Jamming Out to the Enemy
After Dexter Thomas lead an interesting discussion about hip-hop music and masculinity I began to think about all of the encouragement we, as the audience, give to the artists that continue to put women down and use homophobic slurs in their lyrics. What really got to me when Dexter spoke was when he asked us who the “media” was. Dexter pointed out that there is a constant blame from people that the media is at fault for the content that we listen to or watch, and he made us question who the media really is.
As a recent employee for the Los Angeles Times, Dexter Thomas argues that he is the media, but that even when he was a part time DJ he would remove tracks such as “Blurred Lines” from his playlists because of the misogynistic undertone. Yet, much to my surprise (not really) the people who would request for such horrible songs to play were women. Why?!?!?
The media works as a supply and demand type of deal. We get what we ask for, and of course I don’t think there are any women out there asking to please be treated like a piece of meat while constantly being called a “bitch” or “ho”, but we are the ones asking for more music like this to be made by constantly supporting artists who have no respect for women.
Another perfect example of this is the three trans* people in the documentary Hip Hop Beyond Beats & Rhymes who say that the homophobic slurs in hip hop lyrics turns them on. I am no one to pass judgment on these people, but supporting this type of behavior and being part of the specific group targeted by hate in the music should not be a thing. Anyone who is a target of these offensive lyrics should be upset and not support these artists anymore, unless these artists come to a sudden realization that they’re being a**holes and apologize.
As I once heard in a class discussion by a fellow student, who I wish I could name, being ignorant on a subject is one thing (not completely acceptable, but understandable), and making mistakes happens, but what matters is the way that you address the situation once someone has called you out on your mistake.
Rappers being called out on their offensive lyrics almost never seems to end well. For example, we have Tyler the Creator, a rapper who has managed to use the word “faggot” about 200+ times in just one album, being confronted on his use of this offensive word. Tyler’s response to this was that he isn’t being homophobic, and is only using the worst as a synonym for “weak” (because that clears up what he thinks of gay people?). What upsets me about this issue isn’t so much that this guy is an arrogant a**hole, it’s what he continues to say about his dear friend, Frank Ocean. According to Tyler, Frank Ocean has no problem with him using the word faggot over and over again to describe a weak man. Now, I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS.
Why are you not upset, Frank Ocean?! There is no need for Tyler the Creator to be getting any support from anyone in the LGBTIQ community if he thinks that using a derogatory term for us in his lyrics is acceptable.
Frankly, I don’t give a damn how much “talent” an artist has, because once they have proven to be unapologetic a**holes we should automatically stop supporting them. Just as Dexter Thomas stated, we are the ones that give these artists power, and if we don’t question the mistakes they make then we are the ones allowing them to call us “bitches/ho’s/fags” over and over again.