I am his fiend.
The first step to overcoming an addiction is admitting that you have one. In order to rid oneself of addiction, one must declare it. My name is Fire Burgess and I am a diehard fan of misogynistic Rap music. I am a prisoner who is currently suffering from a Musical Stockholm Syndrome. I am a brainwashed Rap music fan with the ability to end the addiction , yet I choose to remain in this one-sided, 'never will I be as high as the first time' relationship. I have made endless excuses for my addiction to this drug for almost as long as I have been addicted. After every hit ends I am in search of money in order to purchase the next hit.
I am his bitch.
I met Rap in elementary school way before I understood what the word 'bitch' meant. Rap pulled on my pigtails in class and pushed me into the sandbox at recess while dirtying my dungarees. His invasive approach to friendship was everything my parents warned me about when choosing acquaintances. His swagger and 'I could care less' attitude kept me wide awake every night wondering what tricks he would pull the next day in school. I anticipated arriving to school (the radio), each day in order to be taunted by this beautiful, rambunctious, fearless, abrasive yet melodious creature. We fast became friends. My formerly established bff's , Soul and R&B, were none too pleased with the time I spent fawning over Rap. Eventually Soul and R&B accepted Rap into our circle. Realizing that all of us were in love and this relationship could benefit each significant partner.
I am his victim.
The years I have spent with Rap have given me a beautiful and unmatched euphoric high when I am not being subjected to his berating, misogynistic and murderous lows. I have discovered that the beautiful music I fell in love with and allowed to captivate and contain me for the last 30 years, has turned on me and I am currently 'sleeping with the enemy.' He has beaten and betrayed me. Rap has purchased an expensive new sports car in order to catch a much younger, greener version of me. His betrayal has caused him to ignore the gorgeous children we made together during our lifelong relationship.
I am his hoe.
The victim should never blame themselves. But at what point does the victim's insistence at remaining a couple make the relationship dually abusive? Rap music has reached its nadir, a point I formerly believed to be unachievable. I am an educated, intelligent woman and I know when a rapper says "bitch or hoe" in a song that he is not talking to me, I am neither. Yet, I am a bitch and hoe. I am a hoe for an art form that has no respect for me because I keep supporting and encouraging his bad habits by purchasing his product. After 30+ years of support, I have discovered that my favorite form of escapism has no regard for my own gender's safety, advancement and well being. The only regard that Rap respects is monetary.
I am his example.
If rock and roll can change earth and behavior, rap can and did as well. In one of the most beautiful ways you can imagine, rap music changed earth, rap music changed me. Rap was created out of a need for disenfranchised and impoverished people to be heard. This creating granted these oppressed people a never heard before boombastic medium for their angst. The birth of Rap also provided a voice to humanity's historical and ever present misogynistic thoughts and behaviors. The majority of these voices came from oppressed black males. Hip hop was created for by and for the oppressed, yet it grew into a tool for the oppression of women used by the previously oppressed. Ironic.
Like Rick Ross, I have apologized. I have made apologies to myself and my gender for rapper's utter disrespect for a large majority of its supporters. Like Rick Ross, I have lost endorsements. My endorsements have been ethical, yet they have tarnished the image of my gender's brand. They have subliminally encouraged the average man to view and treat women as sex objects purely created for their own enjoyment.
Freedom of speech is probably the most important element of the American Constitution. Freedom of speech within art is not only important it is the bedrock. I never would want to dictate what an artist can and cannot say. Yet, I will no longer support products that have rappers using rape culture as a means of lyrical amusement.
(This article is one in a series of many where I will be exploring the attempted murder of urban music by the music industry and its artists.)