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Although we didn’t need it (or ask for it), July has done an amazing job of providing numerous reminders that men can behave badly without facing much in the way of consequences—while women are not as fortunate.
During a July 25 interview with The Breakfast Club, rapper and Wingstop warrior Rick Ross was asked why hadn’t he signed a single female artist to his Maybach Music Group imprint, and his response had far more to do with cavalier libido and inflated entitlement than business acumen. “You know, I never did it because I always thought, like, I would end up fucking a female rapper and fucking the business up,” Ross said. “I'm so focused on my business. I just, I gotta be honest with you. You know, she looking good. I'm spending so much money on her photo shoots. I gotta fuck a couple times.”
The co-hosts chuckled it off, but his response shouldn’t be dismissed so easily. I enjoy Rick Ross’ music, but if you’re a “boss,” your dick should not have greater control over your actions than your working brain does. Likewise, a male music executive saying he needs sexual favors because he’s spent money on a female artist is textbook workplace sexual harassment. It’s as if Ross learned nothing from the backlash he received after rapping the following lines on Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.” in 2013: “Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain't even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain't even know it.” His lyrics and public statements suggest that he has little regard for consent and a gross sense of entitlement.
Days before Ross’ appearance, Tyga walked onto The Breakfast Club to promote his latest album, Bitch I’m the Shit 2, and provided his own cringe-inducing statements that suggest predatory behavior. When asked about a previous relationship with Kylie Jenner, whom Tyga started dating before she was legally allowed to give consent in the state both resided in, he mostly laughed off accusations of being a sexual predator. "We started off as friends," Tyga said about his relationship with Jenner. When host Charlamagne said that this caused some to brand him a "pedophile" and earned him comparisons to R. Kelly, Tyga replied, “I’m always ahead of the curve. I’m just always ahead of the curve.” Hell, Tyga even boasted about previously working with R. Kelly when asked if he would collaborate with him.
Speaking of Pissy, despite the recent explosive BuzzFeed story accusing him of running a restrictive, brainwashing sex cult, he has continued to enjoy steady concert ticket sales. This is a man currently accused of controlling when the women living with him bathe, shower, eat, and use the restroom. He is accused of housing women who serve no other purpose than to sexually please him. He is also a man with decades of sexual misconduct accusations, who has reportedly paid millions in civil suits to teenage girls who have accused Kelly of inappropriate sexual relationships. Yet Kelly has suffered little professionally and continues to have the support from the likes of Academy Award nominated actor John Singleton, who responded to the BuzzFeed story with claims that Kelly merely just has a bunch of girlfriends. His label hasn’t dropped him, he continues to book dates, and other artists continue to work with him.
Now, compare these men and the freedom they enjoy despite what they say and how they act with the career of Azealia Banks.
In a recent interview with XXL, the rapper reflected on the state of her career, and how, after several public beefs and numerous self-started scandals, she has been largely shut out by the mainstream. “People are very scared to be associated with me because of, you know, the controversy, I guess the skin bleaching or the ‘sand nigger’ or the ‘faggot” thing,” she explained, referring to her own history of egregious public statements. “I’m not sad about it, I’m not disappointed at the situation. I’m disappointed with myself for sure.”
Banks knows she fucked up, and while she wasn’t forthright about her own role in dismantling public sympathy for her situation (she’s bashed Black media, Black radio, the fashion industry, etc.), she did raise valid points about the double standard in the industry. Speaking on male artists who “have their career setbacks and go through things,” Banks said that many fans will look the other way because of their artistry—naming Kanye West and R. Kelly as examples. “I don’t feel like I ever got that kind of empathy,” Banks said. “I never got those kinds of privileges, I never got those kinds of allowances, especially coming in the rap game without any real rap friends. I basically came in the building by myself. There was nobody to validate me, there was nobody to vouch for me or whatever, and I got mishandled a lot.”
T.I. went on Instagram and threatened violence against Azealia Banks and later refused to apologize. Kanye West is, in some ways, not that different from Banks, given his own history of questionable comments about Black people. Then factor in the time he was asked about Tyga dating Kylie Jenner, his sister-in-law, and quipped that Tyga was “smart” for “getting in early.” He also said some fairly despicable things about his ex, Amber Rose, in that same Breakfast Club interview. Nothing happened.
Nothing ever tends to happen, which is why it’s highly unlikely Rick Ross will get the kind of pushback he deserves for announcing that he’s, essentially, pro-sexual harassment. The same goes for Tyga once again shrugging off the reality that he dated a young girl before she could legally give consent. Azealia Banks is a complicated observer, given her past, but she’s not wrong when she outlines this ongoing problem in the music industry.
If a woman has to suffer for her actions, so should every man—especially men allegedly engaging in far more heinous acts than hers.