Rant in Response to Rick Ross
I started to write an open letter to Rick Ross, or better yet his label, regarding his recent lyrics championing date rape. (But I thought to myself…WHY?….They don’t care. Perhaps the letter is better targeted at men. All of us. My brothers, my friends, even myself. Yes….even us so called conscious brothers that condone (with our silence or our involvement) the ideas, images, plots, and actions of violence against our daughters, sisters, and mothers in the name of “harmless” entertainment. We create unsafe environments where those who are blatant and latent predators know that they have full reign to feast off the purity, foulness, ignorance, and/or spirit of our women because we will say nothing. I mentioned purity, foulness…etc., because we are the brothers that will make excuses for sisters being abused because they “asked” for it, or because we have to make sure she is also “held accountable” for the “shit she got herself into”. Come on….would we ride that one out if it was our daughter that got slipped a molly, encouraged to take too many shots and ended up the plaything of a male that didn’t deserve her time. Her being 23 at a urban night spot or 16 at a high school party is less significant than the fact that we have the ability to affect the actions of the brothers on the prowl if we were more accountable to each other. Am I saying women have no responsibilities for themselves? No. But REAL men are more interested in protecting a sister, a woman who may have made some poor decisions than justify the sexual or emotional abuse of her because of it.
Men, there is an accountability question at play for us. I have listened to, supported and even purchased some Rick Ross music. I have partied to music that I would not let my kids listen to in the name of it being adult music; when in my heart I know it is not being marketed to adults, but rather pre-teens. I don’t support many of the lyrics of the music I tolerate, let alone buy and I know I am not alone. I need to stand up and say enough is enough. Not with some “clean up the music campaign”, or by picketing BET. If that is your call, I am not mad at you, or saying YOU shouldn’t do it. But I know that there are brothers in my circle in the music business; lawyers, accountants, and managers that push this music, but simultaneously protect their homes from its image forming and aspiration directing power. And I have not gone hard on them. I have not gone hard on my boys who can have conversations with men in their circles but wont, and brothers who talk to young men on college campuses, in high school gyms and on street corners, but violence against women and the vehicles for violent messages are never part of our conversation
We (MEN) have to do more on the daily basis to shift this cultural sickness in our own lives if we want to see it change. We have to live it in every aspect of our lives, challenge our closest friends and ask them to challenge us. We have to speak out about it when a song has lyrics that are as pervasively evil as Rick Ross’, when journalist attack the actions of a young woman and feel sorry for young men that attack her, and when the churches that we go to or the organization that we are apart of claim to fight for righteousness and justice, but promotes sexism internally.
Rick Ross and so many of the pied pipers of imagery that elevates the worst of us far more than the best are not the root of the problem, they are a symptom. I respect freedom of speech and expression. But I don’t have to like nor condone the message. Make your music and your money. No hate. But these messages cannot continue to be made while too many of us stand silent. Kudos to those brothers who have been lending their voice. Lets join them. There is no silver bullet to this, but we can definitely weaken the attack on our women and its affect on our children if in the small moments we would stand up like men and not party like boys. We have been called to do no less.