No Sign: Rape Doesn’t Belong in Your Rants, Yeezus

No-Sign is a regular feature that gives an in depth opinion on whatever deserves a proper verbal thrashing.  Basically, instead of earning a highly esteemed Co-Sign, it’s about to catch fade on a No-Sign.  In this edition, Kanye West, once again, is over the top with his latest rant when he aligns paparazzi relations with victimization, and takes it too far.

 

Earlier this month, self-proclaimed gawd, Kanye West, went on another rant (surprise, surprise…not) at the London’s Wireless Festival further splurging on his overzealous hatred for the paparazzi, although the kid actually mustered boo’s from the crowd for this one particular spout– and rightfully so as Mr. West took his alliterations too far this time around by comparing the act of having his photo taken to rape.

You read correctly: apparently to Kanye West, having the paparazzi snap his photo is within the same thread as being raped.

To quote Kanye directly:

“I want to bring my family to the movies without 30 motherfuckers following me. Everybody needs a day off. Everybody out here likes sex, right? Sex is great when you and your partner be like, ‘Hey, this is something we both wanna do.’ But if one of the people don’t wanna do that, what is it called? That’s called rape. That’s called violation…Anytime I tell the truth when I get up here, everybody thinks it’s so crazy, right? And the media paints me as if I’m some sort of villain or like I’ve got a bad bone in my body. I’m really more of a porcupine or a blowfish. And the photos they always take is when that blowfish is blown up or when that porcupine is defending itself from the lies and control and the manipulation that you deal with if you are an artist. Sometimes, my response is to go, ‘Ahh!'”

To be completely honest, Kanye, you have my empathy. You can’t really go anywhere without a dozen cameras trailing after you, your baby girl isn’t going to have a normal childhood as much as you want her to and you have to be on your best behavior and smile to satiate that media’s hunger for your face and image, even when you don’t feel like it that particular day. But that’s the other side of the coin here: you’re a celebrity. Countless numbers of stars are proponents of class when it comes to playing that role of celebrity, and as a result are painted as so by the media (for the most part.) In short: you gon’ act a fool, you gon’ look like a fool. Simple as that, Mr. West. That celebrity job posting you signed up for and viciously demanded does carry the fine print of: “paparazzi and cameras guaranteed.” Maybe the next time you’re demanding the royal scepter, you better make sure you’re strong enough to carry it.

But even then, this edition of No Sign isn’t entirely centered on Kanye’s attitude toward the paparazzi and whether or not he’s being hip-hop’s largest hypocrite on the matter. Kanye has said some absurd things in the past, and this probably won’t be the last we hear from him whether we like it or not. But his allusion of having his photo taken to rape is a bigger no sign that is outside of Kanye West and his antics.

The comparison shows a very real lack of empathy towards victims of rape, largely to women that are victims of it. Even in the 21st century, there are numerous accounts of women, namely young girls, becoming victimized to acts of power and violence that are out of their control. What’s worse, in this age of advanced technology and social media, these incidents are being documented and spread around on social media platforms, further imposing onto these girls significant amounts of shame and degradation – all of which are out of their control.

A recent social trend that fortunately has turned a positive out of a negative is the #Jadapose. Formerly, the #jadapose was a mockery of one, 16-year-old Jada, who became a victim of rape after attending a friend’s party and had a spiked drink. What ensued afterward only came to fruition when Jada saw photos of her naked self shared through social media and text messages.

To add salt to the wound, young boys made the altercation a social media trend, imitating her pose and posting it on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – you name it. Kudos to Jada, for not only out of retaliation, but to raise awareness of these “rape culture trends” and to bring about its demise, decided to speak out, transforming the hashtag from one of humiliation to one of empowerment. That alongside other hashtags of a more positive nature – #IamJada, #StandwithJada, #Jadacounterpose, #JusticeforJada – have women across all platforms showing their support.

 

But that still raises a question: Why does this rape culture still exist? Why does the youth of today, particularly our young gentlemen, think it’s okay to set off a trend like that, or even make a joke out of it? What sets off the idea that a female body – no matter how inebriated – is rightfully theirs to control and manipulate; let alone document it and share it? A decade ago, Tupac Amaru Shakur said it best:

“Since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman got our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our women, why do we rape our women, do we hate our women?”

I can’t answer that question for you, Mr. Shakur, but maybe Mr. West can. Or maybe the kid that took advantage of Jada, and the other countless number of boys that shared and mocked that image of her. Kanye may have just made a rude parallel to rape, but that just goes to show how he doesn’t take the idea seriously, even when it’s proven to have ruined lives, as exemplified by Jada and countless others. And if Kanye doesn’t take rape seriously, who’s to say that anyone else will either?

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Nina Tabios

Nina Smoove aka Champagne Ninang. Certified hooligan. $F Bay Area born and bred.

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