Have you ever wondered what does it mean when singers grab their crotch while performing live on stage? Well, there are a few different reasons for this, so let’s dive right in.
Why Do Singers Grab Their Crotch?
The first reason is based on bravado. A lot of singers associate their crotch with their manhood (or occasionally womanhood, like when Madonna or Carole Pope would reach for their crotch on stage). Therefore, when a singer grabs his crotch during a performance, he feels he’s asserting his manhood on the most public stage possible. Essentially, it’s a way of declaring “I’m the man” without having to verbalize it.
On top of that, grabbing your private parts on stage is often done during a live performance. So, there’s an extra delight an artist can take in the overall taboo nature of what’s being done, because the singer knows they’re going to ruffle some conservative feathers.
Now, with that said, there’s always additional nuance within a discussion such as this, so let’s dive into some specific topics regarding crotch grabbing.
Why Did Michael Jackson Grab His Crotch?
Michael Jackson is of course the King of Pop and the greatest entertainer of all time. But the reasons MJ grabbed his crotch are a little different, in my opinion.
The amazing thing about Michael Jackson performances is how authentic he was when on stage. Whether it was the sounds and words that came out of his mouth (like “shamone!” or “hee-hee!”) or how his face contorted live on stage, he was a very animated performer that endeared himself to his fans.
This is, in many ways, exactly why Michael Jackson would grab his crotch on stage. Essentially, MJ was feeling the rhythm of the song throughout his entire body. He was living in the moment.
Was there some bravado or showmanship involved? Perhaps. But more than anything, Michael Jackson’s body was always in tune with the music, and if the music hit him in a way that warranted a crotch grab, then you know that’s exactly what the King was going to do. It likely wasn’t premeditated—it was far more of a music-based instinct or reaction to the rhythm of “Beat It” or “Smooth Criminal” or “Dangerous” (or whatever song he was performing on stage).
Why Do Black Entertainer Hold Their Crotch?
Of course, black people are not a monolith, so all black entertainers do NOT hold their crotch. You’ll never see footage of Louis Armstrong or India.Arie or the cats from Boyz II Men grabbing their crotch on stage.
With that said, if you’ve ever wondered why rappers grab their crotch when they sing, then the answer is firmly rooted in the culture of hip hop. Hip hop has its roots in battle rap, and battle rapping is all about showcasing your talent (and in many ways, your dominance) over your opponent.
So, when male rappers (and even occasionally female rappers) get on stage, grabbing one’s crotch is all about showing the fact that you’ve got balls. Rappers are nothing without confidence, so if you’re grabbing your crotch on stage, you’re making a statement that you’re fearless and the best.
On top of that (and similar to Michael Jackson), hip hop has infectious beats. And just like when a rapper moves around on stage and flings his or her hands and fingers through the air with authority, the same is true for a rapper grabbing their crotch when the bassline gets too good to ignore.
Wrapping It Up
So ultimately, what does it mean when singers grab their crotch? Well, it can mean different things to different people—and it certainly depends on the artist doing the grabbing.
But, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of grasping for private parts on stage is done due to a mix of a singer’s swagger, his or her desire to boast about their dominance over their peers, and a musical instinct triggered by an inescapably catchy piece of music.
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