5 Ways CrunkFeminist.com Could Actually Be A Responsible Source of Information
Here’s the link to a blog that I feel is trying to ride my coattails in the wake of statements I made about hip hop lyrics.
If you haven’t, please read it before you continue. Since they took the time, here is my response-
After this latest week of blogs trying to get hits by over reacting to sound bites and trying to create drama and further distraction from real issues that affect our communities, the words of the late great Audre Lorde resonate now more than ever-
"If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive."
Let’s go over the facts. According crunkfeminist “Talib Kweli thinks the first responsibility that women in hip hop have to men in hip hop is to love them.” This is not merely a stretch of the truth, this is a boldfaced lie. Never once did I say or write these words anywhere. The responsible thing to do would have been to either quote me directly or at least post the audio of what I actually said. Since they couldn’t be bothered, here is what I said when Rosa asserted that Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, in her opinion, were not a part of hip hop culture-
"The moment that you say (someone) is not part of hip hop culture, then why should they listen to you? Why should they care about anything you have to say? They are a part of hip hop culture whether you think they are or not. That is just a fact."
At that point Rosa Clemente conceded to my point, and said “if they are a part of hip hop culture then I’ll say this. They do have a responsibility not to be rapping about, at 40 years old, date rape.”
To which I responded, “I agree with that totally. But if we want to change them it’s a smarter play to embrace them with love. If you are starting your process of trying to change the way that they rap with, I am dismissive of your efforts entirely, then why would they listen to you? We should embrace them with love. None of these people are evil. None of these people are trying to bring down the community on purpose. They are misguided, the same as their fans. I don’t care if he is 40 years old. He’s a misguided 40 year old person. We should embrace with love. Everything everyone is saying about that line is correct. Rick Ross condoned rape in that song. And he shouldn’t and he should apologize, and the apology that he offered was unacceptable.”
According to crunkfeminist, I attempted to dress Rosa down for even having a perspective, and that I dictated to her what her perspective should be. Nothing could be further from the truth. None of us have the power to exclude anyone from hip hop culture, not me, not Rosa Clemente, and certainly not crunkfeminist. Hip hop culture is vast and beautiful and inclusive of anyone who chooses to participate in it, especially to the degree that Lil Wayne and Rick Ross have. You may not like Lil Wayne or Rick Ross for a myriad of reasons, but there are millions of hip hop fans who do. Their existence in the conversation validates their place in the culture, at the very least. When I said that Ross and Wayne are hip hop whether we like it or not, I was making the case that none of us have the power to dictate who is and you isn’t based on personal preference.
But beyond me feeling like I was correct, what crunkfeminist missed in their over reaching critique of me is the fact that Rosa Clemente actually agreed with me minutes later when she said, “I think that Talib is right when he pushed back on me having that strict definition of hip hop, and I’m down to take that critique….I’m not ready to say Rick Ross I love and embrace you, but I am ready to say that we need brothers who are his peers not only to say that to him but to stand up against rape culture.”
But you won’t find that anywhere on crunkfeminist. They try to make it seem like I bullied Rosa. Rosa is too smart for that, so who is actually underestimating her as a woman?
When people are passionate about the issues, as Rosa and I are about both hip hop and our people, debates get heated. Of course the talk got charged. I cut Rosa off, she cut me off. I was brought in not hearing everyone clearly and with only a few minutes to make my point. Admittedly, I didn’t understand the format and felt I wasn’t allowed to get my point out, but once I realized the format, I was able to fall back and participate in the conversation better. This is why I was able to later apologize to Rosa if it seemed like I was getting at her, because that wasn’t the case at all. Rosa and I have debated on panels around the world, and it’s gotten more heated than that. Rosa Clemente is a grown woman. She can handle it. So to counter-
1. Let the women have the mic- The women spoke for 15 minutes before I got on. I was asked to call in because I took a stand on Ross lyrics on my twitter two days before the call. As a black man who does hip hop music, considers Rick Ross a peer and has been responsible for my content for my entire career despite the odds, I had something of value to offer the conversation. So I did. And the “injured party” crunkfeminist refers to thanked me for pushing back and challenging her. And I clearly acknowledged her consistent efforts in this struggle.
