Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just Say No...to Ignorance

The DQ has sworn off rap music within the last few years.  OK, not actually sworn off, but I've become so disinterested that I may as well have sworn off of it.

I don't know if it's cuz I'm in my 30s now, but rap music to me just sounds like misogyny, violence, and vulgarity (particularly of the sexual kind).  It seems as if every rap song has these, so to me, they're all pretty much the same.  Every rap song has at least one of these basic lines:
  1. "I'm better than you cuz I drive a Bentley and own tons of diamond and gold jewelry".
  2. "Girl, we just met, but let me take you back to my house so we can have sex all night".
  3. "We had sex, but don't mistake that for love.  I plan to have sex with a different girl tomorrow night".
  4. "Talk negatively about me, and I'll beat you up...or worse".
Once in a while, a song will have lyrics that are totally offensive to a certain group of people.  For example, in an episode of last season of Love & Hip-Hop, a female rapper refused to collaborate with a male rapper on a song that had a line that stated that light-skinned people were better than dark-skinned people.  Good for her...and good for everyone else that spoke up about it.

I hadn't even thought about this subject until yesterday.  Backtrack a little...I was at the mall on Sunday.  I was looking for a gray cardigan (under $25) to purchase with a $25 Gap gift card I received from the Visa Signature rewards program (do NOT open a Wells Fargo Visa Signature card, and if you have one, close it immediately--they are NOT on the customer's side--and yes, I will close mine, as soon as the 0% APR period expires for me).  I didn't find anything that fit the bill at Banana Republic, so I walked back to The Gap, which was on my way back to my car.

I had about a hundred thoughts running through my head, when to my left, I see a group of about 6 young African-American men, all dressed similarly, in long-sleeved T-shirts, sneakers, and jeans.  I recognized one of them, but wasn't sure where I'd seen him.  I did a double-take (this type of thing happens really quickly) and figured out who he was.  He was Drake! 
 (image from graphicshunt.com)
I knew nothing about Drake except for the duet he did with Rihanna (which, surprise-surprise, was a very sexual song) and the fight he got into in a New York nightclub with Chris Brown (supposedly over Rihanna). 
This being LA, you'd think people would be so used to celebrities that the celebrities would be pretty much left alone (the paparazzi is another story).  For the most part, Drake was.  No one really so much as blinked an eye, save for a group of  4 teenage girls trailing behind him.  For a split second, I thought about approaching him and asking for an autograph or a picture to show my friends, but thought better of it and headed straight to the Gap so I could do what I went there for and go home.  At that point, my goal was to get home before 6, not have something to tweet about (I don't have a twitter account anyway).  What was a celebrity doing in a suburban mall on a Sunday?  This mall has seen its share of celebrities, but they usually shop on a weekday morning wearing sunglasses or big hats and do not wander around. 
I decided to share my story with my co-workers when we all returned to work yesterday.  One of them, a 59-year-old woman, said she recognized Drake.  Not for his saucy lyrics, but for something that I think is much worse.  She told me about a recent story which involved a conflict he had with the actress Holly Robinson Peete.  I know this is "old" news by now, but I hadn't heard of it until yesterday.  Apparently, in a song in which Drake collaborated with another rapper, J. Cole, an offensive reference to people with autism was made. 
I do not take kindly to this.  I spent 4 years working with children with autism, and I must say that the stories parents publish about children with autism having special gifts is very true.  I treasured the time I spent with these children, and to this day, I look back at it fondly.  It was a truly rewarding experience.  Not only that, but it's just plain wrong to marginalize this population.  Someone like Drake who has the power to influence young people who are in the process of developing into (hopefully responsible) adults really should be more careful and considerate.  I don't understand how John Galliano gets kicked out of high fashion and humiliated all over the world for verbalizing slurs against Jews, but rappers can make similar slurs against other groups and hardly feel a sting.  Neither John Galliano's nor Drake's and J. Cole's actions are right, so why are the punishments so out of proportion?  Yes, Drake and J. Cole apologized, but so did Galliano.
Boy, I'm really glad that I didn't give Drake even an ounce of my time or effort.  Not that he cares or even knows, but I somewhat protested in my own way, and I'm glad I did.  And I'm glad he didn't cause a scene that involved hundreds of people like the one I witnessed that involved Victoria Beckham in Barneys a few years ago.  He just doesn't deserve the attention.

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