This post originally appeared on 04/03/2015 on Vibe.com
Since its birth, rap music has been to blame for the influx of disrespect towards women, especially black women.
The degrading lyrics that flow over the most critically-acclaimed beats and make us sway our hips and chant out-loud are the same words that men, of all races, use to demean us [women] and strip us of our value. But is that really the truth?
I have personally been called a “bitch” to my face, and surprisingly more times from women than the usual suspect of men. Either as a term of endearment, “bitch, I love you” or as fighting words, “it’s on, bitch!” But it seems as though the word that is defined as a female dog has become one to define a generation of young women and girls who affectionately refer to themselves and their friends as “bitch.” The cultural paradox leads us to believe that on one hand, we shouldn’t allow men to refer to us as bitches while rap music, in particular, showers us with the word bitch as the highest status a woman can reach just shy of being someone’s wife.
In urban vernacular, “my bitch” does not mean ones cock-less pitbull. It means the closest woman, aside from his mother, to a man. For instance, Biggie’s “Me and My Bitch,” Ja Rule’s “Down Azz Bitch,” and even Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “That’s My Bitch,” all come to mind when I think of my favorite rap tunes that describe a man’s love for his lady. And the crazy thing is I don’t skip a beat, blink an eye, or think of it’s disrespectful nature when I rap along to these songs.
More recently, women have embraced “bitch” as a good thing to be. Be it a “bad bitch,” a “rich bitch” or a “boss ass bitch,” being called a bitch isn’t the lemon juice in the eye sting that it once was. It seems to only become a problem today, depending on the context it’s used in. If you’re in an argument with your man, and he says, “bitch, it’s over,” then it’s disrespectful. However, if the neighborhood gossip calls you and says, “Bitch, guess what I heard?”, do you lecture her on her lack of respect and honor for you? Or do you hold out your mug and let her spill the tea?