Being a social media addict, rarely does a day go by that I don’t observe a debate or conversation regarding the attitudes of Black men towards Black women. Usually some clown says something about skin preference, why they don’t date Black women or simply about what Black women do or don’t do. It happened the other day on my Twitter Timeline.
In my experience, this happens so often that you sort of become immune to it. I couldn’t even tell you specifically what this particular argument was about. But for some reason, the interaction wouldn’t leave my mind. It just so happened that a few minutes later I turned on Pandora and came across “Hip-Hop Hooray” by Naughty By Nature. As a kid of the 90s, I’ve heard the song countless times, but a part of the lyrics I’d never paid much attention to caught my attention.
“I love Black Women always/Ain’t disrespectin’ no way/Let’s start a family today…“
Chewing on Treach’s words, I typed the lyric into my phone and posted it on Twitter followed by the hashtag- #LyricsYoullNeverHearAgain. Those eleven words got me wondering, where are the songs uplifting Black women these days?
“And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our women? Why we rape our women? Do we hate our women? I think it’s time to kill for our women. Time to heal our women, be real to our women.”
The lyrics above were penned by the late Tupac Shakur in his hit “Keep Your Head Up”. His 1993 ode to women stands the test of time as one of the most unapologetic pro-women songs in a genre that is often noted for its misogynistic lyrics . Unfortunately, it is one of the few major hit records in hip-hop history that uplift women, particularly Black Women.
Now to be fair, 2Pac also had his share of less favorable female characters in this music (see All About U). But at least there seemed to be some type of attempt at balance. I know it’s unrealistic to expect all hip-hop songs to be void of derogatory terms and messages directed to and at women, but it would be nice to see more empowering and positive lyrics directed at women of color.