By Ebony Blanding
There is a new and improved bitch in town. She’s not your average bitch; average bitches are passé. Similar to Baby Phat, Fetish, and other faded apparel brands of the early 2000s, some brands of bitches just don’t make the cut from season to season.
Instead, this bitch has rank, leaves other members of her gender scores behind, with, well—her badness.
You would have to be living under a rock, remote from urban radio, pop culture and the pits of rap music to have not heard of her.
I would dare say I first heard Miami rapper Trina proclaim to be da baddest…
I'm representin' for the bitches, all eyes on your riches…I'm a curious bitch who took off to get broke off…Cause I'm the baddest…
I’m not sure when the word bitch became prefixed with bad. Honestly, the usage of the word deviating from defining animal to defining woman speaks to a larger social quagmire. However, we’re living in hazy times; the quagmire has now become the land.
Gone are the days when women refer to themselves as plain ol’bitches. That wasn’t enough to denote distorted views on woman empowerment. It didn’t have a ring to it. A higher grade of bitchism was needed to distinguish the basic bitch from the not-so-basic and the not-so-basic from the…well, you get the point.
I’ve cringed at the term of a bad bitch for some time now.
With female rappers verbally sparring over whose the baddest, male rappers wanting only the baddest bitch and nothing less, and the very recent collab of rappers Lola Monroe, Trina, and Shawnna dedicating studio time to say:
Imma bad bitch, you know nothing bout it, Louis on my ass, only Gucci in my closet…
I’m scratching my head and clutching my pearls at the same damn time. Left to ponder on what is this being that is both bitch and bad.
Is she like the female equivalent of a Centaur? The Kentauride? A hybrid of both stallion and woman? That would make a great deal of sense actually. She, the bad bitch, is a liminal being caught between the two natures: woman and bitch.
Stay with me, this could get even the more absurd.
I asked a few people from around the way, “what’s a bad bitch?”
“Do you mean the “good” bad bitch or the “bad” bad bitch?” many asked.
“Well, hmmm, let me see…” I thought. (I must admit, I wasn’t prepared for bad bitches to have two separate categories.)
Nevertheless, that is a fair enough question—the context of a word more now than ever has to be taken into consideration for the meaning of speech. For even pejorative, bigoted, and chauvinistic words may take on different implications depending on the framework in which they are used and who uses them.
“Whatever comes to your mind first,” I said.
This is where it gets interesting…
I was told a bad bitch was: sexy, has a nice body with the face to match, dresses in only the best, takes care of her business, is about her money, a dime or better, is the total package(i.e. looks, brains, and personality), a woman who is on top of her game in all aspects…
Well, she doesn’t sound horrible. Maybe she and I could go for chai tea and she, the bad bitch, give me some pointers. I’m a struggling writer in need of being on top of my game in all aspects. I like to think I clean up well—but maybe she could mentor me into dime status and make help me be the total package.
However, if she has all these qualities and more—if she is in fact confident and a smashing example of woman in all her glory—then who is the poor ratchet soul that many rappers refer to?
That’s a bad bitch man, that’s a bad bitch…I just want to dig her out, blow her coochie and back out, show her what I’m all about, bust a nut all in her mouth…
“Bad Bitch” – E-40
Fuck her friend then I pass her to the big homie, got a sign on my dick, bad bitches only…
Who is this being who sounds more like object than human? More like the go to girl for sexual deviants to cash out on than poster child for female empowerment?
From all the musical references of hip-hop’s coveted siren that I listened to, none noted her brains before her booty, if even mentioning she had intellect at all. Even female rappers referring to themselves as bad bitches didn’t note their intelligence before stating the brand name covering their bum and their ability to be wetter than popular bottled water brands.
Uhh, you want a bad bitch? Trina's the baddest… You can have an old lady, if I want you I ain't trippin I got, my own money, own cars, own house… Now I ain't gotta meet your momma, gimme dollars Gimme Gucci, gimme Chanel, pearls and gimme Prada…
“Bad Bitch (remix)” – Trina
Even still, many women make the claim that the bad bitch alias is nothing more than a complimentary moniker—a shout out from their favorite rapper if you will. I guess one woman’s notion of disrespect is another woman’s version of kudos.
Yet, how magnificent is a woman whose birth canal is verbally ransacked by male counterparts and lyrically pawned by women for designer labels and penthouse suites?
Despite being covered in fancy garb and being able to gloat of having bag and shoe game together— bad bitches appear hollow, empty in the substance that distinguishes person from mannequin, woman from trophy.
Her accomplishments in life seem to be achieved solely based on the merit of her attractiveness and sex appeal garnering the attention of suitors, the hate of women, and the collection of dead presidents.
Lupe Fiasco, an MC known for questioning the artifice of rap, chimed in on rap’s honorary Hottentot.
Off of the rapper's third album “Food and Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album,” the rapper features a concept record titled “Bitch Bad.” Lupe opens stating what should be the obvious, “bitch bad, woman good, lady better”…
Stylishly so, Fiasco sets the stage for observing an impressionable youngster listening to his/or her mother echo the sentiments of songs that vaunt being a bad bitch. He then provides theoretical scenarios of malleable minds equating femininity with badness of a bitch.
Just like that, you see the fruit of the confusionA part of your heart breaks when you picture youth constructing the idea of beauty from the images of scantily clad video vixens. You don’t have to be Cleo to know that perilous times lie ahead for a generation raised on hyper sexuality and misogyny.
He caught in a reality
She caught in an illusion
Bad mean good to her, she really nice and smart
But bad mean bad to him, bitch don’t play your part
But bitch still bad to her if you say it in the wrong way…
But she think she a bitch, what a double entendre…
It would ease my mind a bit to know that it was just the young who were impressionable—that women who are of the age of maturity aren’t naive enough to aspire to be called a bad bitch.
I could breathe easy knowing that women unquestionably understood that the strength and confidence they are capable of possessing cannot be reflected in derogatory speech.
However, astuteness does not necessarily come with age. Many adults imitate the visual and audio entertainment transmitted into their headsets and boob tubes. From style of dress to the liquor we celebrate—it’s evident we’re taking notes from someone.
Moreover, as the sister of an 11-year-old wonder, I know that the frequency in which children process information is astronomical. They stare open-eyed into the world looking for someone to resemble.
Witnessing the world transfixed with illusions is profound to say the least. We’ve bought into a lot of hype as a culture, questioning little and proceeding without caution. What’s in the virtue of a name? Some would say nothing—that’s a debate for another day.
If I should ever meet one who identifies herself as a bad bitch, I would only wish to impart to her that being woman alone is enough. No alias needed —no version of bitch able to quantify her grandeur.
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What Did You Call Me?: Black Women’s Tolerance and Use of the Word “Bitch”
What Did You Call Me?: Black Women’s Tolerance and Use of the Word “Bitch”