Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Open Letter

To:       Jay Electronica, Kanye West, Chris Rock and Others
From:    Your Female Audience
Date:    12/10/2010
RE:       A Requested Apology

As female fans of your work, we would first like to thank you for creating.  We respect your right to artistic freedom in whatever form you choose to express it. However, we believe that the power you have to reach the masses has been irresponsibly used in an effort to objectify, exploit and abuse us through the vehicle of your commanding voices.
The creation of this open letter spawned from the following recent incidents in hip-hop:
  • 1)  A Youtube video from a show in Seattle whereby MC Jay Electronica discussed on stage a $20,000 bet he currently has in place with fellow MC Nas and his tour DJ.
The wager was based on whether or not women “like being choked during sexual intercourse”.  After acknowledging the fact that there were minors in the crowd, Jay Electronica continued his agenda and stated that he asks the question “do women enjoy being choked during sexual intercourse” at many of his shows.  He then solicited a crowd response from both male and female audience members.  The male response of approval for choking women during intercourse was blatantly louder than the response from female audience members.  Mr. Electronica then joked “there’s a lot of women in Seattle being choked against their will”. When a female in the audience replied with “that’s not funny”, Mr. Electronica quickly dismissed her sentiment and then encouraged the crowd to chant “we know it’s not funny—relax—enjoy the music”.
The Youtube video of this incident can be viewed via this link:

  • 2)      The content of the Kanye West song “Blame Game” featuring John Legend and an ill-advised diatribe at the end via comedian Chris Rock.
The song itself contains talk of choking a female during the act of sex, hitting a female, calling her a bitch and berating her for their failed relationship.  Chris Rock closes the track with a bevy of remarks about a woman’s female anatomy and sexual prowess, all credit due to Kanye West for “reupholstering” her vagina during their relationship.

You can read the lyrics to this song here:

As women who truly want to enjoy your collective works, the examples noted above make it impossible for us to do so.  As female fans, it is a conflict of interest to bump your music in our rides and sing along when every other word is a figurative slap in the face (or, dare we say, hand around our neck).
The blatant disregard for the female mind and body is not new to hip-hop, nor to society as a whole.  We realize the sentiment of us as sex objects and powerless beings at the hands of the male sexual agenda wasn’t created in a lab by Kanye West, Chris Rock and Jay Electronica.  The historical dismissal of women is long-standing, as is the refusal to acknowledge us as conscious individuals with intellectual autonomy. However, that does not mean that you—under the label of “artist”—are exempt from accountability for your words and actions. For example, if a woman doesn’t answer the question “do you like being choked during sex” correctly according to the male questioner, she is balked at and publicly chastised, as evidenced in the Jay Electronica incident.  This behaviour makes one thing very clear: our voices and perspectives are not respected, nor sought after.
Ultimately, we are tired of your interpretation of who we are. We will no longer tolerate you staking claim on our bodies as property. We will no longer tolerate you making decisions for us without asking. We will no longer tolerate you taking credit for what we do or don’t do in the bedroom and beyond.  We will no longer tolerate you asking us what we like and then taking it upon yourselves to perpetrate your own agendas anyway.
Your female fans want to make one thing clear:  You are not entitled to us.
We stand in solidarity with the understanding that your diatribes, rants and raves about specific women cannot be taken lightly. We aren’t interested in passing the buck of responsibility to the next woman since “they aren’t talking about us,” because essentially you are talking about ALL of us collectively.  We find it incredibly dangerous that you use your power as a tool in which to perpetuate disrespect and violence against women, and furthermore, acceptance of that behaviour. Please be aware that this affects both women and men alike.

We ask you the following questions, gentlemen:
  • 1) Are you prepared to be implicated in the rape and continued abuse of women as a result of your words?
  • 2) As sons, brothers of sisters and fathers of daughters do you not see the inherent flaw in vocalizing your predatory mindset about women?
  • 3) What has led you to believe that we are not capable or worthy of making decisions about what is best for us?
  • 4) What about reducing us down to a “wet hole” validates you?
In light of the seriousness of your statements, we believe an immediate public apology is in order. Please issue one today, so that the negative repercussions of your actions might be reduced and those who wish to support you can begin and/or continue doing so.

Your Female Audience


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