All Articles Tagged "Very Smart Brothas"
Is Music By Female Performers Filled With Just As Much Man-Hating As Hip-Hop Is Filled With Misogyny?
Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas has done a piece for Complex magazine’s website on the art of the male response song, particularly the many (and I do mean many) responses to Nicki Minaj’s “Lookin’ Ass Ni**a,” and how it all exudes extreme “butthurtness” as he calls it. Damon Young also writes that all the responses are redundant and comical, considering how those in hip-hop address women in their music.
Of course, the comment section is full of folks who weren’t trying to hear that “respect women” bull crap. As one commenter noted:
“I’m also very suspicious of men like you who (rightly) point out instances of misogyny in rap, while at the same time, try to excuse, or turn a blind eye to the slew of misandric/ female supremacist material filling the catalogues of artists like Beyonce & Taylor Swift.”
I have heard this reasoning before: Female singers and rappers have as many man-hating songs as rappers have their woman-hating hits. But is it true? A casual listen to the radio would say, hell no! But in the name of pseudo-science, I decided to find out if songs performed by women in music were equally “misandrist.” The answers will surprise you – but likely not.
For this research, I decided to focus on the two “urban” radio stations here in Philadelphia. WUSL, better known to listeners as “POWER 99FM,” is owned by Clear Channel Communications. As evident by its signature, “Bangin’ Hip Hop and R&B,” Power 99 caters to those who listen to hip-hop as well as those who listen to R&B music. And according to the station’s marketing material, its audience is 54 percent women and 44 percent men. Therefore, if I were to find misandrist music anywhere, it would likely be on a station, which appeals largely to women.
The other station is WPHI, which is known locally as Hot 107.9 FM. Like POWER 99FM, WPHI is known as an urban station. Although demographics on the station were hard to come by in the short amount of time I allotted for this study, judging by the similar musical format, I assumed that its audience is also reflective of that of 99FM – with slight variations.
Since radio today tends to be repetitious (which might have something to do with the fact that only six companies control 90 percent of mainstream media), I limited my research time to two hours. To be specific, I listened to 99FM on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. The playlist was as followed: YG, “My Hitta (My N-Word) Remix”; “NaNa” by Trey Songz; Drake feat. 2 Chainz and Big Sean, “All Me”; Young Thug, “Stoner”; Kid Ink feat. Chris Brown, “Show Me”; T-Pain feat. BoB, “Up Down”; Rick Ross feat. Jay Z, “The Devil is a Lie”; Rich Homie Quan, “Type of Way”; Miguel, “Adorn”; “All of Me” by John Legend; “Que” by OG Bobby Johnson; ScHoolboy Q, “Man of the Year”; Rico Love feat. Trey Songz, TI and Tiara Thomas, “They Don’t Know”; Beyoncé, feat. Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”; Mack Wilds, “Henny”; and finally, Sage the Gemini, “Gas Pedal.”
What struck me the most was in spite of 99FM’s listening audience being slightly more female, its playlist for those two hours was heavily dependent on male-performed content. Because of that, I decided to tune in again on Sunday, from 11 to 1 p.m. The only other differences were old school songs Like DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win” as well as the following: Mack Wilds, “Own It”; Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, “Part II (On the Run)”; Wale feat. NickiMinaj, “Clappers”; Chris Brown, “Loyal”; and French Montana, “Ain’t Worried About Nothin’.”
On 107.9FM, which I tuned in to from 9 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, there was more of a gender balance in the playlist, but only slightly: Rico Love, “They Don’t Know”; Beyoncé, “Yoncé/Partition”; Janelle Monae, “Primetime”; Tamar Braxton, “All the Way Home”; Aaliyah, “Try Again” (throwback classic); Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, “Part II (On The Run)”; “Happy” by Pharrell; Ariana Grande feat. Mac Miller, “The Way”; Kid Ink feat. Chris Brown, “Show Me”; Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”; Sevyn Streeter feat. Chris Brown, “It Won’t Stop”; Rick Ross, “Sanctified”; August Alsina feat. Chris Brown and Trey Songz, “I Luv This S**t”; John Legend, “All of Me”; Bruno Mars, “When I was Your Man”; Jay Z feat. Rick Ross, “F**kWithMeYouKnowIGotIt”; Jhene Aiko, “The Worst.”
