Way to Teach Ashley Judd a Lesson! Now, How Are We Better For It?

April 13, 2011  |  


It is painful to watch thousands of black women commit suicide everyday.  I’m not talking about the quick, shoot yourself, or take some pills kind of suicide; I mean the slow, agonizing death that comes with allowing ourselves to be degraded, objectified, used and abused, then fighting so hard against our own best interest for the sake of members of our own race that mean us no good.

I’m speaking in this case about the majority of hip hop (c)rap music that poisons us with every line that says some black girl is a Slore, Beyotch, trick, sperm receptacle or nappy head.  Our souls are stomped upon with every lyric that says dark girls are ugly, light-skin is superior, and thugs are the best that we can get because we’re worthless pieces of trash.  And this isn’t said by white people.  It’s coming from black men–our supposed brothers in the struggle, and justified by the music media machine, the NAACP and worst of all, we black women support it every day, every minute, and every weekend when we drop it like it’s hot to Lil Wayne, et al.

And if ANYONE DARE speak up against it–especially a white chick like Ashley Judd–that person gets pimp-slapped into apologizing for telling the damn truth.  In just two lines of her book, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, she says “As far as I’m concerned, most rap and hip-hop music — with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘ho’s’ — is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.”

Exactly what part of that statement is NOT true?  What part of rap/rape culture actually makes black women feel worth a dang?

What we really need to do is examine why rappers are so invested in silencing someone who could have been an advocate for causes and interests of black women.  Perhaps the answer lies in what one commenter said on a popular feminist website: “Black male celebrities almost ONLY get pissed about racism in public discourse if it threatens black *masculine* culture and are either totally silent or indifferent about the ways in which black women are effected by racism, sexism in general and sexism from the men within their own racial group. (re: Spike Lee and others who have come out in support of Chris Brown).”  She has a point. When was the last time black men, en masse, mobilized because someone offended a black woman?  And before you start Googling, let’s stick to this decade, please.

I’m fuming right now because with all of the attacks on Ms. Judd, we, black women, have lost an ally.  And it’s not like we have so many to spare.  Never mind that Judd has worked tirelessly for the betterment of all women around the world, and she expresses a genuine concern, I guess she’ll learn her lesson next time to dare defend black women, and this incident will teach anyone else who comes along that does not align with The Guardians of All Things Dark & Lovely in the future.

Why, oh why are we so quick to defend the very men who abuse and debase us?  Why does Chris Brown have a stable of black women cheerleaders behind him after he pounded Rihanna’s face in?  Why did Jay-Z, a drug dealer who shot his own brother at only 12-years-old, make his millions off the backs of black women and become a pinnacle of success?  Why do we have spokespeople in the New Black Panthers rallying behind more than a dozen black boys who raped an 11-year-old child and join the pile-on in blaming her?

“Black women have been brainwashed into thinking that images of them being dehumanized is acceptable,” says Sophia Angeli Nelson, political pundit, columnist and author of the upcoming book, Black Woman, Redefined. “In the case of Ashley Judd, we are offended by the messenger.  This is damaging.”

Ladies, think about what you’re doing when you yell and scream and fight to the death for a segment of black men who stomp on your neck to make a buck.  I guarantee that in the confines of their mansions, Bentleys and around their buddies, we are the laughing-stock, because not only do we buy and dance to music that tells us we ain’t shite, we’ll cut somebody who attacks them.  These people are not worthy of our protection.  When you capitalize upon debasing your own people to make money, you are not for us, you are for yourself.

Many of us act like battered women, using resources and energy as a human shield against any insult to grown-arse men.  And before I get some idiotic comment about how all hip hop isn’t bad, let’s go by the 90% rule, umkay?

Christelyn D. Karazin the co-author of Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race Culture and Creed (to be released February 2012), and runs a blog, www.beyondblackwhite.com, dedicated to women of color who are interested and or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships. She is also the founder and organizer of “No Wedding, No Womb,” an initiative to find solutions to the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate in the black community.


