I Could Not Care Less About What Lil Wayne or Rick Ross Mean To Hip Hop5/07/2013
Last week, PepsiCo dropped Lil Wayne's endorsement deal after the family of Emmett Till expres...
Last week, PepsiCo dropped Lil Wayne's endorsement deal after the family of Emmett Till expressed outrage over lyrics in a Lil Wayne song. This happened just weeks after sustained protests prompted Reebok to drop Rick Ross because of his lyrics that implied date rape followed by inadequate apologies. Rap enthusiasts have expressed concern that hip hop is a target. A blogger at Necole Bitchie writes, "Corporate companies are going to be more afraid to give Hip Hop a chance, moving forward, in fear that something like this will happen again."
I, quite frankly, could not care less. I enjoy hip hop music, though I have successfully cut down my listening since the Rick Ross situation erupted. And I worry about the portrayal of black cultural products as exceptionally dysfunctional, but I can't say that mainstream rap contributes more to the lives of African-Americans, particularly for Black women, than it detracts. The uneven labeling of black men as dangerous dismays; however, I do believe artists who promote offensive ideas and acts in their content should be held accountable. Artistic freedom doesn't equate to a complete evasion of consequences.
One wonders why Mountain Dew waited so long to pull the plug on the rapper's deal. The Emmett Till lyric dropped months ago, but, perhaps, corporations will exercise more prudence when picking their spokespeople. If that means fewer rappers get endorsement deals, so be it. I, as a black woman, do not feel invested in that fight. If you choose to make your living degrading, debasing, shocking and offending, expect push back that cannot be waved away with assertions of free speech. Commercial rap cares about money above all else. Hopefully new and seasoned rappers see the sanctions leveled against the offenders and choose to exercise restraint in their lyrical content or actions.
I, personally, choose not to judge the character of Lil Wayne or Rick Ross based on these mistakes. They are huge, influential voices with the important the ability to reach young hearts and minds. But we often must withstand correction to learn and grow. It is my hope that they will reassess their situations and use their platforms responsibly, but if they're unwilling then the protests and boycotts can and should continue.
I Blame Myself: The Consequences of Enjoying Rick Ross, Rap, and Rape Culture
The Appeal to Black Men: Don’t Get Lost in the Crowd When Fighting Rape Culture
5 Things We Learned from the Victory Over Rick Ross and Rape Rap
Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or Follow @KimberlyNFoster