Trigger Warning: mentions of sexual assault and rape culture.
Twitter is not a safe space for Black women. This week, rapper Sukihana has been a trending topic for a distressing reason. While sitting with comedians Lil Duval, Funny Marco, and sports personality Buster Scher, rapper YK Osiris came behind Sukihana and kissed her without consent. She screamed, “Stop it!” and repeatedly moves away from the kiss, but Osiris persists. Twice, he is seen forcing a kiss onto her.
Yet, when the video reached social media, some responded negatively to it. One user tweeted that she was “definitely clout chasing” while another chalked it up to “celebrity culture.” The second user wrote, “When they sign that contract, this is what they sign up for. This is the price you pay for fame.”
In response, the original tweeter asked, “The price you pay for fame is to be sexually assaulted???” to which there was no response. In another tweet, a user said, “I mean she looked like she liked it.. uncomfortable or not any female woulda dismissed it ESPECIALLY cuz its infront of hella ppl.” These disgusting replies illustrate rape culture in full effect. Because of who Sukihana is and the music she makes, she is stripped of the right to consent.
Earlier in the week, another video went viral of her on Kandi Burruss’ podcast with DJ AONE. Throughout the show, DJ AONE makes several sexual advances at Sukihana, and she turns them down, but he continues to ask her to have sex with him. Then, as the interview progresses, he shows her his phone and says what appears to be “what do you think?”
Again, her consent was being violated on camera, and she was visibly uncomfortable. Yet, instead of checking her co-host, Burruss can be heard laughing profusely. Her actions and inaction demonstrate the complicity that other people play in perpetuating rape culture. Sadly, this is not the only time this month that a Black woman has been made to feel unsafe online.
Last week, a Home Depot employee went viral because men wanted to see her do sex work. After going viral, she was doxxed, and she had to leave her job. Following Sukihana’s assault, she deactivated her Twitter account. These examples elucidate the toxic landscape that has been cultivated on Twitter. Really, anything goes, and that’s the problem.
One Twitter user stated, “This is proof that black women aren’t protected,” and they couldn’t be more correct. The phrase “Protect Black women” feels like an empty call to action when we see real-time examples of Black women’s lives being affected by social media. We saw it with the therapists expressing boundaries, with the vlogger making a joke in jest, and with the ongoing treatment of Megan Thee Stallion following her 2020 shooting.
I even saw it myself when I made an offhand comment about J Cole and got called all types of “fat bitch” and told my vagina probably stinks. As we navigate harmful systems, Black women are victimized and traumatized on large scales with no repercussions for the one doing us harm. Then, it doesn’t help when rappers cower behind patriarchal norms.
This was true of Drake when he made the distasteful line about Megan Thee Stallion’s shooting. More recently, Meek Mill has rushed to YK Osiris’ defense, saying that Osiris is young and raised in a hypersexual culture. I’m sure this was the same excuse people used when Freaknik was happening, and women were being assaulted in broad daylight. The problem, it seems, is that older generations chalk it up to being young men and younger generations chalk it up to not knowing any better. When put together, it creates a pipeline to normalizing abuse. Then, the cycle rinses and repeats, and we are left victimized. It’s time to end that.