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  • Pingback: Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Rape Culture: The Roundup | Bitch Flicks()

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  • Andrea

    Wow! This post is definitely something. When I first heard about this I was a little offended. How are you gonna tell us something about our music or culture. But hip hop is owned by more than black people. After reading this post,
    I agree Ashley Judd shouldn't be critisized for her view and thank her for putting it out there for WOMEN who are effected by the products of hip hop/rap culture. All women should thank her.

  • Caramel Swts

    All True..Awesome post…my heart aches for our Blinded Sisters…(blind to self)

  • Pingback: Some Bittersweet Truths About Ashley Judd : Ms Magazine Blog()

  • sugar/spice

    Um "Beautiful black woman I bet that b*tch look better red" thats just an example from a self hating, insecure rapper by the name of Lil Wayne

  • nursedred

    Yes girl practically every popular rap song since 95

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  • Lauren Zenobia Simmons

    That a response to vonnie

  • Meeks

    Word black men are so like this. And we all be saying that all the time. And then the second anyone says anything about it we get all like this.

    Such trite generalizations. I guess it's fine to sterotype and degrade a certain group of people as long as you use big words. MISOGYNY…SOCIETAL…PYSCHE…AFFIRMATIONS. So bored with this whole name calling affair.

  • Meeks

    Arresting drug dealers has been proven not to affect the demand for a drug in a particular area AT ALL. Sociological evidence provides that where there is a demand for a product someone will supply the demand, and no matter how often the supplier is changed the demand persists. If the ambition is to eliminate misogyny from our media that CANNOT be accomplished without addressing the demand for that product. The supply will always simply follow suit.

  • Meeks

    Do black women show black men a lot of support in modern music? Do black men so themselves a lot of respect in modern music? Is respect a common theme in modern media? I don't think so. Are black males in rap to blame for promoting violence and degradation in there music? Absolutely, and so too are the handful of women in rap who participate in the same. But what is the point of isolating the misogyny of black men? Why do I not hear this conversation ever include the work of Quentin Tarintino or Oliver Stone?
    Take a look at life expectancy statistics across the globe before you forget in what context of your identity you are most oppressed.

  • Nikki

    That is the dam TRUTH. I especially love this line…..QUOTE'' These people are not worthy of our protection. When you capitalize upon debasing your own people to make money, you are not for us, you are for yourself''' AMEN. Many of us really do act like battered women, and many of us are battered and refused to act. I was just reading the newspaper article on Lashanda Armstrong a beautiful, young, ambitious blk woman who drove her jeep off a boat ramp into the Hudson River with her 3 young children to an untimely death. REASON… Her boyfriend and children's father was a dead beat who frequently lied and cheated on her. On Tuesday, she decided to end it all. While my heart bleeds and I sympathize with her plight, I cannot condone her behaviour…if the man is no good, leave him. Commiting suicide and murdering her children isn't a solution. Her 10 yr old son swan 100 ft to safety, (He was found shaking on the road side) but now he has no mother and will suffer psychological trauma from this horrendous experience…..REAL SAD and so not worth it……smh

  • lindy

    STFU!Black dudes can never take responsibility for their actions.Are you men or bOYS?You all are wrong and foul-own up to it.

  • lindy

    You are Dumb!

  • Kreyol Kutie

    We're turning this into a black/white debate when that's not what Ashley Judd meant at all. She wasn't speaking on behalf of black women, she was speaking on behalf of herself as a WOMAN period. And she's speaking out against hip hop, not black men. Eminem and Pitbull are very much included here.

  • Rick Swift

    Judd says she was sexually abused at the hands of an old man from her neighborhood. I can bet you one thing he wasn't listening to Hip-Hop, more then likely it was Country Western or Hard Rock, from what I hear thats the best music for sexual abuse because no one can hear you screaming for help because their to busy throwing up.

    I cant remember a movie she was in that was about anything or worth seeing, does anyone remember her being a box office draw. When going broke or low on funds right a book and say some dumb stuff to get attention or create a buzz.

  • Lakesha

    I think we can all agree that the wonderful part of this article, is at least, we are thinking about the true effects of the music we listen to. Have you ever listened to a song and thought, that's exactly how I feel, well, rap started just like that. An artist who experienced some things, wrote about how he felt and that was it, This New Generation of rap has taken it to a whole different level. I don't agree with it, but lets put the focus where it needs to be.

