This evening, PBS will be airing a documentary having to due with issues in hip-hop like masculinity, misogyny, and homophobia. I’ve yet to see it myself, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to, but I’ve read a bit about it both in the New York Times and the PBS website, and so far I’ve yet to be convinced that this is such a huge issue.
For example, a couple of years ago, VIBE magazine ran a story in which they attempted to expose some sort of domestic violence epidemic in hip-hop. It was a ridonkulously shoddy piece of work. The evidence, which was mostly anecdotal, seemed to stem primarily from that DVD of Big Pun pistol-whipping his wife as well as the fact that Damon Dash was once accused of rape.
So Big Pun beat up his wife and Damon Dash may or not have raped a broad; as I pointed out at the time, the Big Pun incident most likely stemmed from the fact that he was a latino more so than that he was a rapper. And call me a misogynist if you want, but why else would Damon Dash be bringing a modeling chick back to his hotel room. To play Scrabble?
Hilariously, the story attempted to cover up the fact that it didn’t contain any real evidence of such a phenomenon by suggesting that this was because too many women were afraid to come forward out of fear of reprisal. Meanwhile, what kind of black chick do you know who would turn down the chance of denigrating a black man in the pages of VIBE magazine?
To be sure, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that black women have it pretty damn rought. I’ll spare you running down the actual statistics, both because I don’t have them handy and because who wants to hear that shit anyway, but it’s true in general that black women are much more likely to be beat up, raped, and or killed.
Still, it’d be a leap in logic to suggest that this is hip-hop’s fault, especially when the main evidence we having linking the genre to actual acts of violence against women is pretty damn questionable. Meanwhile, I can think of plenty of incidents of violence against black women that didn’t have shit to do with hip-hop.
What about the legions of black hookers who turn up dead in dumpsters year in and year out. I’m sure they contribute to the statistics quite a bit, but I’m not sure how they relate to hip-hop. Maybe they serviced a few rappers during their tragically brief tenures in the entertainment industry, but was it rappers who killed them or crazed cracka-ass crackas?
Of course, most of those black chicks wouldn’t have been out there ho’ing in the first place, and, as Shakespeare would say, therein lies the rub. It’s not NWA’s Niggaz4life album that leads a man to put his shoe on his wife, it’s crushing poverty. Attempting to throw the blame on rap music isn’t going to help do anything other than further alienate hip-hop kids from the rest of society.