Yesterday, a host of blog posts/Tweets went up as video clips revealed Jay Electronica on two occasions asking concert goers about their feelings regarding oral asphyxiation during sex for women. Needless to say, a lot of folks expressed their discontent for the rappers’ “lack of sensitivity,” “sexism,” etc.

Is riling up a group of Hip-Hop concert attendees about choking women during sex the most responsible thing to do? No. However, I’m not surprised that Jay Elec didn’t know that. I’m not calling him ignorant about women’s issues—we know that he rolls with at least two highly intelligent and outspoken ladies (Dream Hampton and Erykah Badu)—or giving him a free pass to say anything he pleases because I dig his music. But as there is tremendous pressure for rappers to be hypermasculine and hypersexual, as there is such a climate of accepted misogyny in the Rap world, and as American culture in general is extremely tolerant of both subtle and aggressive sexism . . . it doesn’t seem surprising to me that he would feel totally innocent in saying something like, “Is it true that all women like getting choked during sex?”

There are nasty, vile expressions of woman-hate (say, a rapper yelling out, “F*ck these b*tches and get money!”), and then there are irresponsible, insensitive statements that can be teachable moments for not only the person who said them, but for the fans and onlookers who have so much to say in their reactions. The question for me is not, “What’s wrong with Jay Electronica?”, but rather, “What’s wrong with America that our men don’t know that you can’t just say sh*t like that all willy nilly?”

What are the takeaways here, kids? One, the concept of consent. We are still trying to drive home the concept of “No means no” in the minds of far too many folks, so I don’t doubt for a minute that a LOT of men would think, “Let me ask this girl if I can wrap my hands around her neck while I’m hitting that.” In order to make sex both positive and pleasurable (and LEGAL) for all parties, consent is king. Also, we need to remain mindful that people have all sorts of past histories with sexual abuse and violence, and that any sex act that may somehow resemble those things should be discussed with a certain level of care. We know now that Jay Electronica won’t be yelling about choking at any more shows, but now let’s also help Jason Ellis to understand why he shouldn’t blurt out “Who likes choking?” at a tipsy dinner party with his classmates.

Finally, let us be reminded that in order to effectively hip people to this feminist sh*t, we can’t go straight to whooping and hollering and calling people sexists and throwing them away. The end goal is change, not massive exoneration. So let’s ensure that when someone says or does something like this, they receive clear and concise information as to what was wrong/offensive in hopes that they understand and adjust their behavior accordingly. “Damn, Jay, what were you thinking? is one thing; “F*ck is wrong with Jay Electronica? What a sexist a$$hole!” is another.

If you really know about gender politics, then you should understand how easy it is for a man (or woman) to do or say some really misogynist stuff, because there are so few spaces in which they are taught better. Do we want to react with the sort of venom that makes our folks life long foes of feminism, or do we want to develop allies? Dream Hampton tweeted yesterday that she called her boy, had a long thoughtful discussion, and he now understands why his words were offensive. That’s what we we want, correct? If he pops up with the “Choke a chick” talk in three months, then send in the cannons. But, for now, let’s be glad that a whole lot of folks had a chance to learn something about this gender thing.

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  • secretaddy

    Ok so watch this video,

    its the extended one of Jay’s second video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUSZmp0XkFQ&feature=player_embedded#!

    A woman reacts and is COMPLETELY silenced !

  • a daughter of yemonya

    I was quite excited upon hearing about JE’s signing with JZ (I am no fan of JZ’s music but when he speaks I do enjoy to hear him and knows he exhibits signs of simple brilliance…the dichotomy…hmmm). I thought the signing could be a push for more intelligiable music, and interplanetary audial lyrics and images being heard in mainstream airwaves. I was born and grew up alongside hip hop and now that I am an adult I am looking back at not only my development through the years but hip hop’s as well… I am curious…

    I have just recently (yesterday) come upon Jay’s comment and have gone through a myriad of emotions and at the very root of it I am confused and concerned at the state of the world especially as it relates to women. My husband and I have been avid appreciators of J.E. and his music, lyrics and overall character (from what we of course are privy to). I too understand we are all human…however, I do find this situation very baffling on many levels but mostly unsetteling metaphysically, karmicly (not sure if it’s a word but I hope my gist is gotten;)) spiritually and even generationaly…I digress

    My husband and I went to a Mos Def concert in ATL and JE opened for him, we were just as excited to see him perform…his energy was off the charts his flow was fluid and his charisma was aces. After his set he did something very different he led the whole audience in a non religious, universal yet sincere and divine word of non specific prayer. I thought the words he chose were poignant but the whole act quite different we both felt (after discussing on the way home that evening) that that prayer really set another tone for that evening and the crowd seemed more united (maybe it was just us). No one heckeled him, told him to shut up…I fact many of us united hands, hearts and spirits. And I am unsure of whether he did it at each and every concert but that is a thought worth pondering. BTW both Mighty mos and JE ROCKED IT that night!!

