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Kirsten West Savali: Would We Rather Jay-Z Still Said B*itch?

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By: Kirsten West Savali, Your Black World

So, after years of using derogatory language to describe women, Blue Ivy’s father, Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, has decided to immediately cease and desist using the word “B*itch” in honor of his new-born daughter, reports GlobalGrind.com

In a touching verse, he rhymes:

“Before I got in the game, made a change, and got rich,
I didn’t think hard about using the word Bitch.
I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it
now with my daughter in this world
I curse those that give it.
I never realized while on the fast track
that I’d give riddance to the word bitch, to leave her innocence in tact.
No man will degrade her, or call her out her name
the women won’t despise her and call her the same.
I know it’s gonna miss me
cuz we been together like Nike Airs and crisp tees
when we all used to hang out front
singing 99 problems but a lady ain’t one.
Excuse me miss, can I be your mister
cuz I can tell the difference from a little girl and a sister,
She never grew up, her father left her alone
I promise not to talk like we used to
until Kingdom Come.
I’m so focused on your future,
The degradation has passed
I wish you wealth, health, and insight
forever young you may pass.
Blue Ivy Carter, my angel.”

This is a good thing, right? An African-American man realizing the error of his ways, acknowledging his mistakes and moving forward with more class and dignity than he had previously shown?

Apparently not.

The public outcry has been vitriolic and the contempt palpable. Anger, sarcasm, bitterness, frustration and cynical humor have all been on full display across various media platforms — making this the biggest “Decision” since Lebron James took his talents to South Beach.

Jay-Z, his money, cash, hoes and his 99 problems have not been a secret. Beyond the shadow of a Reasonable Doubt, he has freely used the word, though never with as much frequency as, say, a Nicki Minaj or Little Kim. So, while I understand that people want to get their cynical eye-roll, neck-swivel and “Ha!” on, what I find troubling is there doesn’t seem to be a hint of understanding nor recognition at his growth.

Jay-Z is a rapper who has always spoken freely about his absentee father and his tutelage under pimps and hustlers. He has apparently learned to navigate the world on his own feet, and on his own terms. This is not an excuse for his sexist words, this is holding a mirror up to society, and outlining our role in it.

Misogyny did not begin with Jay-Z, it created Jay-Z.

Fatherhood changes men — sometimes for the better, and I think it’s extremely sad that we can’t appreciate this development for what it is — one more brother who through the birth of a child, finally understands what it means to be a man.

We debate back and forth about criminalization vs. rehabilitation in our prison system, and same rules apply here. Would we rather he continue to use the word “b*itch? Would we rather he stand stagnant? Would we rather he continue to influence the next generation with negative language, or would we rather he admit his faults publicly and promise to do better moving forward?

People are hell-bent on digging through crates to find every single time that he’s uttered the word “b*itch,” you know, just in case young Black girls missed it the first time. I would hope that we’re big enough as a people that we don’t play crabs in a barrel at every single opportunity; that we don’t pull a man who’s trying to elevate his cognition of the danger that can be found in words back into the dregs of his previous existence. Of course, let’s continue to hold him accountable — the damage he has caused did not evaporate with the birth of Blue Ivy, but let’s not hold him hostage to his past, while ridiculing his growth.

Ancestor El Hajj Malik el Shabazz (Malcolm X) convict, pimp, drug abuser turned activist, community leader and transcendent political figure, said that the most difficult thing to do in his life was to go back and untrain the masses that he had led to the Nation of Islam. He used his powerful rhetoric, hypnotic cadence and passionate belief to sway thousands into following the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He counted it as his biggest regret after founding the Organization of Afro-American Unity and Muslim Mosque, Inc and he dedicated his life to teaching us a new message, giving us a new song.

What if we hadn’t allowed Malcolm to grow? What if the NOI  had told conked-out, hustler Malcolm, “Brother you’re nothing but a street thug, don’t get all inspirational now.”

Is the name of the game to stifle Jay-Z’s growth as a man, or should it be to encourage him with hopes that as he continues to grow, so does the influence of his new message?

We ask these Hip-Hop artists to change then put our boots to their necks when they make the attempt. Character evolution and rehabilitation are good things people, and anyone who doesn’t think so is revealing a lot more about their character than Jay-Z ever did by uttering the word “b*itch.”

 

kirsten

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