Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jay-Z Drops The B-Word After Having A Daughter. Yay! And....?

i am glad that Jay-Z is quite literally taking this baby step towards accountability, and i'm sure this will have some ripple in hip hop community around fatherhood/manhood and misogyny... but he's gonna also have to swear not to have scantilly clad women depicted as brainless objects decorating his videos as well, and use his influence to send healthy messages to our children. his daughter may not hear him say b, but can still learn that she is supposed to be an object for male pleasure, and that her appearance is more important than her soul and intellect from his videos.

I also wonder what Beyoncé thinks about the fact that for however long as she and Jay-Z have been married, it took the birth of their daughter for him to make this step. What does that make her?

Tricia Rose breaks it down for really real, in a commentary in the Guardian.

Sean Carter, who performs under the name Jay-Z, has apparently vowed never again to use the word bitch in the wake of the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. And while I celebrate and congratulate his new fatherhood, this vow didn't impress me.

It doesn't begin to address his role in contributing to and profiting from the global power of a hyper-sexist brand of hip-hop masculinity. I need to hear quite a bit more about how he feels about this legacy and its impact on millions of black girls and boys before getting all teary-eyed.

Sure, hip-hop didn't invent sexism, nor has it been the only musical genre to profit from promoting it. The vast territory that is popular music is a treasure trove of sexist ideas and images. And it is also true that racist, rightwing critics have targeted hip-hop as a way to continue the demonisation of black men while remaining silent on countless other sexist images, sounds and stories that define US culture.

also, Lisa Belkin from the Huffington Post brilliantly explores how "Jay-Z is not the first man to realize he has been a misogynistic jerk only after he has a daughter", chronicling stuff like male CEOs who decide to close the gap between higher paid male employees and female employees by a few more fractions of a percentage. She hilariously starts out her piece asking the question: "Ladies, do you feel more respected this morning?"

Well, i'm glad that at least its starting some good dialogue.


Update: Jay-Z says to New York Daily News "that poem and that story are fake." The UK Star editors however stick to their story saying that "It is not made up or fictitious at all. We bought the interview from a reporter in the U.S. who conducted the interview with Beyonce before the birth." The Huffington Post reports.

Wonder if an iota of introspection occurred with this very influential couple around this rumor. Best celebrity hoax ever. I'm still glad that it started some good dialogue.


NinaG said...

I'm so confused by this whole Jay-Z story. I hear the poem originally circulated is false. Did he actually say he would drop the b-word or was this based on the poem?

Even if he didn't make the statement; I think this idea of the birth of daughters impacting men in this way is interesting. I don't know how I'd feel if I was the wife of a man who had an epiphany to respect women after I give birth to our daughter...hmmm LOL

richard said...

hey NinaG, thanks for stoppin by- i gotta say, if the poem circulated is false, then this is the BEST celebrity hoax i've ever heard!! the reinvigorated dialogue it has started about misogyny in hip hop is one thing, but... what would Jay Z do?? hold a press conference and say "the poem is false, and i fully intend to keep calling women b*****s." woy!

and i agree, the idea of men having daughters impacting mens sensibilities on gender equality is very interesting. i've had an interaction with a brotha on this blog who was being pretty heterosexist until i asked if he had a daughter and if he wants her to be regarded in the same way. he immediately shifted and instead of warring against me asked for advice and how he could become a better, more feministically inclined man. wow. i'm still puzzled because most men have mothers, aunties, sisters, cousins, etc... why does it take having a daughter? because they can see themselves in her?

re: "I don't know how I'd feel if I was the wife of a man who had an epiphany to respect women after I give birth to our daughter..." I'M SAYIN!! that's like me marrying a white woman who decided to stop calling black people the n-word after we had a child!! feel me?? LOL!!

SeBiArt said...

I guess mothers don't factor, or wives and sisters. Funny that it takes a daughter to inspire a re-examination of one's misogynistic behaviour. Changes will appear real only in those who have already been influenced in this culture to take a look at the women who are already in their lives and start showing respect there for starters.

Yeah - not impressed either frankly. And sad too that it's not just on him - as Miss Beyonce - tho since her days with Destiny's child has mainly focused her music messages on female independence and girl power, she's done so while touting herself as plastically as is humanly possible in a complete and utterly manufactured and remanufactured (exponentially throughout her career) the barbie doll-tiny waisted-voluptuous-faked out nails and lace front weave upgraded-perfectly rehearsed Suzuki/Noh version of a western beauty complete with stock gestures and expressions- all saying if you don't look like this bitches, good luck to ya! How is she going to explain that? Entertaining as it has been for us, and thus lucrative as it has been for them, they've worked well together in creating a theater of misogyny that will be hard to undo or explain to their own child let alone back track and shift the message for the MILLIONS who know them.

I like their music for the fun of it - I can't lie - but I get the point of this thoroughly...

Great post.

richard said...

hi five fi dem comment deh SeBiArt. for real. as some one posted on my facebook 'because his daughter is the first girl born - ever' ha!

points on Beyonce well taken. whether this is a hoax or not, i would be very curious to hear a live response (not a letter written by a publicist) on this issue. Both are now literally father and mother figures, and yes while Beyoncé has sung about female independence and power, she represents so many other tiny boxes that women, black women are supposed to fit in.

glad to see you here :)

NinaG said...

ha! I think the white woman who stops using the n-word after birthing a black child is a great analogy. I might have to use that in conversations about dealing with prejudices in relationships

And I think Jay Smooth said the same thing about the hoax. It would be really awkward for Jay-Z to have to clarify if he's going to keep using the b-word. And I agree that is the best hoax. I'm sure it made both parents think (or at least I hoped it did).

That's an interesting story about the interaction you had on your blog. I confronted my own father (who I love very much. I'm def a daddy's girl) about his misogyny. I asked him how would he feel if my husband treated me in way that shows he has no respect for me b/c of my gender. He still wouldn't budge. So fear not! There are some men with daughters who stand strong in their backwards thinking.