put some names out there. Let’s get specific.

MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.” And you’d be like, “What? We weren’t talking about that.” That’s what “Heartbreak Warfare” is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.

Draw your own conclusions about whether to be irritated and what to be irritated with, especially his flip use of the n-word (which, in my opinion, we should go back to slapping white folks for using), and the fact that his hood pass and the content of this interview don’t mesh. WHATEVERS to him expressing sexual preferences, I’m focused on this “my d*ck is like a white supremacist,” business, the idea being he’s not attracted to black women, his anatomy will not function for a black woman, and he can only enter white vaginas, much like David Duke only likes white people. John Mayer, you lie!

It’s clear that Mayer was trying to be funny (because what’s funnier than the legacy of white supremacy), but claiming that you – a man – can’t rise to the occasion for a specific ethnic group? Balderdash. Furthermore, for a man who openly expresses the sexual maturity of a sixteen year old boy, I believe that The Brown Nipple Theory™ applies.

The Brown Nipple Theory™ is a catchphrase created during my youth to remind my group of friends that white guys were in fact interested in us. For years we’d all believed that white boys would never lay a hand on your average black girl, but we proved that tired theory wrong both by experience and simple logic. Basically, men love to go to the “locker room” and tell other men about their exotic exploits, one of which, in some circles, is having seen a brown nipple firsthand (hence the name of the theory). “The locker room” is a metaphor for “male space,” even the one that exists in a guy’s own mind, but the same pat on the back for achieving masculinity merit badges applies. A man can affirm his manhood (or non-gay-ness) by hitting a home run, making enough money to support his family, having the latest pair of Iversons, and of course tales of sexual conquest. Therefore, non-black men, especially immature/insecure ones, are more than willing to experience a black woman just for the sake of post-modern exoticism and the brown nipple merit badge. Trust me, the desperately single black women who wonder where all of the black men are may have a larger media presence, but those of us who have stolen boyfriends from little white girls are quite large in number. While the desire to prop the male ego up with sexual experiences is not race-specific, good-old fashioned male conquest can pass for post-racialism any day.

Back to John Mayer, I don’t care that he dated Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston, and may have the highest standards of any man on Earth. I’d wager my first born child on this dude being thrilled to get his hands on a Beyonce or Rihanna just like the rest of America and functioning in the bedroom accordingly. For a man to state a preference is completely normal, but to insist that a woman is untouchable is pure bravado and one has to wonder why it’s necessary or accepted (that is a whole other essay). Furthermore, it is very tiresome when men attempt to frame themselves as these choosy creatures who would only grace a gilded vagina with their golden staffs. Sure, it’s easy to pick and choose when you’re rich and famous, but the misogynistic meme “I’d hit/I wouldn’t hit,” is not only lame but delusional and FULL OF LIES. The majority of men would hit – anything. A can of baked beans. Janet Reno. Yes, even a black woman. I don’t think the average man should accept this about themselves or be proud of it, but let the intoxication level, scenery, desperation, and timing be right and everything is a go for most healthy men, and that goes for John Mayer, too. I refuse to believe otherwise.


  • Fiqah said:

    I was gonna do a write-up on the Stew about this, but you covered it, so I’m just gonna link back to this piece. I’m vurry anti-internet redundancy. And oh, I will be speliing it V-U-R-R-Y from here on out because of this asshat.

  • Will said:

    Great and necessary article. Love the way you broke it down. I can only shake my head at people like John Mayer. Oh, and avoid them because I can. :)

  • Ti said:

    wow. you said a mouthful. and a true one at that.

  • Tafari said:

    Honestly, I had heard his name before but didn’t know who he was until someone told me while I was watching the Michael Jackson memorial last summer. I guess, I never got into the hype that was all about him.

    His statements in Playboy are just not shocking to me. It seems like its just open season on Negroes in the media lately. From packs with the devil to Black dialect.

    I’m so tired of asking what will white people say next. And I think you’re right about needing to slap mofo for poor infuriating word choices. They need to be called out & checked then & there!

    And I love how you went from hitting a can of backed beans to hitting a Black woman. Classic boo!

  • Marvin said:

    Right on! I always think it’s funny when I hear guys say they like such-and-such, when most times it’s really about whom you have a chance with. Obviously, Mayer is saying this stuff to get a rise out of people, and I’m glad you didn’t fall for it and went with a real issue underneath it all.

  • Wise said:


    Thanks for this. I have plenty I wish to say on it, but I feel like by the time I hash it out that all will be said and done about it.


  • itzdabuttafly said:

    Ah, I get it now. Certainly I’ve seen this in action, but never had quite as catchy of a name for it. In fact, as I tweeted earlier, this whole hubbub got me thinking of an experience I had when a white man openly admitted he was actively seeking to get with a Black woman, just to know what it was like. Trying to get that badge like Johnny, I guess, but not fronting about it. It was clearly an ego thing for him, but there were also Black women who accepted his exoticizing them as a compliment, which is equally problematic.

  • Yobachi said:

    I was with you on everything you said until you said we’d hit Janet Reno. I might stick it to a can of baked beans, but NOT Janet Reno!

    “I don’t think the average man should accept this about themselves or be proud of it”

    I don’t think we should proud of it nor ashamed of it. Just the way it is. Erasing emotion, and egotistical standards; a hideous woman’s vagina is just as hot, wet and potentially tight as a beautiful woman’s. *Kanye Shrug*

    Anyway, thanks for the intelligent, beyond surface analysis of his words, in the face of the nonsensical surface defenses.

    My piece John John Mayer’s Sexual White Supremacy

  • Juice said:

    I think that you give little credit to us men. I mean the can of baked beans (microwaved for about 37 seconds) does sound enticing, but Janet Reno, come on. There are certain wood killers out there, Janet Reno, Secretary of State Clinton, Roseanne Barr, and Whoopi Goldberg to name a few. While Mayer probably prefers the pink nipple, he certainly drooled(as I did) during Halle’s unveiling in Operation: Swordfish.
    This interview sounded more like the ramblings of a man who had a few too many sitting on the couch talking with one of his homies. I would have made similar comments amongst my homies as I’m simply not as attracted to white women. They just remind me of a piece of food without the right flavoring. Sure if you’re hungry enough you’ll eat, but it’s just not the same as a plate of soul food on a Sunday night, you dig? The pink nipple just weirds me out. So, why I certainly don’t excuse the comments of Mayer, I think it’s really been blown out of proportion and ultimately he’s done just what he wanted to do, get me to know who he is.

  • Dalesa said:

    I think it’s not surprising at all that John Mayer said this. It’s in the legacy of white power and privilege that black women are considered to be unattractive white men. The whole creation of the mammy stereotype is an attest to this. The caricature was created to give the impression that black women were undesirable. And the Kerry Washington reference gives the notion that we are ONLY sexual objects, innately seductive and predatory. The only thought to him is that she would be good at making a man jealous with her sexuality. This was how white and black sexual relations were covered up, even though many times black women were raped, or in slave times, told that their children or husbands would be sold if they did not comply. The legacy of Willie Lynch lives on, as well as the idea of us as coons and jezebels. The problem is that so many of US still fail to realize it. We are not that far removed from blatant discrimination and slavery, we should act as such and not only be disgusted by such statements, but fight against it.

  • ericka said:

    well written, and reminding me why i hate humanity.

  • Seattle Slim said:

    Thank you! This was a masterpiece because you broke this shit down scientifically it seems. This one right here:

    “Trust me, the desperately single black women who wonder where all of the black men are may have a larger media presence, but those of us who have stolen boyfriends from little white girls are quite large in number.”

    Like AM/PM, too much good stuff! I said this in my tweets as soon as I read this, if Beyonce and Rihanna got butt naked, locked him in a hotel room, he’d smash, and he’d freaking love it. And those are two of the most popular black chicks in the game right now. I won’t even mention Jessica White, Mellysa Ford, Kelly Rowland, Eve and others.

  • Eurasian Sensation said:

    Hear the thing about Mayer’s attempts to do standup comedy? He invited himself up on stage at a club where Pakistani-born comic Kumail Nanjiani was meant to be up next, then proceeded to make racial cracks at Nanjiani. Classy guy.

    He seems to think “post-racial” America means little more than freedom to make racist jokes.

