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In middle school and in my earlier years of high school, I played volleyball. And for volleyball we had summer training. And since I hadn’t gotten my license yet, my friend’s older brother would pick us up from our house and take us to volleyball practice at my high school, which, in hindsight, was completely unnecessary since we literally lived across the street from my high school.

But, truth be told, both of us had a thing for each other, so it worked. Every time he’d pick me and my sister up, he’d be bumping something. I remember I was in his car this first time I heard 702’s “I Still Love You.” Usually, he played some jams on our two minute ride from my driveway to the gym. But one day, we got in the car and as soon as he pulled out of my housing edition, he started blasting Three 6 Mafia’s “A$$ and Titties.” 

For those who are unfamiliar, the lyrics are far worse than the title. It goes, “A$$ and titties, A$$ and titties, A$$ and titties and big booty b*tches.” Later, one of the group’s members talks about how he’s just got to get his dick sucked. Real classy stuff.

It was pretty awkward. Not only was he the only boy in the car, his sister was riding shotgun. That was a song for a solo ride or for him and his boys riding around. But y’all know high school boys can be a little oblivious. So it was his sister who had to tell him to turn that off. Suddenly, it was as if the words and their meaning started seeping into his head. “Oh! Yeah.” And he switched to something else.

I would end up in his car as I got older and that never happened again. But that moment stayed with me.

I was reminded of it again when I listened to Toya Wright’s interview on The Breakfast Club. Toya told the crew that she’s all about respect. And she doesn’t allow the men she’s dating or the boys her daughter is dating to play derogatory music around them. Charlemagne was quick to remind her that Lil Wayne was her ex husband and father to her child. But she said, it doesn’t matter. And Wayne knows better than to bring that around her.

It was pretty interesting. I guess because the assumption is that if you get with a rapper, you automatically approve of his content. But for Toya, not only is that not the case, she doesn’t even want to hear it being played around her. Interesting indeed.

Her interview made me wonder what our readers thought about this topic. There’s no shortage of music that degrades and derides women. It’s everywhere, especially in Hip Hop. And seeing that Hip Hop is a Black art form, it’s supported heavily by Black people, men and women alike. We’re not going to even pretend that many of us haven’t, at one point or another, listened and enjoyed songs that didn’t exactly uplift us. “Loyal” was a huge hit. Still, some of us have made a conscious decision not to engage in that type of listening. But if our dates, boyfriends, or husbands haven’t, how do you want him to juggle his musical tastes with your need to be respected?

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