    I'm a single mother of three, one son and two daughters. I've worked hard, to teach my children the Godly values of self respect, respecting others, love, nurturing, etc. These are the things that give our children a foundation on which they can build. The music should be entertainment, not a way of life! We as a "people" have gotten away from what truly matters. THAT'S WHERE IT STARTS!

  • trynottorant

    Popular hip hop music is misogynistic. Not all hip hop music. Treating women with respect doesn't sell.

    I'm 19 and I made a decision a long time ago to not listen to sub par artists. The best thing to do is put your money where your mouth is. Do not support artists who are crappy. That is the first step. The next step is supporting artists who truly make good music.

  • Dream Job

    this article is right on time…

    Walmart Giving Back After Laying Off Over 50,000 People.. $1,000 Giftcards – I Grab 2 of Them..LOL http://goo.gl/g4zvo

  • rima

    I agree with post. truth hurts lies kills and saddest part deadbeat dads/self hate is def killing look around. if not behind the bullet or the gun, our soul is dying….okay the saddest part a white woman brought it to our attention out of compassion….reminds me of the time when President Barack gave a speech about deadbeat dads and guess who went hay wired?

  • Rima

    the truth hurt that bad…u rather defend a lie?

  • thirteen

    We need to get back to Queen Latifah and U.N.I.T.Y. As women, we need to look out for each other regardless. Learn to love ourselves, and when we figure it out, help other women figure it out too. We need to raise our children to love themselves and each other. In todays world there is a war on women. Black Women, Hispanic Women, White Women, Asian Women and ALL of the Women I didn't categorize. Women EVERYWHERE are brutalized and then blamed for it because they wore the wrong shirt or put their makeup on in a way that was too "inviting" or was simply living in the wrong village when the soldiers showed up. I support any woman who stands up and speaks out for other women. It's great if one is strong enough that they don't need any support from anyone else, but I hope that one doesn't presume to speak for everyone else.

  • Great post. Thanks!

  • Agree, to admit that hip hop has caused the tearing down of our community is in the same token admitting that music has more control over our children. If education and jobs was pushed harder in our communities, more mothers and fathers stepped up and be a parent, if there were more positive role models to reach our youth, the shape of our community would become better. Our children are a fruit of us, so maybe its time to look at the tree and fix that first.

  • There are rap songs out there that aren't edited like Lupe Fiasco. I've heard all of his albums and he doesn't use profanity. And that is real.

    • integratedmemoirs

      I said not all rap is bad, and we're not focusing on the few outliers. We're talking about the majority; the bulk of rap that is sold worldwide, giving Black people a bad name, especially Black women.

  • Black and proud

    It breaks my heart that black men HATE us. They make fun of our hair length, texture, melanin rich complexions, butts, and feet size. Those are the things that make a sustah a sustah.

    • rick swift

      We don't hate you but toy guys sure have been programed to hate us & thats a fact miss. I know one thing about sisters, you guys spend more time thinking about yourself then you do your man So you get what you get sister. No in put no out put.

    • lindy

      But why do Black women act as if black dudes are the only men in the world?What is the big deal about black dudes?

      • persephone

        YOU know what the BIG deal is!!

        • Deecha

          …even THAT'S overrated!…take away the fact that many are incarcerated, deadbeat dads and the like, having only THAT is not much to brag about….

  • The statistic that the majority people who buy and listen to hip hop music are white is old and tired! It’s a dead horse right now, okay. Really, is that the best argument that people can make about this issue? Ask yourself some hard questions for a change:

    1. This statistic has been toted since the 90s. Has any NEW research been done to update or corroborate this statistic?
    2. How is (or was, rather) this statistic even measured? What tools were used?
    3. Why aren’t the answers to the 2 above questions readily available?
    4. Who benefits the most from having African Americans continue to believe that the majority consumers of hip hop are white?

