Opinion

Is It Okay for Hip Hop to Demean Women?

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Okay, so Don Imus has been fired for calling Rutgers Women’s basketball team ‘nappy headed ho’s.”  What does this all mean though?  Will this even be a topic of discussion next Wednesday?  Probably not, unless they decide to make a mini-series out of this.  Don’t get it twisted, I have big problems with a man on public radio disrespecting an undeserving group of women, but I also have a problem with anyone else who does it.  How can we ignore the vulgar pornographic lyrics that demean and objectify women in music we hear on the radio everyday?  I feel there’s a place for ALL kinds of music, even that kind of rap, but should we really be hearing songs like ‘Gimmie Dat Pussy’ at 3:30 in the afternoon?  Must not be that big a deal right?

The more often you use or hear certain words, the more they become normal.  Hip hop has a profound effect on our society, good and bad.  It affects how we talk, dress, and sometimes act.  It’s only natural to emulate what you see or hear all the time. Kids who have never spent a single day in ‘the hood’ or can list the number of black people they know on two fingers use phrases they get from hip hop all the time.  Even in commercials now you see white people using hip hop terminology with no punchlines, its part of their language too.  Could it possibly be.. that Imus heard those words loosely used and assumed it was okay to say?  He obviously didn’t think it was that big of a deal. He didn’t even apologize until the backlash.  He spoke ignorantly with no hesitation and throwing all caution into the wind.  Do you think he thought his 30 year career would come to an end for calling the Rutgers basketball team ‘nappy headed ho’s?’  Was it worth it?

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There are ‘hoes’ in this world, but the usage of the word by some mainstream artists is counter productive.  When you emphasize hoes, what do you do other than paint a negative picture of women in your community?  The women in these videos are just as responsible as the rappers, along wtih the record label execs who are pimpin’ all of them.  You can’t blame hip hop for one man’s ignorance, but if we want to jump on Imus for demeaning black women, let’s use this as fuel to clean up our own house.  Think progressively.  I don’t want every time a white person gets out of line for the finger to be pointed at hip hop and hip hop culture.  Its more dimesnional than what they give hip hop credit for.  There is rock and roll music and artists that demean women but that’s not brought up because of the diversity of rock and roll music you see on radio and tv.  They don’t play more positive and conscious rap videos because they don’t think it will sell.

You can’t blame hip hop for Don Imus being an idiot.  He’s old enough to know what’s right and wrong just like anyone else… including rappers.  Realistically though, the longer the media popularizes hip hop music that contains the same demeaning lyrics, white people will continue make an argument that we are hypocrites and no matter how valid an argument is, it will be thrown back in your face like, ‘I hear black people say it all the time.’

Money talks, you stop buying the cds, you stop watching BET shows that show softcore music videos in the middle of the day and stop supporting their sponsors, things will change.  Support hip hop artists with messages you can agree with and not just because it has a funky beat that you can twerk to in the club.  It should get to the point where if someone uses the words Imus chose, there would be no sympathizers. We just wouldn’t tolerate it.  You’re not going to win the argument that its okay for one group to demean women and not okay for others because of skin color.  If someone was to call your child, sister, or mother a ‘hoe,’ I doubt it would matter what race they were. All I’m saying is think progressively.  Stop being defensive.  If it’s wrong its wrong.

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Brennen Jones
Brennen Jones is the leading founder and publisher of TheUrbanTwist.com, a leading entertainment and media blog. He is also the founder of P.S. Web Pros, which is a web design and internet marketing company. He's also TheUrbanTwist.com's resident filmmaker and has produced and directed several short films under his Kitt HoRizon Films imprint and he's produced and have worked on video productions and commercials for various government agencies. He plans to turn The Urban Twist into a media haven so stay tuned. Brennen currently lives in Baltimore, MD. So be my friend on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter!

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