Women haven’t caught a break since a 4-day-old Eve tried one of those red delicious, forbidden apples. If only she had listened to her 6-day-old man, Adam, instead of that pro-choice-talking snake—we might be roaming around naked and free in the Garden of Eden with mad mosquito bites right now. Since the year 1619 (pre-USA), Black women have not only had the nerve to fight for freedom alongside Black men but got greedy by also wanting equality; that’s when Black and white men came together in unity and said, “Nah, because all you chicks ruin sh*t like Eve.” These tales of women’s audacity being punished for the greater good created a Macho Man mindset and an anti-woman culture that presents as necessary and cool.
Hip Hop did not create misogyny. As a 90s kid, I often watched the nightly news showcase anti-rap protests from white suburbia and the Black church community alike. I remember doing a book report on England’s King Henry VIII and discovering that he was way more notorious than Brooklyn’s Christopher Wallace. This guy Henry was married six times, stopped paying his tithes because the church wouldn’t let him divorce one wife to marry another, and had a couple of wives beheaded because they didn’t birth him sons. And yet, Henry VIII is not only historically admired as a king but glamorized as something of a rockstar in movies, TV shows, and traditional museum portraits that show him with hands on hips sporting a full, red, Rick Ross-BAWSE type beard.
Because of this century-long and celebrated behavior, Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons can pop up all smiles for a post-press conference photo-op with New York City mayor Eric Adams; only a few years prior Simmons conveniently ducked out of the country for a spell after facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, assault, and rape. The same goes for rapper/singer Tory Lanez who allegedly shot rapper Meg THEE Stallion in the foot. The culture shifted from Megan being a possible victim to blaming her for the incident.
Internet ignorance suggested, in defense of Tory, that a gun would be needed because of Meg’s stature. There were also assumptions about Meg’s sex life; things like “Oh, word is, she sleeps with everybody—including her best friend’s man,” became the topic of podcast conversations. ‘She twerks about her WAP, therefore she’s a liar’ became the promoted and prevailing attitude of many who became overnight CSI agents, using alleged court document leaks from social media as evidence. All these mentions are bogus historical branches from the same victim-blaming tree as Cosby and R. Kelly’s public opinion defense teams.
Patriarchy suggests that men are born and bred rulers—solid, secure, all-knowing—unless there is an attractive woman present. Then it’s all her fault. Former United States President Bill Clinton made himself look like a locker-room legend and victim at the same time once he admitted to receiving oral sex from a White House intern in the oval office. Then, there are the Irv Gottis and Wyclef Jeans of the world. Jean alleged for years that he and bandmate Lauryn Hill were having an affair while he was married, and he even claimed to think he was the father of her firstborn. Irv, the music executive who introduced the world to rappers DMX, Jay-Z, and Ja-Rule, was bent on degrading his own legacy by publicly screaming for years—and most recently on an episode of Drink Champs— about his alleged, rarely unchallenged, sexual activities with R&B singer and former Murder Inc. artist, Ashanti. Like Clinton, Gotti (who also was married) painted himself as a victim when Ashanti allegedly ended their relationship to be with rapper Nelly.
Irv and Wyclef volunteered information that nobody asked for with a smug shoulder shrug and an excuse, “Everybody knew anyways, so please feel sorry for me.” When we, in fact, did not feel bad, and we didn’t need to know. The possibility of jail time was Clinton’s motivation. Irv and Wyclef offered up their toxic tales for ego’s sake.
Understand, everyone has a right to proclaim their innocence. If accused of a crime one didn’t commit, it’s natural to defend one’s livelihood to the grave. However, there needs to be a deeper application process to qualify for grace cards—and charm alone just shouldn’t cut it. NFL QB Deshaun Watson, who faced sexual assault allegations, arrived at practice to the applause of adoring fans. While rapper Mystikal has served time for a rape charge once already, only to be accused twice more in the same decade.
We do not have to live in a culture that ignores women victims and faults them for creating the circumstances. But since we do, at the very least we shouldn’t be so quick to run our mouths or grin our pearly whites in defiance.