Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Black Women Are Getting a Bad Rap

There are several things I wish someone – not me – would write a book about. I realize that you’d have to be part minister and part shrink to deal with such quirks in the American psyche, but it would be a fascinating study. From time to time I will be blogging about issues that irk me. Here’s the first one – rap music.

Why do so many young females support this music? Mainstream rap, more than any other musical genre I know, denigrates women? It is especially hard on black women, but many of them still revel in it. They make excuses for it like a female victim trying to justify a beating by her lover. “It was my fault,” she says in his defense. “I made him mad.” Women who suffer such physical brutality often wind up in hospitals, broken and beaten, one step closer to the death that may eventually prove to be inevitable. But how about the beating young female listeners are getting? How does it affect their self-esteem? Many of them still flock to rap music concerts as if they just can’t wait for their next round of abuse.

Still, it is unfair to generalize about rap, as if it were all the same. It’s not. Such singers as Common, Nas, Lupe Fiasco, and Talib Kweli, to name four, are so-called conscious rappers that support and uplift women, and are serious commentators on the social conditions they see in life daily. My son Brian, who has done a lot of studying of the rap phenomenon, believes the fact that we hear so much of the negative and offensive in rap is really a function of who controls the media. The most outrageous and sensational artists get the bulk of air play while the truly artistic are confined to off hours and listener-supported stations.
I’d like to tack one other question on to the one about rap.

Why do so many women support horror films? I guarantee you that you’ll see far more women than men brutalized in these films. Most often they are white, young, and nubile. Often they are nude, or partially so. Always they wind up as a beautiful heap in a pool of blood. Isn’t this exactly the kind of film they should stay away from? Isn’t this exactly the kind of film that incites young men who prey on women sexually? I have always felt that a large body of women – not the majority, of course – are fascinated by the dark side of men. They like to dance with death as it were a handsome leading man.

But the truth is all too clear. Too many women in this society as well as others are treated like trash, disposable human beings. Many come from broken homes and bad families. Some times they are prostitutes, other times they are addicts, and many times they are just young innocents who made a horrible misstep and became easy victims. They are beaten, raped, brutalized, used up, killed, and cast off. Mainstream rap music is just one other instance of the brutalizing treatment they get. It celebrates their vulnerability and their gullibility. It weaves cheap rhymes about them as sex objects.

And all the while silly women dance suggestively in the background.

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Keni said...

Good article. I'm forwarding this to my daughters.

Keni said...

good article. i'm showing this to my daughters.

Anonymous said...

Great Post!!! I agree with you completely. Much of the rap music and videos shown on MTV, BET, VHI perpetuate the cycle of abuse. I often think that many of the young women highlighted in the videos reflect the prevalent reign of the “fatherless “ society. Young girls naturally desiring the affirmation from ‘Father” miss out on that valuable piece in life. Eventually that affirmation comes in a perverted way that distorts “true Love”. Looks filled with lust translates into, I notice you, I see you. I love you. It’s an unfortunate cycle that can only end when the mind is renewed and a new image is developed. Until then, we will continue to see our young women subjecting themselves to brutality and more…as long as they’re seen.