When the Beat Slaps, but the Artist Does Too

I debated whether or not to write this, but I couldn’t keep quiet. I decided to wait until all the hype had died down and given everyone a chance to rid themselves of a reactive, defensive mindset. Males that rap and garner mainstream success are elevated to a Godlike status. Why is mindless lyrics overlaid on a catchy beat enough for men to live without repercussion? Recently, the song “Mo Bamba” by Sheck Wes has taken off. Even my southern, conservative University was blasting Mo Bamba throughout the stadium during a recent home football game. I’m not gonna lie, Mo Bamba “slaps.” The opening lines are almost like a war chant. There’s not a college kid alive that hasn’t screamed “I got hoes….” at the top of their lungs. Sure, it hasn’t made the floor of an apartment collapse like Faneto did, but “it’s provocative, it gets the people going.”

Recently, a singer by the name of Justine Skye named Sheck Wes as her domestic abuser, and that sent twitter into a frenzy. Yes, Justine Skye has tweeted out some questionable things, but that doesn’t nullify all the pain and emotions she went, and is probably still, going through as a result of her abuse. These accusations polarized twitter. On one hand, there were people ready to delete Mo Bamba off their playlists and calling for Sheck’s neck; on the other, and might I point out more popular, hand, people came to Sheck’s defense stating they would continue to stream Mo Bamba, Live Sheck Wes, and other songs off of Mudboy.

This willingness to ignore abuse because someone makes /good/ music is ingrained in our society, and it’s wrong. From R. Kelly to XXXtentacion, males are given a pass for abuse because they can carry a tune. Conservatives love to point out that rap music is degrading to women due to the use of words like “hoe, slut” or visuals of naked women in music videos, but rap, like society at large, is degrading to women because the safety, well-being, and abuse of women are ignored. Yes, innocent until proven guilty is the law of our land, but when it comes to the abuse of women, it’s physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially excruciating for victims to come forth and seek justice due to the control, policing, and demonization of the bodies of women. It’s statistically less likely for a victim to be lying about abuse, yet there is this constant, false sense of fear that women are lying about sexual, physical, and other forms of violence. This illusion is used to gaslight women and justify why abusers experience light, if any, consequences and are allowed to go on with their lives as usual. Y’all still stream their songs, watch their videos, go to their concerts and put money in their abusive pockets; this apathy towards the serious transgressions of your “favs” (and men in general)  has definitely contributed to why very few women report abuse in the first place.

Your “fav” making /great/ music doesn’t excuse their abuse. When we continue to choose and immortalize these abusive males, we ostracize, isolate, and belittle women. This isn’t to say that women aren’t abusive towards men (or even other women), but there’s a disproportionate amount of women being abused by men, and we’re too grown to “all lives matter” this situation in an attempt to shirk the responsibility that you, and I, have played (and might still, unfortunately, be playing) in creating a society where abusers aren’t taken seriously and victims are ignored. You can always re-vamp your music career, but you can never un-abuse a woman, and we as a society need to understand that and act accordingly.