In total, I heard 32 unique songs in a span of six radio hours. Despite the gender imbalance of both playlists, quick research showed that the playlists were more aligned with the national top 20 lists for popular urban music. Therefore, this was as good as it was going to get. In terms of misogyny, here are some of my observations as followed:
- Nineteen out of the 23 unique male-performed songs referred to women as either b**ches or hos or a combination of both.
- At least 10 of the male-performed songs had direct themes revolving around using money as economic power over women, particularly using it to lure a woman home or entice them to shake body parts. “Gas Pedal” gives you that much in the title without even having to cite a single lyric. Equally as direct was T-Pain, who reminds us that “she don’t even like girls but a stack will make her kiss her.” However, Trey Songz was a little more smooth in how he financially finessed himself closer to the “NaNa.”
- At least half of the male-performed songs were keen on establishing boundaries for women, and usually of lesser importance, even when the song itself had little to do with male-female relationships. For example, Chris Brown tells us directly about how he “done did everything but trust these hos” in “Loyal.” However, Young Thug, who focuses most of his lyrics in “Stoner” on his drug use, takes a bar or two to make clear that you can “can suck my banana, but I won’t eat your pudding.”
- At least 12 of the male-centered songs contained lyrics, which treated women as possessions, in particular, collectible items. For example, in “Devil Is A Lie”, Rick Ross brags about “switching old b**ches for new b**ches” and more. Whereas ScHoolboy Q couldn’t see women outside of disembodied body parts (“Titty, a**, hands in the air, it’s a party over here”) in “Man of the Year.”
- While not necessarily misogynistic, at least 10 of the male-centered songs had lyrics, which focused on non-committal relationships with the opposite sex. In “They Don’t Know,” Rico Love tells us about the very special yet secret relationship he has with a side jawn, who he is willing to wine and dine, just as long as she keeps her mouth shut.
- Only five of the male performed songs featured lyrics that were non-authoritative, combative and expressed healthier sentiment with the opposite sex. The majority of those songs were R&B, including Miguel’s “Adorn” and John Legend’s “All of Me” – or duets performed with a female performer. Even when the topic was about heartbreak, male-centered R&B songs were more likely to engage in self-reflection compared to their rap counterparts. The unique exceptions to that included R&B singer Chris Brown, who blames the cheating girls he willingly has relationships with in “Loyal” for his trust issues and rapper Big Sean, who seems willing to own up (slightly) to his paranoia in “All Me” with the following lines: “Like I got trust issues, I’m sorry for the people I’ve pushed out. I’m the type to have a bullet-proof condom and still gotta pull out. But that’s just me, and I ain’t perfect, I ain’t a saint but I am worth it…”
So the misogyny is well-documented, but what about the misandry? Well, according to my observations:
- Out of the nine female-performed songs on the radio, I found two examples, which could possibly be interpretative of misandry: the first is in Jhene Aiko’s “The Worst,” when she says of her deceiving significant other, “Please don’t take this personal, but you ain’t sh**t…” The second is Nicki Minaj’s verse on “Clappers” when she says,“Where your money? Let a b***h evaluate. If you ’bout big money, elaborate.” However, Minaj’s lyrics on “Clappers” seemed to be aligned with misogyny more than man-hating in that particular song.
- The vast majority (eight in total) of female-performed songs involved themes of love: how to get it and how to keep it. In “Drunk in Love,” Beyoncé told us sordid tales of all-night sex and drinking babies (as she also did in “Yoncé/Partition”). Tamar Braxton is so in love in her song she thinks about her man on her drive all the way home. Ariana Grande’s track was about being in love, as was Sevyn Streeter’s.
