Earlier this month, you might have heard that rapper Nicki Minaj pulled out of a concert — a massive, annual summer music showcase that is kind of a big deal. The short version of the events: a deejay for the stations hosting the festival clowned Nicki’s single “Starships” as not being real hip-hop. Nicki took offense, and Lil’ Wayne, the head of her record label, pulled all Cash Money artists from the concert lineup. People were ticked, especially the management and deejays at the radio station, and Wayne left Nicki to handle the fall out alone by not publicly commenting on this fiasco — until Monday in an interview with MTV News.
His explanation for his decision blew my mind — and you know that’s hard to do.
“I don’t know what anyone else believes, but I believe females deserve the ultimate respect at all times no matter, when or where or how,” Wayne said in the interview. “I feel like a woman’s supposed to be respected at all times, therefore I believe I made the right decision.”
The concert’s long over, what’s done is done and everyone who cared seems to have moved on, including me. But I take issue with the hypocrisy of his statement about women being respected. Of course, it’s the right thing to say and do, and the sentiment sounds lovely, but Wayne’s one of the last people I see actually respecting women.
I get that Wayne made “How to Love,” a heartfelt song empathizing with the struggles women go through in relationships. And I acknowledge that he seems to be an attentive father to all of his children by different women, two of which were pregnant by him at the same time. But he’s also best known for littering his music with raunchy lyrics about women, praising “red” girls and thus deriding darker hues, consistently dropping B-bombs and using “hoe” as a synonym for woman.
In case you’re thinking that he’s had a sudden change of heart and his latest quote is a sign he’s trying to do better, I’ll ask you to consider his latest single, which began making the rounds in the last week, “Throw That D***.” The accompanying dance move is a man violently thrusting his nether regions while waving his hands in a butt-slapping motion on an imaginary woman.
Some call what Wayne does entertainment — and, in some senses, it is. The beats are hot and his word-play is the stuff English majors drool over. Still, I find most of what he shills is a part of a sexist pathology, one that many men succumb to. There’s this prevalent idea among some men that women you know — mothers, daughters, other relatives and sister-friends — are worthy of respect, but everyone else without male anatomy can get irrelevantly thrown under the bus and backed up over without a second thought.
What Wayne and others seem not to get is that all those women that are casually called “b****es” and “hoes” are also sisters, daughters, mothers and sister-friends to someone else. And they are actually worthy of respect, too — not just when it’s a convenient excuse to get out of a tight spot, but consistently in deed and lyrics and action as well.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk