Hip Hop’s Betrayal of Black Women
The recent article that I have read sheds, more than enough, light on a situation that many people consider not being relevant. “Celie’s Revenge: Hip Hop’s Betrayal of Black Women” written by Jennifer McLune relates to the feelings of many women in today’s society. Being referred to as bitches and hoes in the music that we hear every day, on the radio, TV, etc. , is a disgrace to all whether they feel so or not. This article is a response to Kevin Powell’s article “Notes of a Hip Hop Head”.
In his article, Kevin states “just as it was unfair to demonize men of color in the 60’s solely as wild-eyed radicals when what they wanted, amidst their fury, was a little freedom and a little power, today it is wrong to categorically dismiss hip-hop without taking into consideration the socioeconomic condition (and the many record labels that eagerly exploit on benefit from the ignorance of many of these young artists) that have led to the current state of affairs. Jennifer then begins to explain that Kevin’s argument completely ignores the fact that women, too, are raised in this environment of poverty and violence, but have yet to produce the same negative and hateful representation of black men that male rappers are capable of making against women. (3 McLune). Powell’s article seems to reveal the fact that poverty is the reason for sexism and it should be excused because of it. Knowing that wealthy white boys can execute the same hateful lyrics as poor black boys, gives Jennifer the idea that his reasons are just ridiculous.
The faculties of the record labels are not the only ones to blame in this situation. As artist and role models to our society they should take more responsibility in their music as well as their actions and what they represent. Many artists appear to only care about their own mainstream acceptance than wanting to make positive changes in hip hop’s culture. “…Common, The Roots, Talib Kweli and others- remain inconsistent, apologetic and even eager to join the mainstream player’s club.
Even though fans like me support them because of their moments of decency toward women, they often want to remain on the fence by either playing down their consciousness, or by offering props to misogynistic rappers. ” (7 McLune). “The misogyny in hip-hop is also given a pass because some of its participants are women. But female hip-hop artists remain utterly marginalized within the industry and culture- except when they are trotted out to defend hip-hop against feminist criticism. ” (10 McLune). Jennifer explains how female artists are placed in osition of marginal importance when it comes to being in the industry, but not when they go out to defend hip hop against feminist criticism. Giving the idea that if women rap the industry and culture cannot be as sexist as it is proclaimed to be. Having the presence of individual women does not change if the group are still being degraded and to have to bear the blame of others. Many female rappers in the industry do not feel degraded; instead, they describe themselves as being certain labels as “the head bitch. As a result, female rappers are often just as male- identified, violent, materialistic and ignorant as their male peers. “Hip-hop artist Eve, who describes herself as “a pit bull in a skirt,” makes an appearance in the Sporty Thieves video for “Pigeons,” one of the most hateful misogynistic anthems in hip-hop. Her appearance in this video displays her unity not with the women branded “pigeons,” but with the men who label them. ” (12 McLune).
A pigeon is identified as being a female who goes out looking for dates by false advertising. Then they try to get them to do something ill-mannered as in paying their bills. Basically this is describing females as hoes and gold diggers. This heartbreaking example of how hip-hop encourages men to act collectively in the interest of male privilege, while dividing women into opposing camps of good and bad, or worthy and unworthy of respect. (12 McLune).
Most women sing along to these male dominated lyrics in the defense that they are not being referred to by rappers, such as Jay Z and Ludacris. “If we accept Powell’s explanation for why hip-hop is the way it is-which amounts to an argument for why we should continue to consume and celebrate it – then ultimately we are accepting ourselves as victims who know only how to imitate our victimization, while absolving the handful of black folk who benefit from its tragic results. (16 McLune). We should not condone the Powell’s explanation or the actions of our black male rappers. This will only result in more disrespect and labeling due to our ignorance towards this subject. “Black women writers and activists were called traitors for refusing to be silent about the misogynistic order of things in our minds and homes… ” (19 McLune) Because of us as strong black women using our heads and information to reveal the truth, we are being hated and disrespected.
Jennifer McLune greatly elaborates on every point that Kevin makes. He tries to blame the rappers actions on record labels and the way black men were treated during slavery and the civil war, but forgetting the crucial fact that black women were not treated any better during these times. Thinking that our black role models would actually want to uplift us women and show more respect is obviously asking too much.