  • prettyS

    meant to say RIGHT

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  • KNB1

    I have to disagree. If you go off of mainstream rap/hip-hop that’s played on the radio then yes, your 90 would be right on the mark. As for hip-hop as a whole it’s nowhere near 90%. I think that’s where a lot of people are coming from. Go to a hip-hop show in your area with local acts and see how it their message compares to what you hear on the radio. Not saying that there is no negativity towards women, but it’s not prominently on display as it would be by most mainstream artists.

    • I agree. The rappers that do promote positivity in there songs gets pushed on the back burner for wacka flaka and gucci. So maybe songs that degrade women would go away if we simply stop requesting the songs and buying the music in exchange for positive hip hop. But that is just a dream.

    • thirteen

      While you are entitled to disagree, she was clearly referring to the mainstream, which by it's very nature is the most popular and widely recognized version of any genre. Conversely underground, by it's very nature, defies the stereotypes of it's main genre. That is why mainstream rap is a problem. Not enough artists are defying the stereotypes, they are simply trying to outdo the "hits" that came before.

  • The article had some good points with some ehhh too. First of all, to say we have lost an ally in Ashley Judd is doing the most. An ally? It seems the author wants us to look to a white woman to speak up for us. Um yeah, I'm good. Black women can stand up for ourselves. I think she's entitled to her opinion, and actually I think she was right. She shouldn't have had to take anything back but if she did, that was a cop out on her part. As far as hip hop and rap, being against women, I could agree. But there is a demographic for everything and this is 2011. You don't have to like it to understand that whether we like it or not, some people can relate to it. Life isn't pretty for everybody. Some people grew up in the hood. No mother. No father. Drug issues. Foster care. Promiscuous, conniving women. That's just real. Most artists create music they relate to. It just is what it is. If you don't like it, don't buy. Don't let your children listen to it and start from there. This is America. You aint gotta like everything. Just because someone calls you something doesn't mean you are what they say. Even entertaining it gives it traction. #nobueno

    • DJ1969

      Don't believe the hype! I grew up in the hood and just like there's negative that goes on, there is positive as well. Hip hop has always been about the struggle of blacks in the hood, but it's ALL in the way you frame it. Back in the 80s, hip hop was about UPLIFTING and EMPOWERING black folks, and that type of hip hop came from a place of respect and love for our community and our people. But see, there's nothing scarier to white folks than a bunch of blacks being empowered and improving their conditions, so they killed it.

      Then, in the 90s, we sold out hip hop to white corporations and they decided to EXPLOIT us which came from a place of disrespect, destruction, and hatred. (Why do you think conscious and positive rap artists can't get any airplay anymore?) They took a small and some of the worst part of our culture, used shock-value, and turned it into a profit–first the "gansta" movement for men (glorifying thugs, murders, and drug dealing), and then came the "misogynist" movement for women (glorifying strippers, promiscuous women, gold digging, baby mamas, etc…). And now we are seeing the end results of it. Our community is a mess. And it's easy to say to" turn it off", but the ish is everywhere no matter where you turn to.

    • Likewater4choc

      Grew up in the hood….no father…no mother (this may be untrue as we live in a society of men raised by women and that's a part of the problem)..foster care. Women giving black men more excuses to to behave this way is in no way "supporting" our black men. It is enabling them to be more destructive to themselves and society at large giving them a sense of entitlement to behave this way cause their black men. No one is asking black women to be against their sons or husbands, but stop claiming strangers. Particularly those that don't claim or love you. None of these types of men are my "brothers". I only have the 2 that my mother gave birth to. Black women need to be a bit more selfish (self-preservation) in who they give their love to. Stop being beasts of burden for wayward black men. If you have no love for me, I certainly have none for you.

      • I hear you. Those weren't excuses though, just facts. When you have a certain upbringing the likelihood of EVERYONE being an exception to the rule is small. If you have no love for me, I CAN have love for you because some people just don't know. This isn't being naive but values come from somewhere, and some people never got them. When you know better you do better. I just think the problem needs to be solved, not used as a platform to blast black men NOR black women. Issues like this can unify us and ignite a need for action. I don't want to brush issues under the rug, or criticize. I want us to slowly but surely make the change where the type of life that rappers speak of is no longer a reality.

