Six Degrees Of Sylvia Rhone…
^ "Isn't she lovely?" - (c) Stevie Wonder
I haven't done too much writing this past weekend not because it was a holiday or becasue my check from Harris Publishing came in and I have been in an alcoholic x THC influenced stupor, but because I have been trying to process the Charles Hamilton vs. Briana Latrise debacle for its overall effect on Hip-Hop as we know it.
Firstly, it was a shot heard 'round the internets, that finally after so many hardbody female artists like MC Lyte, Lin Que, Latifah, Rah Digga, Lady of Rage and all those lesbian chicks on the Miss Rap Supreme show we now see a female emcee who is will to strike pre-emptively. This was no Real Roxanne episode where a chick was passed around the entire crew from Full Force to U.T.F.O. (and possibly Force MD's - uggh) before she had the nerve to speak her mind.
Briana Latrise is the resultant of years of rap music being specifically anti-woman. Nevermind the fact that there have been women who still managed to work in this environment. Plenty of women go to work in offices and other places where the instances of sexual and racial harassment are abundant. Rap music was in the forefront of artistic misogyny. You can't deny this either. N.W.A. and Too $hort happen to just pop up in my brain, but if you do the math I'm sure you will discover that the word bitch was used most frequently from 1990 onward.
Here's the freaky coincidence...
The explosion of misogynistic music and conversely music videos which promoted the music's lifestyle directly parallels the ascendancy and prominence of African American female executives in the entertainment industry. You might almost surmise that Black women in executive positions love to see images of prostrated Black women as much, if not more than anyone else. Why else would all the degrading images and content be underwritten, created and promoted by these executives. It's almost as if they were trying to develop a permanent underclass mentality for females of color.
The tsunami doesn't trap all the women of color underwater, but the ones that escape certainly don't ring the alarm for the ones coming up either. Briana Latrise's reactionary punch to Charles Hamilton's jaw was about their personal relationship as much as it was about her frustrations at being marginalized as an artist. Briana won't be on the cover of Vibe anytime soon even if she poses butter ass nekkid like Ciara and Keisha Cole have done. Briana's options haven't been obfuscated by the 'Man'. Briana has been pigeonholed by the woMan.
The more women are inducted into positions of influence and power the less we are seeing them find their voices as artists. That wouldn't be such a bad thing though if the art in general reflected more respect for women overall, but the opposite is the case. More women execs has equaled less women artists plus more misogynists. What part of the game is this? Combine that with the knowledge that prison culture is also promoted as the ideal for manhood and I would have to start raising an eyebrow at women of color holding executive positions in the entertainment industry.
I should prA'li watch my step around here since I don't want my XXL checks getting to my mailbox several months late again but I'm just wondering why no one else is concerned about the silence that has come from the Rihanna supporters? Here's why you haven't heard a peep. The real life pecking order inside of the urban entertainment industry looks something like this. White man > white women > Black women > Asians (primarily Filipino) > the Mexican diaspora (P.R., Cuban, D.R., Colombia) > ghey Black men > office furniture (Herman Miller chairs) > Black men.
So as long as Black men are talking shit about Black women and catching a bad one to the jaw bone everyone in Hip-Hop is satisfied.