“Rich $ex,” Blac Chyna And Black Women As Pawns On Hip-Hop’s Chess Board
Last week, Future’s latest video, “Rich $ex,” debuted to quite the mixture of reviews. Black Twitter erupted in a haze of disgust, confusion, and laughter as the visual, featuring Blac Chyna, was released on rapper Tyga’s birthday.
A little background for those who, like myself, don’t necessarily keep up with the lifestyles of the ratchet and famous: Blac Chyna and Tyga were an item for a bit. Their time together produced a beautiful little boy and a lot of bad blood, which has led to more than one very public social media/text fight between the exes.
It’s no coincidence that “Rich $ex” dropped on Tyga’s 26th birthday. Replete with lyrics about having sex while wearing expensive things (ugh, really?), more nudity than could be considered tasteful, and Future executing what Biggie dubbed the “death stroke” tongue all the way down Blac Chyna’s throat, it was what many would consider the perfect F-you from one ego-driven rapper to another. A conquered woman, a piece moved on the board.
The lyrics of “Rich $ex” paired with the release date and Chyna’s completely bare behind, twisted up in some NSFW positions, deliver a message that has remained the same since rap battles became a thing. It’s what most, if not all rap battles have boiled down to. The ultimate diss: “I f—ed your b—h.”
All eyes turn to whichever lyricists (can we even call them that anymore without laughing?) are verbally duking it out and all ears tune in to verse after verse befouling the very women they claim to love and adore just to “win.” A method of winning by getting under one’s skin, a practice as old as time.
A month ago, Chyna posted a photo of the word “Future” scrolled neatly across her hand. Future, free of any tattoos or markings of her name, unequivocally denied being involved with her. And now, this video, what many could consider soft-core porn, is released, objectifying and denigrating her body while boosting his self-esteem.
Where do we, as Black women, draw the line on how we are used for the almost sadistic pleasure of men who only want to destroy the egos of other men while stroking their own? Where do Black men in Hip-Hop take responsibility for the way in which they choose to portray Black women? As things to be conquered, talked over and about, with no concern for their well-being, only their performance in bed to discuss with the public. We are nothing more than pieces to move to serve their endgame, and the game is getting old and tired.
Blac Chyna is not the first Black woman to be misused in Hip-Hop. Another recent battle between Meek Mill and Drake put Nicki Minaj in the crosshairs, reducing a woman who has accomplished a great deal in the genre – despite what you may think of the way in which she has done it – to nothing more than a pair of legs between which these two men decided to rumble with one another. The battle between Tupac and Biggie left sweet-voiced songstress Faith Evans in the crossfire back in the ’90s, something that could have cost her a career and damaged her self-esteem. It happens over and over with Black women. They have little to no recourse because the reality is that no one cares, and our bodies are the battleground for money, power, and respect for everyone else. It has become part of the show, part of the excitement of Hip-Hop. Black women’s dignity and sacredness are forever at the mercy of men’s whining egos. Sadly, Blac Chyna won’t be the last Black woman to be caught up in some foolish manhood-measuring contest, but I know we as a people and Hip-Hop as a culture are better than what we’ve sunk to.
What will it take for us to stop allowing the need for praise and ego-stroking to dishonor the bodies and lives of Black women within a music genre whose founding messages were the furthest thing from that?
What will it take for many mainstream Hip-Hop artists to stop taking shots and start making art again? Objectifying and fetishizing Black women to get at another rapper is the easy route and it perpetuates a cycle of violence within the Black community – it’s not always physical – that is systemic and trickles down from White racial oppression. Making actual music that is about something that matters is harder, but it breeds respect and integrity and fights that systemic oppression in an industry that has resigned itself to profiting off of the degradation of the peoples who support it and the men at its forefront the most.
If nothing else, videos and lyrics like that of “Rich $ex” zero in on the self-work we as a community have to do to be more proactive about ensuring Black women are uplifted instead of degraded for the cause of fame.
Ashley J. H. is all about creating space for Black women’s visibility and magic to shine. Follow her on Twitter: @ashleylatruly