Steve Harvey is not interested in empowering or protecting young women. Instead, he joins the likes of Tyler Perry, Tyrese and Chey B, who sit on their towering soap boxes making money off policing the lives and bodies of women. Write a book about young boys for once, Mr. Harvey, if you want to impress me; write a book about rape culture and the way we teach young men that women's bodies are trophies, objects, status symbols, commodities.
Not necessarily feeling all of the points the author made in the OP but I really feel this.
It's funny but in the past year or two I've also grown weary of the Brenda's Got A Baby type of songs. J. Cole (Lost Ones
), Kendrick Lamar (Keisha's Song
, No Make-Up
), and a host of other rappers have recently made songs that on the surface sound like a support of women, but almost all of them are about either protecting women from their own bodies or teaching a lesson via a morality drama where the woman is raped, killed, sometimes both.
They are well written and I think well intentioned songs, but they really sound like the 'policing of women's bodies' that the author spoke about, more to soothe the cognitive dissonance of sexually exploitive men than an actual message of substance for women.
And then I thought about all of the 'yay women' songs I've heard over the years from rappers, with something like Nas' Black Girl Lost serving as the template for such songs.
Damn near all of them, save for a few, like Talib Kweli's Four Women - though that song is based on a Nina Simone song, which may explain why the track isn't so malecentric - deal almost exclusively with a judgement of
promiscuity, or some kind of disgust at women being exploited...disgust that only seems to last the length of the track that they are preaching on.
I'm not immune to the guilt, which is why I think I notice it when I see it. It reminds me of the times when I'll get off to an extremely exploitive p0rno flick and then immediately feel guilty about it. "Damn girl, it's nut all OVA yo FACE. You too beautiful for that." And then clean myself up, washing my hands of it.
I think there is a balance men need to find on speaking of topics concerning women. I appreciate Shad's track 'Keep Shining
', particularly for the bars.
But also for the images of the video, where he is in the background not rapping, instead letting all of the words flow from the mouths of the women, helping to illustrate his point about not speaking for them.
Even if he is technically speaking for them - it's something that can't be avoided if he plans to speak at all - his message doesn't demand that the spotlight be on him. That's something that I don't usually see when these books or songs come out from a male author/artist. They typically want the entire dialogue filtered through their narrow viewpoint.
I agree that the books and movies by Tyreese, Steve Harvey, Tyler Perry, and songs from rappers that are supposed to be about women, speaking for them, yet capitalizing off their perceived but one-sided view of a woman's plight are not really helping anything. I agree that these men are more concerned with governing women than helping than, or better yet encouraging better male behavior.
I know some dislike him on here but I read Hill Harper's Letters to a Young Sister, and gave the book to my godsister. It's a book where he does speak a lot about a young woman's worth, but it's certainly not "don't have sex or he won't respect you," but more of "if he doesn't respect you after he has sex with you, then he probably has a low view of himself."
But what I appreciate most is he didn't stop at writing a book to young women, he also reached out and published books for young brothers and incarcerated men. His content itself is free to be critiqued on it's own merits but I think he's at least reached for the balance that I think men should take on these issues.
Anyway. I've had those thoughts about rap songs ever since I listened to and reviewed J. Cole's debut, but haven't had a chance to express them till now.