  • GJ said:

    1. Great piece (no pun intended)

    2. Never liked him or his music (lame and boring… might be better if it was auto-tuned…NOT)

    3. Familiarity breeds contempt so wouldn’t be interesting if videos (baked beans included) started appearing on the Internet that provide a contrary view of his statements

  • QQ said:

    I’d prefer if from now on you’d refer to him music as Limp dicked, please and thank you

    Also BNT works for me, as a bonus I get to pull the rug on them just as they are getting comfy and thinking “HMMMM you are TOO cool for school”

  • The78MsJ said:

    Well done and exactly what I would have said had I cared to write about him and his unnecessary egregious ass.

  • Tray said:

    Ok so I’m the only one thus far to comment in favor of John here, which is fine by me. I’ve been a Mayer fan since he came on the scene. I’ve also followed many of his interviews over the course of the years and have to say that you have to know more about him to understand where he is coming from in this interview. I don’t defend him by no means for saying what he said. When it comes to the N-word, NO ONE should be saying it, IMO. I’m the type of person that will not say it b/c I don’t want to be called one. And I have been called one and it does not feel good. I don’t think that Black America can (legitimately) get upset about any other race using the word until WE stop saying it ourselves. That’s just my opinion. I don’t understand trying to claim it for ourselves and making it positive. It’s not positive and it never will be. Period.

    In regards to the way John used it, it wasn’t appropriate at all. It was his failed attempt to be witty and “too cool for school”. When he does this, he comes across like a douche/cocky. It’s his thing though. Everyone has their thing… that’s his. Usually, it IS really funny. The guy, believe it or not, is ridiculously smart. Again, you have to know his background and actually follow more than just an interview in Playboy. But he uses his smarts and wit to entertain…to be silly and to come across more real. Honestly, the guy says a LOT in interviews that he probably shouldn’t, but it’s refreshing to me only because most celebs do interviews and don’t say a darn thing! They plug their movie/show/project and keep it moving. We don’t know them at all and in a way, it’s kinda lame. I think that’s why so many people love following celebs on Twitter…they finally get the real scoop from the celebs and find out what they’re really about. Mayer has ALWAYS talked about his life. There’s really no secrets with him.

    In short, I don’t think the guy is racist at all. And as far as the comments about his David Duke penis, people are reading WAY too into those comments. Everyone is completely ignoring that he says he has a “Benetton heart” and “maybe I should start dating separately from my dick”. The guy just hasn’t entertained the thought of dating outside his race. Let’s be real, I’m sure there are MANY people out there that have never entertained the thought of doing that either. Did Mayer use an extreme way to say that? YES. Totally ridiculous. Does that mean he won’t ever date a Black woman or is completely against it? Heck no! He said right in that paragraph that he hadn’t thought about it, but maybe he should. Seriously, let’s really read the text and not pick bits and pieces, that’s all I’m saying.

  • ASmith said:

    On point, as expected.

    As a friend of mine and I discussed this, we both expressed confusion: usually men blame their “other head” for the bad decisions. There’s this idea espoused and accepted by a lot of men that their penis will be attracted to any vagina, though they may not be attraced to the vagina’s owner. Meanwhile, Mayer’s telling us the exact opposite. 0_o.

    Plain and simple, John Mayer was trying to get some attention and he got it — just way more than he expected or could handle.

    Idk when we’re going to stop handing out “hood passes” to people. They give ’em right back, everytime.

  • lello said:

    “a can of baked beans. janet reno”

    i just disrupted the peace laughing a storm in the library.

    what an astute and eloquent angle.

  • New Model Minority said:

    […] What Would Thembi Do:  Johhn Mayers Lies and the Brown Nipple Theory […]

  • ieishah said:

    ‘but the number of us who have stolen boyfriends from little white girls is quite large in number’

    this post is the most.

  • Brandy said:

    “PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

    MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it.”

    I read that as a No. I love how he tries to make it seem as if he is controlling that with a magical “No black ladies” shield, instead of it being because black women may look at him and think he’s an average-looking white dork who wears stupid T-shirts.

  • sara said:

    he looks stunning, love his songs, some awesome sound he got there

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