We have had two weeks full of interesting Twitter threads regarding Rick Ross and rape culture. Hip Hop Activists like Rosa Clemente have stood up to denounce the rap artist as not being part of Hip Hop. However as I read on and analyze the conversation, I kept seeing the main focus of the conversation center around the two lines that blatantly speak about date rape.
Both Clemente’s video and Kirsten West Savali’s article in The Clutch are fierce and unapologetic their discussion about male rap artists repeated offensive objectification of women in their lyrics. And it is a good strategy to focus on what is blatant about the song. But please allow me a moment…
After hearing of the rappers offensive lyrics I sat and read the text of said lyrics. I had to since I often gloss over a lot rap music’s offenses in order to protect my sanity. I realized that not only were women treated and labelled as objects of the artist’s extravagant material wealth, they were also placed inside a bag, that he plays with. Then at the very end of the rap, he talks about a “bitch that speaks no English and you don’t even know it. As a Latina who speaks English as a Second Language and advocates for Latina and many bilingual survivors of Asian, Black and European ethnicity I took issue with this line as well. And I couldn’t space out on it even when it wasn’t blatant, because this piece spoke directly to me on a whole different level. If you really read this piece and do the work advocates do, or have survived a heinous gender base crime as an Immigrant woman, you know that these lyrics can represent a world of crimes against women such as forced prostitution, domestic violence and human trafficking. Now of course, Rick Ross and male artist can point out how I am further misunderstanding the lyrics and man-hatting and acting on emotional impulsive femininity et al. Well, that’s fine…that is what has been happening here even in the debate with the most explicit lyrics of the song.
But if you have a woman next to you who doesn’t speak English and no one else knows it, I’m going to do my job as I always do. I’m going to ask a few questions and then I’m going to call 911 and ask the NYPD to ask a few more questions, like for example:
“Where is her interpreter ” “How did she get here?” “How do you communicate with her?” “And if she can’t communicate with you, why is she with you?” “Do you allow her to speak to other people?” “If you don’t let her speak to anyone else, is this the reason no one knows she doesn’t speak English?” “Why is the fact that she doesn’t speak any English secretive?” “Does she know how she got here?” “Does she know what she is doing next to you?” “Do you hold her visa and papers with you?” “Is she granted access to her papers?” “Could she speak to me with my interpreter and explain what is she doing here?”
Are we coming to the point that materialism and rape culture has affected black rappers so much that they have a potential of learning to place value on the purchase of Sex Slaves? What would our black ancestors who were enslaved and forced to serve sexually have to say about that?