For me, a Black woman’s relationship to rap music is like being in a horrible relationship for 30 years. I will be honest. It was good at first. Rap music was fun, imperfect and complex. There were so many genres and creative spaces. But its complexity, genius and other positive qualities it had did not outweigh its negative treatment of women who look like me. So why did I put up with it long after I should have left?
I didn’t stay with rap because I loved it or it treated me good. It didn’t benefit me in any way. It treats Black women like crap. I stayed with rap because I became used to it. I felt like I had nothing else. I mean who doesn’t love rap?
Rap makes everyone dance and smile but was quick to publicly humiliate me and call Black women a bitch or a hoe. When it did, I purposely ignored it. I reassured myself not to worry, rap music, just like my partner was just kidding. I mean rap didn’t mean to call me out of my name even though it has done it over and over and over again. It wasn’t really talking about me even though it was talking about me. Because rap loves me, right?
Now others feel license to call me out of me name too. Heck, even Black and nonBlack women rappers and entertainers are in on it. They mock my natural features and like most rap music, brown bodies like mine are used as props to proclaim their and White supremacy. But that’s ok. It’s just music and it was just playing. Rap always reminds me that I rock one day out of the other 364!
Rap redefines me and determines what others think about me until you do not know who you are. It shaped the Black woman’s image for profit where everyone cheers on my humiliation. But hey, rap isn’t all bad. It’s conscious too.
It separated me from my family by promoting colorism, ignorance and criminality. It silenced those who saw my mistreatment and spoke up for me. It called those who told me I could end this relationship with rap as haters, being jealous or claimed they are trying to break us up. But hey, Black love. Right?
After treating me like this did rap really love me? Nope. It hates me and uses me and my image for my money. Heck it’s unapologetic about it. That is why I left a long time ago. Deep down you know you cannot change rap. You cannot not beg it or pray it to change. Rap will only change when you leave and bankrupt it. Despite all that, if you choose to stay with rap I cannot judge you because it up to you. When you are ready to move on I will be here.
Black women deserve more than loving someone who despises our existence and profits from our humiliation. Black women have more power than we think. Without Black women’s financial support rap is hollow and empty. When I left rap when I realized the negative aspects weren’t worth it. I value my sanity, my health and my humanity. I have moved on and you can too.