Last week, "Rack City" rapper Tyga was announced as a headliner for Harvard's Yardfest on April 13. A Change.org petition, which so far as generated more than 1,900 signatures, called for pulling the artist from the festival.
In light of objections, the College's Office of Student Life asked the student-run College Events Board and Concert Commission to "re-evaluate" the invitation to Tyga, according to Harvard spokesperson Jeff Neal as quoted in the Boston Globe.
Quoth the petition:
Tyga is notorious for his explicitly and violently misogynistic lyrics. In his song “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” Tyga raps, “Need a bitch that can fuck, cook, clean, right. Turn a bitch out, make her lick twice.” In “Bitch Betta Have My Money,” Tyga raps, “Shut the fuck up and jump on this dick. Nothing but a motherfucking skank. Fuck what you talking bout and fuck what you think.”
The Harvard Crimson, the student paper, also weighed in:
His lyrics represent little more than damaging misogyny, and the College Events Board is sending all the wrong messages by bringing him to Harvard.
Strip clubs and other venues of "ill repute" have long been a musical trendsetters in the United States, from back when Jelly Roll Morton began his careers in the brothels of the American south. This can make for some odd cultural contradictions.
There is a long history of music fans outside of hip-hop holding double-standards regarding misogyny in hip-hop, seeing the music as a source of, rather than a window into cultural misogyny.
At the same time, there's really no reason to defend Tyga at this point. Don't commit the crime if you can't do the time, as they say. If Tyga wants to spazz out about bitches on wax, then it's hard to feel for the guy when people at Harvard would rather not hear it.