When Your Favorite Songs Are Deemed Disrespectful To Women: Am I Wrong For Jamming To Miguel’s “How Many Drinks”?
It was an ordinary Tuesday afternoon in the office I work in, and we were having a conversation about who we would have sing at our wedding and wedding reception if we could afford it like some of these famous celebrities. After saying I would love to have Miguel sing “Adore” at my wedding reception, and having others agree, we randomly decided to have a Miguel jam session. The chosen song to play first was the very popular “How Many Drinks?” and once it started, we were grooving (when we probably should have been busy completing some form of work). A few of us sang the chorus with not a care in the world, trying to reach Miguel’s falsetto at times, and just having a good time:
How many drinks would it take you to leave with me?/Yeah, you look good and I got money/But I don’t wanna waste my time/Back of my mind I’m hopin you say two or three/You look good, we came to party/But I don’t wanna waste my time…
Just a few seconds into winding in my seat, I was surprised to find that a few of my co-workers weren’t feeling it at all. They knew the song, but aside from the beat and his crooning on the track, they hated everything else about it, and they were literally dumping on it while a few of my colleagues and I were still grooving to it. I can’t tell you what both women said word for word, but the gist of their complaint about one of my favorite songs was that it was extremely disrespectful to women, and condoned the idea of getting a woman drunk, taking her home, and taking advantage of her. In a way, they compared the promotion of a date rape culture by Rick Ross in his “U.O.E.N.O.” controversy to Miguel possibly promoting a culture of getting chicks drunk to get to the last base–disrespect to women.
During this debate, my colleague and I disagreed with our other co-workers, saying that there’s a difference because Ross described drugging his companion for the evening when she didn’t know it, and then taking her home, “enjoying that,” when she didn’t even know it. That’s not giving someone a choice. Miguel might have been extremely forward and crass in his delivery to this fictional woman, but he wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything they weren’t down for. They still strongly disagreed, claiming it makes a lot of these men out here believe that it’s okay to step to a woman in such a way, as if they, along with their ladybits, can be bought.
After much consideration, I could understand what my co-workers were trying to say, and I agree with them a little bit. A lot of today’s music can be mad disrespectful to women, and I’m one of many women who unknowingly jammed to, or ignored lyrics in songs that are all about foolery that I wouldn’t condone from a guy in real life. I certainly wouldn’t want a man stepping to me at the bar, asking how many drinks it would take to take me home and get me out of my clothes. And while we can all say that it’s just music, as my co-worker said, music can be a powerful force that influences people’s behaviors. Maybe we shouldn’t be telling our friends and DJ’s to “RUN THAT BACK!!!” on songs that parade around the idea of getting women drunk or high off their behinds so that they can get loose as goose and make regrettable choices. And that can go in the same vein as backing away from songs that call us ho*s, b***hes, and everything other than a child of God.
But on the other side of the fence, I have to ask, when are we going to stop blaming the music of a few for the foolery, lack of sense and lack of manners of others? To each their own. My co-worker and others can shun this particular Miguel track, or the artist as a whole because they don’t agree with the song, but I don’t necessarily believe it promotes or pushes folks with free will to let a man buy them drinks to get them in bed, or men to step to women in a disrespectful manner. These are things both women and men have been doing and allowing for years, and I doubt they got their courage by listening to Miguel’s Kaleidoscope album. Besides, as my colleague would say, not every song is about romance, just as every new encounter between a man and a woman is not romantic and sweet. Were people having this same conversation when Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rump Shaker” came out and Teddy Riley told the ladies, “All I wanna do is zoom-a-zoom-zoom-zoom and a poom-poom” in ’92?
I’m not a fan of music that glorifies sexual and physical assault of women, and on a sidenote, I’m not a real fan of Rick Ross because he’s had a history of saying questionable things and stealing other people’s lives for his music. But as for Miguel, a man who I would still ask to sing “Adore” at my wedding reception (if he was doing it for free.99), this particular song will continue to get played on my iPhone. If Miguel came up to me at the bar and said, “How many drinks would it take you to leave with me? Yeah, you look good and I got money, but I don’t wanna waste my time,” I would probably laugh in his face and two-step in the opposite direction. But to say so in a simple song, with some insane vocal arrangements, strings, and all-around awesome production to it? I’m sorry, but that’s my jam, and I’ll continue to bow my head, lift my hand, and snap my finger to it. Is that so wrong?