On Rick Ross and Condoning Rape

Bawse.

Bawse.

Put molly in her champagne, she ain’t even know it /
I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.

U.O.E.N.O. – Rocko, Future, Rick Ross

Molly a.k.a Ecstacy, chemical name: methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). A popular recreational drug, it causes euphoria, diminished anxiety, diminished mental capacity and a host of frightening side effects.

The lyrics above are from Rick Ross’s verse on Rocko’s track. Let me translate: Rick Ross rapped about drugging a woman’s drink without her knowledge, taking her home and having sex with her without her knowledge ( never mind her consent). You guys, I think we just found the EXACT definition of drug-facilitated sexual assault i.e. date rape.

This is all kinds of wrong. Why would anyone want to do that, much less rap about it? If he’s the bawse, and has half as much money and power as he claims, surely he’d have his pick of the ladies? Why is he rapping about date rape?

Oh, this one cost him. There were very loud protests, from individuals and organizations, with a petition on Change.org that eventually led to the Reebok company dropping Ross as their brand ambassador.

When asked, on a radio station, to talk about the whole situation, here’s what he said: “I want to make sure this is clear, that woman is the most precious gift known to man. It was a misunderstanding with a lyric, a misinterpretation where the term rape wasn’t used. I would never use the term rape in my records. As far as my camp, hip-hop don’t condone that. The streets don’t condone that. Nobody condones that…I just wanted to reach out to all the queens that are on my timeline and all the sexy ladies, the beautiful ladies that had been reaching out to me with the misunderstanding.”

Okay, first off: Misunderstanding? Misinterpretation? Thousands of people who unpacked the contents of that rapey lyric misunderstood?

What.

What.

He didn’t apologise. He didn’t say, “I would never rape anyone” or “I would never rap about rape”, but “I would never use the term rape in my records”. Oh, so it’s okay as long as nobody says the R-word.

A few weeks later, amid increasing anger, Rick Ross sent out an apology. Full text below:
“Before I am an artist, I am a father, a son, and a brother to some of the most cherished women in the world. So for me to suggest in any way that harm and violation be brought to a woman is one of my biggest mistakes and regrets. As an artist, one of the most liberating things is being able to paint pictures with my words. But with that comes a great responsibility. And most recently, my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart. And for this, I apologize. To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the power of influence. To the young men who listen to my music, please know that using a substance to rob a woman of her right to make a choice is not only a crime, it’s wrong and I do not encourage it. To my fans, I also apologize if I have disappointed you. I can only hope that this sparks a healthy dialogue and that I can contribute to it.”

I hope that the healthy dialogue continues. Rappers have a very strong voice; they directly or indirectly influence so many people. Hip-hop artistes in particular, and musicians of other genres as well, need to critically evaluate the messages they’re putting out there. If women are so loved and cherished, maybe try not to refer to them as “bitches” and “hoes” all the damn time? Just a thought.

What’s your take?


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