Friday, April 13, 2007

Rapped in Contradiction

I would love to know how someone can come up with a song like this:

[Verse 1 - Ludacris] Now little lisa is only 9 years old
Shes tryin to figure out why the world is so cold
Why shes all all alone and they never met her family
Mamas always gone and she never met her daddy
Part of her is missin and nobody will listenin
Mama is on drugs gettin high up in the kitchen
Bringin home men at different hours of the night
Startin with laughs--usually endin in a fight
Sneak into her room while her mamas knocked out
Tryin to have his way and little lisa says 'ouch'
She tries to resist but then all he does is beat her
Tries to tell her mom but her mama don't believe her
Lisa is stuck up in the world on her own
Forced to think that hell is a place called home
Nothin else to do but some get some clothes and pack
She says shes bout to run away and never come back.

The song includes vignettes of 3 girls aged 9, 10 and 11 and the emotions that go along with sexual abuse, a sexual relationship started too early and so forth. It's an example of what hip hop could be yet, on the very same album, there are songs such as Money Maker:

[Verse 1: Yung Joc] she'll shake her money maker 'cause its da boy Yung Joc just like like dat clock on da wall her body go tick tock its on in da bedroom u already know dat she be shakin' lafft taffy white boy dat ain't no fat its goin' down in da club its gettin' kinna heated just like knock it homey she told me to beat it Yung Joc is on da mike and you already know da girl chasin' me cause she know i got dough she ain't chasin' you cause yo pockets on low i step up in da club im like what des girls hittin' fo' i like my girls thick i don't like em' skinny its goin' down homey boy its New Joc City

and Girls Gone Wild:

[Verse 1:] Never scared to be different, the year ?possible? put into existance. Fa in stance, this is me. What did you expect from the 5th LP? Gone for a minute now I'm back again. Back to back, back to break backs again, put'em in the back seat of the 'lac again, and rip off the Magnam packagin'. What's happenin I'm looking for some girls gone wild.(gone wild)I'm just tryin to make these girls all smile(all smile). And I'm gonna make'em dance, so I could see them shake they ass, then I put'em in a trance, till I get'em out they pants. Then I'll take'em to a level they might've never been before, We gon hit the door. And then hit the floor, you'll get hit below. I got somebody I want you to get ta know. ME. Feel this like Jack the Ripper, hip hop needs help so I'm back to flip her. Flip her on her back cause I'm back to stick her and throw up on the track like it's full of liquor. [Hook:] You fellin kinda warm, like you was havin (sex) You wetter than a storm like you was takin (X) Your mood intensifies, it's time for a surprise, so baby close your eyes, get ready for what's(next)
Does he not understand how contradictory his message is? I think Luda is talented and I love his voice, but hip hop on the whole has gotten too bootylicious and demeaning toward African American/Black women especially. There is increasingly more evidence proving sexualized commercials and pop culture is becoming harmful to girls and only helps create and sustain the problem instead of fixing it, much less "empowering" them as advocates are purported to claim. Compounding the ideal is how African American/Black women are hypersexualized in rap and hip hop videos, not to mention the songs themselves, thus creating a certain expectation in African American/Black men that is most unrealistic. Having this mythologized woman in their heads creates problems in building healthy relationships and could possibly be why the leading cause of death for African American/Black women is homicide.

In fact, it was interesting that I had been mulling this topic over, thinking it would make for an excellent post when I noticed the March issue of Ebony; they had a feature titled "Sex, Violence and Disrespect: What Hip Hop has done to our Women."

Granted I am not an African American/Black woman, but I like to think I can empathize because the bootylicious factor in hip hop spills over to all women. Yet it is important to remember whose image is at stake here and I do understand its not that of a White woman; it is young African American/Black women who are portrayed as "ghetto ho's" and "bitches" in the videos.

Having said the above, why is it we jump all over the Imus' of the world, but don't hold rappers and/or hip hop artists such as Nelly (who has a song called "Tipdrill" with the hook, "it must be your ass 'cause it ain't your face"), Snoop Dog (can we say Girls Gone Wild?) and Jay-Z accountable for spewing the same sexist racist bullshit everyday over the airwaves? They condone the same denigration of women the rest of the world participates in by repeating and participating in the same stereotypes.

I believe only when we stop using the words in our everyday language that help to keep oppression alive will we truly achieve a non-racist/sexist/homophobic/ethnocentric world. What do you think?

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