Sometimes it’s exhausting to see constant reminders in the media of how we disregard the cries of help from black women. This summer, Love and Hip Hop star, Tahiry Jose was physically assaulted on national television by her boyfriend Vado, on an episode of Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition. While she was talking, her rapper boyfriend got angry enough to put his hands on her. Even though social media was filled with outrage on her behalf, the reality of the situation is that she was still in a room full of other black men during her assault and nobody sprung up to help. Why do we normalize toxic relationships, and why do we not bat an eye when black women are assaulted, mistreated, or marginalized, especially in the hip hop community?
The genre of hip hop has always been an aggressive male-dominated form of expression, but not all hip hop is misogynistic. Queens rapper F.L.O.W. earned the perpetual ‘Big Brother’ title when he upheld a 90-day protest to protect a single black mother who was a victim of racial harassment. Media coverage swarmed the story as 2000 people came to stand in solidarity with this homeowner and the rapper who lead the charge.
“I believe we can be better at [protection], but I do think we are starting to move in the right direction,” says the local rapper who was not discouraged when the zeal of the people started to dwindle, and the protest wasn’t making headlines anymore. All he knew was that his work in protection was not done, and he was dedicated in protecting a black woman who did not feel safe in her own neighborhood. “We sat outside for 90 days and I feel like we accomplished a lot, but someone could see that and say; I could have used that when I was getting beat.”
When it comes to domestic violence and racial injustice, black women, unfortunately can be at the apex. This demographic is more susceptible to deal with these issues with little to no media coverage and it may feel like our male figures do not do much to help
At the #standwithJennifer protest, F.L.O.W. recounts a former friend of his male peers coming to support the cause, but that same friend got called out for being an abuser himself by a former girlfriend. The Learned From Lauryn rapper joked about being more interested in performing on stage than ‘performing activism.’ ‘Protecting black women’ shouldn’t just be an act or an echo chamber hashtag on Twitter. It should reign true in real life and our relationships.