This post examines the hypocrisy of a society when David Letterman and Jamie Foxx have to apologize to a Willow Palin or Mylie Cyrus but then allows the most vile lyrics to be spewed everyday on radio and TV that speaks about girls in a more heinous fashion. David Letterman recently apologized for his comments about Governor Sarah Palin’s 14-year old daughter Willow getting knocked up by Alexander Rodriguez. Before he made his apology, there were at least 2,000 people who were going to be protesting at one of his show tapings and many others said they would never watch the show again. It was obviously a commendable act on David Letterman’s part, however, I was amazed by the societal hypocrisy of this situation. Every single day, we produce music and television programming that degrades young women and women in general, but we never say anything until a celebrity child is attacked.
All we have to do is turn on the radio and we can hear songs such as teen star Soulja Boy’s “Superman that ho.” This song has been played everywhere from professional sports games and breast cancer runs to elementary school academic success ceremonies and major news network breaks. Why are there no apologies to young girls in general for these messages? It appears that you have to be famous in order to receive an apology for misogyny directed at you. This was also the case for Jamie Foxx, who had disparaging “comedic” comments for “Hannah Montana” star Mylie Cyrus. He had to call her and apologize. I understand that we live in a world based on class but I simply believe that we need to show that we value all of our girls.
As I was driving home this morning, I saw signs on a bus for the upcoming BET Awards. The ad said “Recognizing Genius” with names like Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West being paraded. While as an artist I of course respect their talents, I couldn’t help but think of lyrics from Kanye saying:
If I can go through all of this and still be breathin’
Bitch bend over, I’m here for a reason.
Or Lil’ Wayne’ when he said:
You catch my gal legs open betta smash that
Don’t be surprise if she ask where the cash at
I see she wearing them jeans that show her butt crack
My girls can’t wear that why, that’s where my stash at
I put my mack down that’s where you lack at
She need her candlelit and I’ma wax that
It’s one thing for this work to be created, but why does it have to be called “genius”? What message do we send to the young Chris Browns and Rihannas when we tell them this is not only acceptable but Grammy worthy? While our young students come to school every day, of all races and classes, l ask myself how it is that we can keep celebrating misogyny until something is said about then teen Chelsea Clinton or now Willow Palin. Do we think that our girls who are coming to schools everyday and devaluing themselves don’t realize that our entire society has recognized them as hoes, bitches, rollers, sluts, etc. based on the way we reward those who produce such filth?
I wonder how many people who condemned Foxx or Letterman turned on the radio and bopped their head to one of the aforementioned songs or one similar or said nothing when it played at their gym. I wonder how many “upper class” parents went home and chuckled as their 4 year old showed she could shake her butt like Beyoncé. All this can be done because at the end of the day most people will just say blame the parents, even though it has been documented that our pension companies, banks, and other institutions are all linked to the entertainment industry. Don’t we all really share the blame?
The lesson I learn (again) from this Palin/Letterman fiasco is that only those who are of means matter in this society. We will only take offense when one of our own who made it to the top is attacked. When the Don Imus situation occurred, we should have used it as a lesson to say that we all disrespect women but we turned it into a “He said ‘˜ho’ but I say ‘˜bitch’ so it’s OK” or “She says ‘nigger’ but I say ‘nigga’ so it’s OK” debate and then it all just went away. It
just goes away while more and more girls are devalued every day. I guess the next great debate will arrive when someone says something nasty about Obama’s daughters. Until then, keep singing along with Soulja Boy, Kanye, and Weezy. Then keep singing after the next controversy blows over too.