Jay-Z Still Big Pimping

So it turns out that the rumors of Jay-Z dropping "bitch" from his vocabulary are utterly false. Leaving aside the thin empathy underlying this alleged "Come to Wollstonecraft" moment, I'm not really disappointed. I think reducing misogyny to the usage of the word "bitch" misses the point--and then in some way's it really is the point. I don't know that hip-hop is any more sexist than other art-forms that takes boys and young men as its primary audience, and is generally created by boys and young men. I don't think hip-hop has anything on comic books or video games, for instance. It's true that hip-hop is more profane than any of those other art-forms--but it's more profane about everything, not just gender. 

I understand the focus on the word "bitch," given its particular history and usage. But we should mindful of reductionism for reasons both political and artistic. There is a whole school of thought that holds racism is impossible unless attended by the word "nigger." And there are plenty of ways to regard a women as bitches, without ever saying the word. 

Finally, I have never wanted a world where white people were forever banned from using the word nigger. That's not really the point. All words exist in a context. Rap's "bitch" problem has never been about the word itself, but the context in which it's regularly used.

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In