Hip Hop was first started in the Bronx in the early 1970s as a way for young Black men to express themselves. Through rapping they were able to tell their stories. Only by doing something out of the ordinary will they get people to listen to them and realize that they too can accomplish something in life. Furthermore, their music was about drugs, violence, and crime.
Hip-Hop was the form they found to express themselves in the oppressive, racist state they lived in. They lived in the margins of society and they wanted to get out of that oppression. However, in rapping music that contained drugs, violence, and crime only reinforced the stereotype of Black men. Furthermore, in their own videos they were being violent and killing their own people. It is hard to get out of the oppressive state they are in when they too have embedded structure violence within themselves. This is to say, that they are fighting to liberate themselves from the white patriarchal oppression over them, yet they are being oppressive to other Black men and especially Black women.
Hip-Hop contains a lot of violence towards women, especially Black women. In the documentary Hip Hop- beyond Beats and Rhymes it is specify that men see women as a sexual object that is only there to please them. They claim that women are bitches and hos based on what they are wearing. Having that said, women are disrespected and seen as sexual objects because they are walking in the streets with shorts and a bra. Dexter Thomas, born and raised in San Bernardino, talked to us about Hip-Hop and stated that when he was a DJ, women would go up to him and asked for these songs to be played. He was really shock to see how women loved this songs and danced to them too. Men can walk up to them and touch them and they cannot complain about it because they are Hos. It is hard for women to get respected when it is claimed that they like being call Bitches and they participate in a culture in where they are being commodify sexually. As a result, men assume women like being touch in unappropriated ways. According to this documentary, women argue that when the rappers singing refer to women as “bitches and hos”, that they are not referring to them. However, it is clear that they are referring to all women and not one women or one race in particular.
Young Black men viewed Hip-Hop as a way to show their masculinity and dominance. In order for Black men to show that they have control over something or someone they oppress women. By oppressing them and dominating them, they feel that they have superiority and control over another human being. They must show that they have power and that they are tough because they do not want to be seen as soft. If they are not portraying the masculine standard of what men are supposed to be then they are called ‘pussy’. They do not want to be seen as one because then they are not following the norms of what men are supposed to be and therefore, they have no agency and end up back in the margins as the oppressed. As a result, Hip-Hop has reinforced and set as normal violence against women with the reinforcement that men have to be tough and strong and controlling.
“More than 700,000 women in the U.S. are sexually assaulted each year one women every 45 seconds”.
Though, most of the violence women suffer is not in public nor by a stranger. Women are often rape by their own husbands, family members, or friends. Angela Davis states that we need to fight for long term solutions for violence against women and the way to do this is by linking together all the forms in which women are submitted to violence: racism, class, and patriarchy.