    I feel that had I gone to his concert in Seattle and he began or ended his set with the question he is NOW posing to audiences worldwide, I would have felt entirely different, not to mention the energy of the crowd. I know I would have left the building until Mos came on and then maybe would haven’t even stayed for his concert only feeling he could be “guilty by association” especially if it was polled at every concert…again I digress a bit…

    After the concert, a friend of our was good friends with Mos and wanted to introduce us which was an added bonus of the evening so we waited outside and while we were waiting we were graced by JE…he wasn’t talking to everyone either, but he came and spoke to us (a group of sisters and my husband) and we inquired about his daughter and her well-being and he beamed a ray of light and broke out his cell phone and shared pictures and a brief story about Mars. Being a mother of two, a wife, daughter and aunt I felt his joy radiate and was touched to be a part of that moment with him…So fast forward to the present when I heard, read and meditated on the poll/bet he is posing I found my disturbance in these points here…
    (Like you I know that consenting adults do what they like when they like and that’s one thing so rough sex, violent sex to each their own) BUT when attending a concert and having the person I am coming to see pose a question of this nature: 1.knowing there are minors present (he make his disclaimer in the video of him in Seattle) 2.knowing women are present and I am assuming this next point (based on the words he prayed at his previous concert) but 3.knowing the seed you are planting by stating a question of this nature in the minds of the public, the universe over and over again really upset me, saddened me and also alarmed me, at the lack of respect and consideration for the women from whence he came from and fathered. It alarmed me also because I had just seen a clip of Kanye’s new video Monster and there are many images just in the 40 second preview of women (mannequins) hanging from ceiling and Kanye kissing dead looking women, while fondeling their genitalia, and knowing the connection between KW, JZ and now JE and praying that this is not the next level of abuse on women. I really am not against nor in support of the conspiracy theories but I am aware of my ancestors and spiritual guides and the knowledge of the power of words and ritual and I do stand firm in stating that this is a dangerous thread to “gamble” with…I know for a fact if his under aged daughter went to a concert and this was a topic of discussion AND GODDESS forbid a choking/sex incident like this occurred to his underaged daughter IT WOULD BE NO LAUGHING MATTER.

    I am aware as adults we are all given choices and it is up to us as individuals to make our choices (right or wrong) and deal with the outcomes (positive or negative). The reasons as to the “whys” of this question are mute to me…was it a pub stunt, is it an intiation, was it “male” humor, is it really just a bet, is it linked to a song or was it simply a joke. However, the repercussions are what concern me.

    I know we all make thoughtless mistakes and because I know of second chances I am prayerful that JE will step up and admit to his irresponsibilty of this poll and right the wrongs that he has set into motion…and if he doesn’t I can no longer support this brother based of the fact that I am a woman, daughter, sister, wife, and come from a divine line of women.

    I am grateful to you for this blog and posting and making a united stand.

    Peace, love and positive motion with the ocean by the light of the moon goddess…
    a daughter of Yemonya

  • a daughter of yemonya

    Peace to all, based upon the discussions and energy here with this topic (along with other situations of varying degrees) I am putting out a call to all women of all backgrounds, ages etc to join myself and several other women across the world in a very special healing full moon ceremony.

    The full Moon is a time when women would come together to celebrate themselves and the Spirit of Great Mother Moon. It is a time to give thanks for lessons and blessings since the last full moon. In this case this being the last moon of this cycle, it is time to reflect and give thanks for things received throughout the year and also to put prayers into the Universe for the upcoming year. Our ancestors new and worked with collective energy doing rituals and prayer circles together to add ashe, Spiritual power to the energy. We have the power to use that same energy to bring balance and harmony to our lives right now.