- All of the female-performed songs were more likely to focus on keeping and maintaining relationships with the opposite sex as opposed to their male-performing counterparts, whose songs were on varied topics (note: I included Janelle Monae in that number because “Primetime” was a duet with Miguel).
Again, this is not to sit in judgment of the artists and their individual songs, but rather, to smack down the silly notion that female-performed contemporary music is filled with just as much misandry as hip hop is filled with misogynistic lyrics. The most interesting side note to this experiment is that if you take the female-performed songs and put them between the male-centered songs, you get an interesting mix of mostly men saying, don’t trust these girls – unless you can pay them to dance and have sex with them – while female performers are begging these guys, who don’t seem to care about them at all, to stay. I guess it is true what Beyoncé says, “who wants that perfect love anyway – cliché, cliché…”
Earlier this year, we told you about the Very Smart Brothas series that was coming to a screen, whether big or small, sometime soon. And it looks like that day has arrived ladies and gentlemen. Though the pilot has been screened at different venues in New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C., the creators, Damon Young, Andrea Thornton, Derek Bellard and Panama Jackson wanted to bring the pilot to the people who made it all possible. Those of us who reside on the internet.
The pilot is 22 minutes long but VSB is posting it in three different parts. The series is supposed to be loosely based on Panama and Damon, so if you read the site, see if you find Champ and P traits in these characters.
Check out part 1 and let us know what you think of this first bit.
About a year ago, we hipped you to the fact that the Very Smart Brothas were expanding their very popular blog, Very Smart Brothas.com and turning it into a webseries. Well, love muffins things change and now the once web series hopefully finds a home on your living room television set. You may be wondering why the switch up. Damon Young, aka “The Champ,” aka the man who answers your relationship questions every Wednesday explains:
“When done with the first draft of the webseries, we decided it would be a better idea to shift focus and create a 22 minute long pilot instead. Why? Well, one of the bi products of the success of Issa Rae and Awkward Black Girl is that everyone and their step-momma has a webseries now. Since we ain’t like everyone else, we did something different.”
No word on when the full pilot will be released but keep your eyes peeled for several screening dates, including one on Saturday, September 21st in Burbank, California, public screenings in D.C., Pittsburgh and one at the New York Television Festival on October 21-26. (The pilot was one of 47 selected to be shown to fans and industry executives.)
Take a look at the series which is loosely based on Damon and Panama (though someone did say they write as if they were more attractive…crazy) in the video below and tell us what you think.
If you want more information about the series, head over here.
Eva: Should u get back with an ex that has grown out of whatever issue that caused him to be your ex?
DY: Depends on the issue. My theory though, is that re-exing is like re-gifting. Sounds like a good idea, but you gave it away for a reason
Nolundi: Is there hope for a man in his 50s with a Peter Pan Syndrome?
DY: Probably not. But, look on the bright side. With the advances in medicine today, he has a good change of making it to 100. That gives him a good 40-50 more years to figure things out.
Debra: Children’s father will only deal with his kids if he can be with the mother. Mother is unhappy but does not want kids to lose father’s presence. Stay or go?
Elexis: What does a man mean when he says he wants to be friends or he’s not ready for a relationship right now??? and what does the term “friends” mean
DY: Usually, this means “I don’t want to be in a relationship with you, but I would like to have one with your vagina.”
Tia: I am in love with someone who is extremely driven in his career and doesn’t want to marry unless he has completed a huge career goal. It is realistic for me to wait?
DY: Depends on how long, really. If it’ll take 12 months, fine. 12 years, probably not. Also, why exactly does he need to accomplish this goal before marrying you? Has he expressed that?
Tia: Thanks for replying Damon. He wants to complete his PHD which will take two years. It seems like women can multitask and do many things at one time, but he wants to do that first then eventually marriage.
