Beyond the hashtag, do we really protect Black women?
Spoiler Alert: We don’t protect Black women like we should.
Shortly after the news broke on Twitter, someone tweeted that we should “pray for Kodak.” Although people rightfully called out the post, it symbolized this sentiment that anti-rape activists fight against: protect the men accused of egregious acts of violence against girls and women.
However, when Spotify took down R. Kelly’s music, Lamar rushed to Kelly’s defense, threatening to take his own music down if they didn’t put R. Kelly’s music back on the platform. As a result, R. Kelly’s music is still up, and he is still reaping a profit from his highly questionable lyrics.
Like the tweet, Lamar’s actions are in support of rape culture. Instead of holding abusive men accountable, they “pray for them” and protect them. But what about the women these men are harming?
RELATED: RWEBEL RADIO 206 – “SPEAK NOW”
While I agree that the system is set up against Black men, there must be some form of accountability for abusive Black men. That he was able to have his record wiped says something. That many of my “friends” took his side says something. That the case was dropped due to inadequate policing says something.
To the latter point, I want to say this: abolish the police.
Oftentimes when we bring up abolition, police apologists will say, “What about the rapists and abusers? What will happen to them if we abolish the police?” Well, it will be the same as before – nothing will happen. After all, many abusers are in uniform. Moreover, justice for rape victims goes beyond policing.
There are endless possibilities on what “justice” means, and jail is not one of them. Nonetheless, accountability is. Going back to Kodak Black and Kendrick Lamar, I want to address this culture of silencing in Hip Hop that has affected women in the industry.
Many people comment on Lil Kim’s skin bleaching and nose surgery, but they neglect to acknowledge the colorism and abuse she faced. In 2000, she told Newsweek, “All my life men have told me I wasn’t pretty enough—even the men I was dating… It’s always been men putting me down just like my dad.”
Barnes and Lil Kim have one thing in common: being Black women. When you look at the statistics, it seems that Black women experience violence at higher rates than other groups of women. According to Ayana Wallace, a training specialist at Ujima, Inc., “41% of Black women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes.”
Wallace’s last point relates to a larger call to action: protect Black women. In real life, this oftentimes feels like a catchy phrase for Instagram captions, rather than a practice people actively participate in.
Wallace said, “I think getting connected and getting informed are the first steps to engaging in this work. There is an entire learning and unlearning process that will begin to happen with folks who are dedicated to supporting and protecting Black women and the Black community as a whole. A lot of self-work and reflections needs to happen.” ~ℝ
JAVANNA PLUMMER, RWEBEL IN CHIEF
Javanna is the editor of “Rwebel Magazine,” the architect behind “Rwebel Radio,” and the pioneering force of “Xscape.” Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion and forward-thinking