  • LorMarie

    Your opening assertion about about public vs private was simply asinine and shows that you really need to improve your debating skills. Your last question has an extremely obvious answer that even a 5th grader knows. Exercise common sense and answer your questions. My comments may seem harsh but I am one to say what I mean and mean what I say. For me to argue with you would be similar to me arguing with a child regarding the existence of the Easter bunny. If you come up with a ridiculous response I will call it out. Improve or go and argue with someone who has the desire for playing games.

  • Dream Job

    i agree with this article..but is Ashley judd white??

    Walmart Giving Back After Laying Off Over 50,000 People.. $1,000 Giftcards – I Grab 2 of Them..LOL http://goo.gl/g4zvo

    • Rima

      thats even worst…somebody else have to show you it's a problem withing in your own community?? you dont see that as sad???

  • tjetter

    There are songs being played on Top 40 radio stations where Black men celebrate ejaculating on and gang-raping Black women?

    • Um yeah….do you know what Super Man that Ho means? Freaking souljah boy became a star with that song. it's about ejaculating on a woman. TI had a verse about ejaculating on a girl's face, "Takin' cum in the face, yeah, I like it like that " Get loose lyrics. "now she got my kids all over her face" guess what that was talking about? not hugs and kisses from Fabolous' toddlers. and that's just the three can think of off the top of my head within 2 seconds.

      nelly and tip drill "come on girl you know what you came here for…ain't no fun less we all get some" pretty much if you showed up, then you getting down, you should've known what you were there for.

  • Afrostyling

    Your stupid comment is compounded by your inability to use punctuation. Go back to school!

    • Tlynn

      @ Afrostyling…Thank you!!!! Yes, please use that time you spent meeting these rappers and apply that to more education!

    • Ms Gaussinton

      Your so small minded, maybe you need to go back to school!

  • Correction: “the problematic assertion that the music that you hear on the radio ‘is somehow’ representative of the purview of most Black men, at-large.”

    ::typing on an iPhone::

  • Tani

    I concur with all of the above and in fact will break norm and write about it on my blog..

  • Yes, you are correct.

  • L.B. Song

    Wow! This is definitely one of the better articles i've read on this site… in a while. I too agreed with Ms. Judd on her assessment of hip-hop/rap culture. To be honest, I was a little disappointed when she apologized for her statements, instead of standing behind them. I know i n her shoes the I pressure must have been overwhelming tp eat her worlds. Evidently, it angers black people a lot when white people, outsiders to to our culture critique our culture. We as black people know full well that (some parts of hip-hop culture have done more to debase the black woman's self-esteem than any white supremacist. I applaud Ms. Judd for having the courage to speak her mind against the powerful machine that is hip hop. I wish black women would stop lining the pockets of the men that hate them.

  • LorMarie

    I'm convinced that many black women have Stockholm Syndrome. They don't know how incredibly STUPID they look when they stand up for black men who obviously hate them. I will say it again, STUPID!

    • Deecha

      …Thank You!…this needed to be pointed out, as painful as it may be to some (not me)…

    • Seri

      Mm hmm.!

  • KAB

    Very well put, I don't think Ashley Judd should have to explain her perosnal feelings, not to mention that her personal feelings are also very much a FACT! As a black women who gets it I aint mad at her at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dream Job

      EXACTLY..MY THOUGHTS..DARLING…sheesh its just aggravating…

      Walmart Giving Back After Laying Off Over 50,000 People.. $1,000 Giftcards – I Grab 2 of Them..LOL http://goo.gl/g4zvo

    • Mynda

      I agree. Ashley Judd is a grown woman who lives in a country with freedom of speech. I have to say, though, that if it is that obvious to someone on the outside looking in, why are we so blind to it? And most importantly, What about our daughters? Many of these rappers have daughters; will it be okay for them to be called out of their name and subjected to sexual mistreatment? Because every bi%$h or ho is somebody's daughter, being famous isn't going to change that. Maybe instead of defending men who don't know us or care about how we feel, we should be defending our little girls.

      Also, some of these rappers are the ugliest men ALIVE…why do they get to dictate what a woman should be?