DY: It’s not necessarily that men can’t multi-task. But, (generally speaking) men and women prioritize different things when it comes to relationships and marriage, and I can understand why I man would want to wait until after achieving a professional goal before he got married. Often, men aren’t “ready” for marriage until they’re “settled” professionally and financially, and that seems to be the case here
Joanne: Friend is in a new relationship with a guy who has left his wife 7 years ago but never got round to a divorce as kids were growing up. At what stage is it appropriate for her to ask him when he is going to get divorced?
DY: The “right now” stage.
Sarah: Husband seems to only want to do the fun, non- controversial things with kids, yet leaves me, the step mom, to be the disciplinarian. Despite pleas to be “on the same team”, he just doesn’t get it. Is it a matter of choice or lack of vision. Sidenote- the children’s mother is not find at all of me, saying it nicely, so has pretty much told them they do not need to respect me furthering the complications.
DY: You need to have a frank talk with him about the precedent he’s setting, and how uncomfortable it’s making you to always be the “bad cop”—especially when you’re a step parent. He’s putting you in a no-win situation.
Sonya: If a person tells you you have a beautiful heart and smile….you have integrity and you’re good person as a whole. Is it safe to say you are in the friend zone ?
DY: Unfortunately so
Vanessa: Do you believe in 50/50 relationships? I feel that this type of relationship demands giving something to get something in return and doesn’t come from the sincerity of your heart. Also a man supposed to be a provider.
DY: Please expound. Not clear what you mean by 50/50.
Vanessa: I mean do you believe in 50/50 in terms of financial aspect in a relationship? My friends think my standard to high b/c I don’t believing in paying my way 50/50 in a relationship. I think a guy that likes you shouldn’t mind spending cash and it should be natural.
DY: That’s a tough one. Lemme put it this way: There are men who are fine with being the sole provider and paying for everything, and women who prefer those types of relationships should do want they can to date/marry those men. Thing is, while being taken care of financially is a plus, I think some women fail to realize that men who want to control all of the finances usually also want to control everything else—including your body. Again, if this works for you, fine. But just realize that for every person (man or woman), every “plus” has a corresponding “minus.”
Erica: I just got into a discussion about what marriage is suppose to mean and I want a guy’s take on it. I say: Love is not unconditional and that everyone has dealbreakers in which they will leave a relationship or marriage. Including weight gain. Others say: If you’re married, then the only dealbreaker should be don’t cheat and don’t abuse me.
What say you?
DY: I say the best relationships/marriages are when you find someone whose dealbreakers match yours.
Denise: At what age do men grow up ?
DY: The age we realize “continuing not to grow up” means “dammit, the pool of women available to me will continue to shrink until I grow up.” Some of us make that transition, and some don’t because their pool never shrinks. There’s no incentive to make the change.
Kenyetta: How you tell your husband he is not pleasing you sexually?
Damon: State what you like/need, and suggest that he makes a greater effort in trying to do that. The key is to express that idea without trying to shame and/or embarrass him in the process. If you do this in an honest and reasonable way—and if he genuinely cares about you and the relationship—he should listen. (The bigger question is how does a couple get all the way to a marriage without being able to clearly communicate their sexual needs to each other?)
Ebb: How can a female go about asking a guy for just a sexual relationship without sounding like a hoe?
Damon: Easy. Just tell the guy that you want a no-strings attached relationship, and if he thinks you’re a “ho” for that, he’s obviously not the type of guy you need to be dealing with, anyway.
(Now, do no-strings attached type relationships actually work in the long run? Hmmm. That’s another question for another day)
Lechia: How can you handle your boyfriend of 5 years and the father of your child and one on the way having a baby by someone else?
Damon: Get tested for every STD known to man, leave immediately, wait six months, and get tested again.
Carol: Is it a good idea for an unmarried couple with no kids and not living together to be business partners?
