Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting Religion

So, I heard a report this morning that Jay-Z has had a come-to-Jesus moment about the "B-word"; since having his newborn daughter, he's decided that he should stop calling women b--ch in his music. I'm going to go ahead and assume that he's not going to use the word in his conversation either (although I could still use some convincing on this point). Isn't that nice?

Of course, the news reporter asked, "If he's not using the b-word, what is he going to call his wife?" It was, of course, a joking play on Beyonce's name, but I thought it was actually an appropriate comment. If he loves his wife, why in the world did it not occur to him to stop calling women b--ch before now? Isn't she somebody's daughter? Couldn't he see womanhood in his wife and conclude that using that word was a bad idea? He says he won't allow anyone to disrespect his precious daughter. Lovely. 'Cause all those other women? They're not anybody's daughter. That's why it's okay to call them out of their names. Right?

I started to think, well, maybe he's getting older and maturing. That's happened to other rappers. Age brings a clarity that was missing before. But then, I thought, "Isn't he, like, old?" Well, old for a rapper. Even accounting for boys' alleged lag in maturity, he should have gotten it together by now.

Then, I started to think, well, everyone is changed in fundamental ways by having a child. They see the world through new ideas. They take fewer chances. They pay more attention. But then, I thought, "Don't you just write a book about your life?" Didn't that process offer some opportunity for self-reflection? And have you been deaf for the last twenty years? Thoughtful, bright, culturally aware people have been making the case for hip-hop to censor itself, especially with regard to its sexism and misogyny. Even accounting for new-parent epiphanies, he should have engaged this debate before.

In short, I'm not impressed by this epiphany. I think it's as silly as naming your child after your favorite color.


Ink said...

Such a good question re: Beyonce! Why didn't he think of it with regard to his wife? Harrumph.

heu mihi said...

Love this post. To only come to this realization when HE has a daughter--um, self-centered much?