Make no mistake about it, entertainment makes an indelible mark on our society. There is little room to disagree that Black Popular Culture, particularly, hip hop culture is the nuclear bomb of global culture.
Since its creation four decades ago, Hip-Hop Culture has not only served as the voice of America’s Black disenfranchised citizens, but also provided an escape from their environs. Not even the good that Hip-Hop Culture has done has made it immune from serious criticism from supporters and opponents alike. Critics and pundits such as C. Delores Tucker, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have taken hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg, Uncle Luke, Nelly, 50 Cent, and Pimp C, to task for promoting negative stereotypes of African-Americans, particularly Black women, in their lyrics and music videos.
Despite the public protests and denunciation that the alluded to artists have received from Black political leaders, these artists are merely continuing one of this nation’s, if not the world’s, most tried-and-true traditions, that being, the objectification of women. Put simply, Hip-Hop culture is merely serving as a mirror that displays the horrific misogyny that is an integral part of American socialization for males and females alike.
Misogynistic behavior and attitudes are a staple of American society; it has been here prior to the founding of this nation. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote the immortal quote “All men are created equal”. And he meant MEN; White men if we are being specific. For centuries women have been seen and used as objects for sexual gratification and as a means to an end. During colonial times men and women did not marry for love, rather marriages occurred so women could produce copious amounts of children who doubled as laborers/apprentices for their parents.
Misogyny has stood the test of time, it remains a fundamental principle to this day. For verification, one only needs to examine depictions of the ‘weaker sex’ that permeate our lives. A Carl’s Jr’s commercial featured hotel heiress Paris Hilton suggestively washing an automobile in a bikini. What purpose does a half-naked woman washing a car have to do with hamburgers? Another example is the featuring of cheerleaders at American sporting events. Can someone please explain why scantily clad women are necessary on the sidelines for LeBron James to play basketball at a high level? They serve no purpose other than to sell sex.
Magazines like Playboy, King, and Maxim consistently feature centerfolds of semi-nude to completely nude women. Women like Kim Kardashian and Mimi Faust, have been able to profit greatly from the sale of their homemade pornographic sex tapes. Quite simply the socialization of Americans to the degradation of women for centuries set the stage for morally questionable songs like Nelly’s “Tip Drill”, Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Sh&t”, UGK’s “Take it off”,The Ying Yang Twinz “The Whisper Song” and Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz “Get Low”.
Put simply the objectification and despicable images and lyrics found in hip hop music are an apt representation of American cultural values. Quite frankly degradation of women is more reflective of America than baseball, apple pie, and white picket fences.
Take a moment and consider that if music, particularly Rap Music is the mirror of society, how dysfunctional and immoral is the society that we live in.
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015