'Help, I Need A Black Opinion!'

As the multicultural marketplace absorbs differences in its attempt to capture every audience, the Other can become a symbol of prestige (remember blackpeopleloveus.com?). Conceptual/performance artist damali ayo has created a web site that seriously plays with the commodification of race and continuing racism (and sexism) in the multi-culti USA. Rent-a-Negro.com represents the artist as a cultural escort, providing services like 'a black opinion' ($75) and 'challenging racist family members' ($500) to those wishing to capitalize on their connections with people of color. The no-frills design of the site gets right down to business, and the quotes from satisfied customers leave few questions about the quality of service: 'After seeing me with her, people wanted to know more about ME!' -Ryan Griffis