    INVITE YOUR MOTHERS, GRANDMOTHERS, SISTERS, AUNTS, SISTER FRIENDS AND ALL WOMEN TO COME AND JOIN US

    At 11:15 pm EST on December 21, 2010, we would like every woman to go outside, read aloud the group affirmation of unity, wealth, success and prosperity. While facing the moon lift your largest purse up towards the heavens and open it up asking the Moon to please fill up our bags with unity, wealth, success, prosperity and all good things for our collective upliftment While your purses are held high say fill them up 3 times.

    Affirmation:

    We come to you humble this evening and in prayer for the upliftment of our communities and for our families, children and for our own spiritual preservation. We ask for guidance to help direct our minds, and spirit in reconnecting with our truest selves, to know and to believe that our bodies are sacred vessels, that our wombs are the homes of the souls returning ,that we are not without fault but we must begin to forgive ourselves and others for any transgressions known and unknown. We pray for healing of our bodies, our spirits, and our minds. We pray for the upliftment of the children, that they will be protected, nurtured and loved.

    Please fill us up with joy, good health, hope, happiness, peace of mind, good character, gentle character, self love, self determination, moral courage, self-worth,& unity please fill up ours purses with prosperity, wealth, and abundance. Then say: (fill them up, fill them up, fill them up) (your confirmation statement)

    LET US UNITE, HEAL AND BRING BALANCE TO SITUATIONS SUCH AS THESE AND MANY MORE USING OUR FEMININE ENERGY, POWER AND CONNECTION TO MOTHER EARTH

    peace love and positive motion of the ocean by the light of the moon goddess

  • a daughter of Iya Oya

    F*CK JAY ELECTRONICA and mysogyny anywhere in hip hop this world or universe.

    I did a google image search of women who were raped, choked, and murdered. I noticed that it seems like a disproportionate number of these women are young black girls. Should we ask them to have verbalized their consent?

    Saying this once, apologizing, and then not saying it again at a concert (with underage fans) would have warranted for me that ‘Damn Jay What were you thinking?” But there were a lot of women – including myself – that told him at each concert in their own way ‘Damn Jay what were you thinking?’. However, Jay didn’t just say it once, he said it counteless times which is a blatant mysognistic act, and an abuse of the power that we give him as audience members.

    JAMILAH LEMIEUX please don’t fall into the trap of being that feminist who always wants to give it to our men lightly. Because people who do not want to change will use those women to justify their actions (i.e. secretaddy’s link where Jay say’s ‘Relax’ to a very brave woman who repletedly SCREAMS that “It’s Not Okay”.) Do you know how difficult it is to speak up in oppossition at a concert filled with fans about what someone is saying on stage? LETS ENCOURAGE FEMINISTS AND ALL WOMEN TO DO THAT.

    If YOU really knew about gender politics you would know why it’s important for women and survivors to VOICE there concerns with this in a diverse amount of ways and from the heart. Not about another woman telling us to play nice. I ‘played nice’ with him when I told him that “As a fan, people didn’t appreciate what he said, and neither did I.” He seemed to react more to when I mentioned ‘sound-bites’. But now that I know he’s been saying this so many times amid such unsettling screams of STOP! from so many different women makes it absolutely obvious to me that he deserves 1) the Pink Police of India, 2) the Healing Circle of the Dagara Peoples and 3) the Restorative Justice practices of the Indigenous People of this land. And more.

    This article makes it seem like sexism manifests in some slips of the mouth said at dinner parties and is not a part of all of us as colonized people raised in a centuries old patriachal system. There is a difference though in slipping up once or twice and repeatedly reinforcing something. Jay reinforced gendered violence with his words. He created his own mysogynistic teachable moments in multiple cities, for which many woman are still healing from. I am so glad that so many women have raised their own canons to oppose what he did in my own community and on the web. I CELEBRATE THAT!

    I will never listen to his music the same, I’ve tried, but can’t. He did that. Not me.

    Additionally there is a huge phenomenon of so called concious rappers and so called consious people in community being very abusive towards women. Know your allies. Until this man apologizes and donates that $20,000 to womens shelters and really opens up as publically as he did with his words on stage about his transgressions then he is not your ally. (Or at least he is not my ally). Why can’t us women be eachothers allies? Why can’t that woman who yells “You’re a sexist a**hole” be your ally? The reality is that at this point she is more of your ally then Jay. Acknowledge and honor that Sister.

    Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon Meditation Dec 21st, 2010. The moon is bright tonight!!!