Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Lil’ Wayne and 50 Cent Degrade Black Women by Lauren Bailey Roach
Getty Images/ Astrid Stawiarz
...and we thought the days of men degrading women were over.
In a recent episode of Lil Wayne’s Young Money Radio on Apple Music, 50 Cent made the following controversial comments regarding black women:
“They get mad. They get angry. You see a lot of sisters go, ‘You f**k with this kind of girl and that kind of girl?’ That s**t is exotic! That s**t look a lot different than the s**t you see in the neighborhood all of the time. That s**t look like it came off a boat.”
Fans were disappointed and offended by the remarks, accusing both rappers of being disrespectful to black women. One fan said, “I’m so sick of black men making it seem like black women are jealous of women of other races. We don’t care if you want something ‘exotic’ or ‘foreign’. But there is no need to disrespect us. Especially when black women are the ones in the streets fighting for you.”
Is this the widespread opinion regarding black men’s approach to black women? Dr. Robert Woodbine and Mr. Mathew Barnwell think differently.
Dr. Robert J. Woodbine is a retired licensed Naturopathic Doctor and current Taijiquan and Qigong certified instructor through Urban Qui FIT. He states four points as to why these comments were inappropriate, as well as the reason that misogyny is still a deep-rooted issue that continually affects women today. “These are some thoughts from a brother who loved his Mom, Granny, and loves his granddaughters.”
“First, Black women are not monolithic. The ‘they’ these men refer to might legitimately be the women that they have encountered in their personal experiences, but to use this public platform to make those claims seems to amplify and generalize their perspectives, and broad stroke paint ‘all’ black women as being angry.
Second, part of the underlying problem is the inherited misogynistic attitude men have toward women in general in this culture. The so-called gangsta culture in rap music is imbued and buoyed by misogyny and influences inappropriate interactions between men and women—where women, especially Black and Latina women, are objectified.
Third, we pay way too much attention to celebrity status in our culture and, therefore, are easily distracted by the comments of someone whose opinion doesn’t matter in the larger scope of things.
Lastly, exotic off the boat? Like auction-block ready exotic? African women have been there, and done that, under the cruel and heartless control and hunger of Europeans who controlled their bodies and their children’s bodies to satisfy their lust and build this nation’s enterprise. So, perhaps in the epigenetic recesses of her soul, the black woman who is angry today is justified. Maybe her cells are calling out an ancestral sense of abandonment by black men who objectify her. Maybe she’s the herald declaring that no woman, however exotic, need be lusted after.”
Matthew D. Barnwell, CEO of PrivateBoyProductions LLC, is a producer, singer, and songwriter. As an artist in the music industry, he is not surprised by these comments but has taken a stand with a counter opinion on the situation. “As a black man, hearing my fellow brothers calling my black sisters angry has always been a tired cliché. Black women aren't angry; passionate seems to be a more fitting description. Passionate about who they are and the color of their skin—which is why they may come off as 'angry' when talking to black men who strictly date different races other than their own. In reality, they only want to see better for our brothers. They are aware that so many black women are discriminated against by internal racism and misogyny within the black community. These issues make them want to antagonize problems head-on so that black men stop publicly denouncing their intimacy for black women, and teach black men to accept that it's okay to date within their community and still have fun. This passion inside of black women has come from years of having to learn how to love their kinky hair, denounce stereotypes, and fight the oppression from systematic institutionalism. Instead of making disrespectful comments towards our women, we must uplift them so that they know that their black will forever be beautiful.”
Dr. Nicole Christian-Brathwaite, MD, is a child/adolescent and adult psychiatrist, and the founder and CEO of Wells Minds Consulting Company. Her expertise in psychiatry helps her recognize the psychological effects of internalized racism and self-hate that contributed to 50 Cent’s comments. “The angry black woman stereotype was created as another method to silence and oppress black women. It restricts a black woman’s ability to express her emotions, or simply feel what everyone else is allowed to feel. The angry black woman stereotype is one of the many negative stereotypes that we are taught about black people, beginning in childhood. Internalized racism and self-hate develop as a result of complex and pervasive systems of racism and oppression that promote white supremacy and black inferiority. Black people need to be reminded of their excellence, beauty, gracefulness, and strength. Images of European standards of beauty surround us, so black women have to be intentional about acknowledging that they are exceptional and magical. This is why promoting self-love with slogans like Black Girl Magic and Black Boy Joy is essential. We have to combat both externalized oppression and internalized bias.”
Black women, this one is to you. While some choose to tear you down, a whole community has your back to show support and remind you of how cherished you are. Dr. Woodbine, Mr. Barnwell, and Dr. Christian-Brathwaite are three of the many who are unafraid to stand up against disrespect and show love to the black women in their lives, in this nation, and across the world.