Damon: No. What happens to the business if you break up? Also, even if you don’t break up, you run the risk of letting your business dynamic interfere with your relationship (and vice versa). If you were married, maybe my advice would be different, but from all angles “unmarried couple staring a business together” = “bad idea.”
Lydia: How can u tell your husband you’re not into sex like that(Adult Videos star type) lmao serious question?
Damon: What is “adult video star sex?”
Also, I don’t mean to be a package, but how did you be with someone long enough to marry them without knowing each others’ sexual likes and dislikes? I get these types of questions frequently, and I’m curious to know how that happens.
Lydia: I been with him for a while just didn’t mess around I’m a women of God and believed on waiting! That I did…
Damon: Ok. I definitely understand that. Well, I guess my next question would be what exactly do you mean by “Adult Videos star sex?”
Lydia: Adult Videos sex is everyday all day long hit it from the back and all that… I love sex but not every day I am a mother and I go to 2 schools. I don’t be feeling like having sex every day.
Damon: Moms can’t take it from the back? Learn something new everyday. Anyway, just tell him what you’re telling me. Not so much about the kids and school and all that, but that you really enjoy sex with him, but you may not be in the mood to do it every single day. Plus, when the, um, lovin’ is intense enough, you might need a day or two to heal, anyway. Remind him that consistent and persistent rabbit-banging has the potential of leaving you too raw/sore down there to enjoy it.
Blessings: I have a bed buddy that’s been acting like a boyfriend lately. Inquiring of my whereabouts and wanting to spend more time together. But he still hasn’t come out and asked to be exclusive. I may be open to it, if we discussed. I don’t want to initiate the conversation for sake of losing the benefits. Any advice?
Damon: This is a sticky situation (pun intended). There’s a chance that his change in behavior has nothing to do with him wanting someone more serious. Sometimes, we (men and women) just get a bit more possessive when sleeping with someone. Doesn’t always mean that person wants the relationship to go to another level, though. And, to be honest, I think if he wanted that bad enough, he’d just say it.
I still think you should have the conversation, though. Don’t come at it from a “So, do you want to be Facebook official now?” angle—since you’re not even sure that’s what you want. Instead, a “So, I noticed you’ve been kinda stalking me lately. What’s up with that?” angle gives you both the opportunity to clarify things without asking a leading question.
Michaela: What’s the best way to handle conflicts w/ a guy who is ‘no-confrontational’, or hates to argue?
Damon: Remind him that passive-aggressive behavior doesn’t actually get anything done. If anything, it makes things worse because minor issues continue to fester until they become major issues.
Also, you do have to ask yourself if some of the stuff you think is argue-worthy isn’t argue-worthy at all.
Sistar: When should kids be introduced? What’s an appropriate amount of dating time?
Damon: I don’t believe in arbitrary set times. In situations like this, the best thing to do is wait until you’re actually convinced that this person will be in your life for an extended period of time.
Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular VerySmartBrothas.com. Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at Amazon.com.
Kat: Is it smart to put a thriving career and making money over finding a man?
DY: I don’t know which one is “smarter,” but I do know that it’s dumb to think that you can;t have both. I mean, how are you going to have any luck finding a man if you can’t see because you need glasses and you don’t have glasses because you don’t have any money?
This might be a little TMI; but I’m very curious to know how other men feel about this, so I thought I’d ask. Recently, I was cuddling/making out with my boyfriend in bed when he tried to initiate sex. Normally, that would have been fine but I was on my period, which he knew, and I told him I didn’t exactly feel comfortable. He went into this persuasive speech about fluids being a natural part of sex, how we could make sure it was clean as possible etc. He was making a lot of sense and hormonally, I’d definitely be down; but a part of me still feels like it’s just…dirty. So needless to say, it didn’t happen that night; but I guess my question is, do most men want to have sex with women when they’re on their period? Should I work on being more open-minded and try to see things differently?