What’s Sex Got to Do With Usher?

Usher has imparted many #1 hits unto the world. From “U Make Me Wanna” to “Confessions” to “OMG,” Usher has graced us with not only his voice, but also his softer, more emotional side. However, what happens when Usher switches gears and speaks about his relationship… with a stripper!?

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Domestic Violence Illustrated in Hip Hop Videos

As an avid listener of hip hop and rap, I am pretty familiar with the different types of vulgar statements and crude comments towards opposites sexes. Most hip hop and rap songs are about sex, love, money, drugs, and other things paired with catchy, head bopping beats. I don’t really watch the music videos to the songs I listen to, but as I was writing my last blog, I was decided to listen to a song by a rapper I have been listening to named Kevin Gates on youtube. Kevin Gates is a 28 year old rapper from New Orleans, Louisiana. He is pretty much an up and coming rapper, and he was named to the 2014 XXL Freshman Class- among the rest of the top new rappers and artists who have bright futures ahead of them. I was really in the mood to hear a song of his called Satellites, and to understand why the song is called Satellites I had to do a little thinking beyond the lyrics. I thought, what would being torn between his girl and his hustle have anything to do with a satellite. Well, being that a satellite is an outside object controlled by something it once was attached to, Kevin Gates is being controlled by his hustle because he depends on it, but his girl wants him to stay home with her.

I decided to take a little break in my writing to decompress myself and I watched the music video. As the music video progressed, the situation between Kevin Gates and his girl worsened as he got deeper and deeper into his hustle. My reason for writing this post is because of one particular scene where he wakes up in the middle of the night, when he gets a call from a client in need of whatever it is that he deals. He wasn’t going to deny easy money, as any successful hustler would tell you, and he went to get up from bed and do his business. However, his girl woke up in this process and she was visibly upset. The expression on Kevin Gates face said that he was tired of her trying to control him and tell him what to do, and he looked frustrated. As she gets up to make him stay, he grabs her and throws her rather forcefully back onto the bed. As he gets ready to walk out the door, the negative physical contact between the two continues. As soon as I saw this, the idea of domestic violence came popped straight into my head. Although no one was really hurt during this little altercation, what makes it okay for a rapper playing himself in a music video to grab a girl forcefully by the shoulders, shake her, and then throw her onto the bed? I am very sure that kids younger than I have seen this music video, and what if they see it and think that it is okay? Have a look, skip to about 1:35

My mind started going into gender studies mode, and I started to wonder if maybe domestic violence was a pattern in his music videos. Just like I had thought, domestic violence is depicted yet again in his music video for a song called ‘Posed To Be In Love. In this song, he raps about the girl he is supposed to be in love with, although they broke up, and how she she left him to be in the terrible relationship she is in now. When his ex girl comes home late at night, her new boyfriend is up drunkenly waiting for her, and when he sees her, he gets mad and beats her. She is seen thereafter in the bathroom crying with a big bruise on her face. Is Kevin Gates trying to show us something here? We all know that beating a woman is bad, and is a cowardly thing to do as a man. Instead of hiding from it, Kevin Gates is not afraid to show that domestic violence exists in everyday relationships. I personally feel a little bit uncomfortable watching a woman being beaten, so I wouldn’t want someone younger than me to watch a music video like this one. What do you guys think? Possibly he grew up in a situation like this one in a rough childhood in New Orleans. Do you think it is okay to broadcast such actions when he knows possibly millions of people will see the video? Let me know! Here’s a link to the video by the way, skip to about 1:20!

What’s sex got to do with…Final Reflections

For me, the most important concept to understand the relationship between sex and society is heteronormativity. The Oxford dictionary defines heteronormativity as “denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.” Throughout the semester we have seen how much this concept plays out in our modern world despite burgeoning support for the LGBTQI community.

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Whats sex got to do with… “Sexy Can I”

 

The song “Sexy can I” by Yung Berg, Ft. Ray J, is arguably asking for sexual consent throughout the song. Starting almost every line with “Sexy can I” asking if he can perform sexual pleasures in different kinds of ways. Some may argue that this is a form of sexual consent because of the use of such explicit language talking about how the way she shakes “it” makes him like “oh”.

“Girl how you shake it, got a nigga like (oh)

It’s a Kodak moment, let me go and get my camera”

 

“Sexy, can I, visit you at work?

While you slidin down the pole, no panties, no shirt

Then you climb back up the pole, then you drop and do the splits”

Debra Tolman, writer of “Adolescent Girls Sexuality” would use the terms “sexual subjectivity” and “sexual socialization”.  She would use the term sexual subjectivity for either the male or the female, because the male is expressing himself as in he is entitled to having the sexual feelings he is having and making the active decision on talking to the girl in sexual ways.  While for the female (A dancer), she is putting herself out there shaking her booty and swinging on the pole; she is entitled to her sexual behavior.  For the term sexual socialization, it would be toward the woman; because she is socialized that woman should be the object of a man’s desire.

The women he is talking about in this song are viewed as sexual objects and are being used to sell the song.  Could this be viewed in the Marxist approach?  She is using her body to make money, while Yung Berg and Ray J are using her to sell their song to the public.

Steven Siedman in “The Social Construction of Sexuality” states that sex is viewed as social.  That people are born with sexual nature and are biologically driven to engage in procreative behavior; social factors influence with whom this behavior is engaged with (11).  With this said, some may view this song as no problem, because it is natural for these behaviors to happen.  The girl has the mindset that she is a sexual object for the man and it is her job to please him.  This heterosexual behavior is natural throughout history (10).  How do you think the public may have perceived this song if it was guy to guy or girl to girl?

 

Sex is a huge part of today’s culture now, so it is a primary seller.  You see it everywhere, not just in music but in all of the entertainment business and fashion business, like underwear and lingerie.

What are your impressions on society using sex as a big time seller?  Do you think the song would have sold if it were a female singing to a male?