We have to do better hip-hop – MUCH BETTER and I think this message has to come from those of us who love and represent hip-hop culture, as I do. Promoting rape in hip-hop is the bastard child of the pervasive misogyny in hip-hop culture. It’s always been there, as it has been in cultures around the world, but in the 1980’s, there was balance where you had just as many artists calling women queens and demanding respecting for women as you did the Too Live Crew types. Now things have become lopsided and the culture of respect for women within hip-hop has taken a dive into a dark, musty, dangerous place. As a parent, high school teacher and mentor, I see it in the hallways of my child’s school, the schooI I teach at, and on the Green line train as I bring my weary bones home in the evening.
Our youth drink in the music like water, their sustenance, as I did as a child and they sing it loudly as their anthems. But instead of “Fight the Power,” ala the 1980’s, I now hear an imbalance of “Off that Molly I’m sweatin, Wooh!” or inane lyrics about all of the ways that women can give sexual or visual pleasure to men by dropping “it” or sucking “it”. As if that wasn’t horrible enough, now you have Rick Ross (and other cretins) suggesting that he rapes women by “Put Molly (ecstasy drug) all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” What?! Then he had the nerve to say in a recent radio interview that he was not promoting rape and that he’d never do that. Well, you just did, Mr. Ross. And the children are listening – to all of us. What are we really saying to them? What have we taught by example, Hip-Hop?
Reading the text messages and court trial comments of those young rapists and their allies who were involved in the Steubenville tragedy where the young girl was raped repeatedly while she was unconscious says that the societal messages they are hearing from us adults are dismal ones, not just within hip-hop, but within American culture. This is bigger than Nino Brown. It was so acceptable within that school/town culture that many blamed the young girl and tried to leave the perpetrators blameless. Hip-Hop, do we think that the youth aren’t listening and responding to the water we’re serving them? Well they are and it’s poisoning them. We have to be more responsible. This isn’t just music, this is culture. This is life with real life consequences. We have to stand up for our women, protect and raise our girls and raise and protect our young boys. We know all of the reasons why and we see the effects of not doing so. So let’s stop making excuses and STAND UP.
Sign the petition at Change.org. Speak out. Raise these children right.