Grown Men Still Can’t Seem to Grasp the Very Simple Concept of Consent

by Kimberly Foster @KimberlyNFoster

I’ve tried to avoid writing about the new talk show, “It’s Not You It’s Men,” hosted by Rev. Run and Tyrese Gibson, because men with huge platforms to espouse their simple, ill-informed views already get too much attention. But a clip from an upcoming segment featuring Amber Rose is so egregious that it cannot be overlooked. 

In the segment, the model-turned-activist attempts to keep her cool while explaining the straight-forward concept of “consent” to two grown men. Tyrese, in his barely coherent way, attempts to fill Amber in on why men grope women. “It’s the energy that’s being sent out there that creates this sort of response,” he says. Later, Rev. Run chimes in with catchy, but sexist aphorism, “dress how you want to be addressed.”

Amber must spend a good deal of time talking to fools because she engages the men calmly.
If I’m laying down with a man — butt-naked — and his condom is on, and I say, ‘You know what? No. I don’t want to do this. I changed my mind,’ that means no. That means f-ing no. That’s it... It doesn’t matter how far I take it or what I have on, when I say no, it means no.

The idea that you should not touch women or engage them in sexual activity without their express permission is not baffling. In any other context, people get it. Tyrese is an attractive, though depressingly dim-witted, man. I have no doubt that if another man walked up to him and grabbed any part of his anatomy forcefully, he’d respond in anger. This is the essence of consent.

That women must continue to teach an elementary idea and counter rebuttals as if they are legitimate is an insult. We should not have to keep arguing our right to safety. Everyday women are assaulted, raped, and killed because their “no’s” are ignored.

In January, 29-year-old Janese Talton-Jackson was killed in Pittsburgh after she rejected a man’s advances. Tashira Halyard writes, “Janese's murder has thickened the cloak of fear that surrounds Black women’s daily lives. It’s a heavy garment, stitched together by fragile masculinity and rank with the assaults and murders of our sisters.”

This is not just about women wearing sexy dresses to the club or laying up with their partners naked. 
Janese’s story is a far too common one. The blog When Women Refuse is dedicated to amplifying the stories of what happens to women who turn men down.

Black women are at exceptional risk for violence. According to a study conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint, 60% of Black girls are sexually assaulted before they turn 18. And the culture of shame is so prevalent that according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, "For every African-American/Black woman that reports her rape, at least 15 African American/Black women do not report theirs."

Both of these men have daughters, but that is not why they should reconsider their viewpoints. Women are people. Our humanity is more important than any “energy” you get because you’ve never been taught to keep your hands or your genitals to yourself when a woman is near. 

When the benevolent sexism of the Rev. Runs or the clueless misogyny of the Tyreses are treated as entertainment, it underscores just how little women matter. I'm not laughing it off. It's time for change. 

Photo: OWN

Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor-in-chief of For Harriet. Email or

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