2. Don’t mansplain- I have every right to express my opinion, and I did just that when I said what I thought the smarter play to be. On the other hand, nobody has the right to decide what I think is smart. I still think it’s the smarter play, and nobody can’t stop me from thinking that. If you think you’re not being smart or logical, that’s on you. You don’t have to interpret what I’m saying, I ain’t playing mind games. If you said you feel like you have a smarter move, I may disagree. But if I begin personalizing it, that exposes flaws in my character, not yours.
3. Don’t invoke the tone argument- Um, I didn’t. And whether I expected Rosa to listen to me or not, she did. Which she clearly acknowledged. And I listened to her. When Rosa came back at me with the excellent point that activists had been opposing rape culture lyrics no matter who the artist for years, I agreed immediately, because she was right. Towards the end of the call I stated, “I’m in great company with these sisters and everyone on the call. Me and Rosa go back we been doing this for a long time, so I want to first say I appreciate the commitment….feminists have been fighting (this) for so long..”
4. Interrogate your privilege- Old Boys Club? You mean like the old white men who decided who couldn’t come in their club, based on rules they made up? Sort of like how Rosa said Rick Ross wasn’t hip hop? What I did was suggest that we be inclusionary if we expect to dialogue. That is the opposite of an Old Boys Club mentality. That metaphor falls flat on it’s face. Yes I was speaking from a place of male privilege, but that doesn’t change the meaning of what I was saying. I was offering my ideas for solution. To me, stopping at condemnation of art is counterproductive. Like Jamilah said during the discussion, “I agree with Talib, this is an American problem, hip hop is not the root cause. We are seeing broken misguided people with a huge global platform speaking to and from the place of being damaged, speaking to damaged people about their damage. I did say f—- Rick Ross…but speaking to him with love, which I think is the responsibility of an artist like Talib….because he is invested in both hip hop and black people.” So why are y’all not calling Jamilah a false ally? She not only agreed with me, she echoed my sentiment.
5. Recognize that you don’t get to tell us how to be our ally; we get to tell you- No. Recognize that I’m your ally whether you and your crew realize it or not. I always have been, I always will be, regardless of how you feel about it. Get your own damn megaphone. I rock mics.
You say you don’t love hip hop because hip hop doesn’t love you back? That’s on you. There are far too many great hip hop artists with far too many great songs about women, or just great songs period, for you to be so casually dismissive of it. Shit, you ain’t even got to buy it no more, you could listen on you tube, spotify, pandora, sound cloud etc. If you had more respect for what actual hip hop artists do, maybe you would get more out of it. Don’t be lazy about it and expect uplifting hip hop to be delivered to you on a silver platter from mainstream outlets. If people spent more time actually supporting hip hop artists who do great, progressive music than they did moaning about what they don’t like, this would be less of a problem. You speak of caring, but say, “maybe what we need is a little less love.” There is no caring without love.
So in closing, wouldn’t your time have been better spent writing an open letter to Rick Ross for everyone to RT? What is the goal, to solve the problem or to find more reasons to be more upset? Or better yet, make a list of things that actually help solve the problem…I mean, you’re the blogger, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but, how here are some suggestions, five of em-
1. Five Reasons Why MisInterpreted Is Not An Accurate Description Of What Happened
2. Five Places Where Someone Can Donate To Causes That Do Rape Victim Outreach
3. Five Allies
4. Five Of The Best Female Musicians People Aren’t Paying Attention To
5. Five Hip Hop Songs/Artists That Do Not Degrade Women
Just offering a solution.
At the end of the day, the issue at hand to me is how can we change the environment that creates this type of lyrical imagery. I will keep working towards that. I feel like this discussion did a good job with that until some folks tried to hi jack it for their own personal crusades. For those who did not see the discussion, check it out here…..Peace. and love
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