I don’t know about you, but calling me a b*tch will do little but get me upset.

Much like the n-word, I never understood how some women “reclaimed” this word and now use it as a term of endearment for their closest friends. Or worse, how a man could fix his lips to call his significant other his b*tch (*cue Jay-Z*). Parsing out the inflection in someone’s voice when they use the b-word takes too much effort, so I don’t use it as anything but a dagger, and even then, I reserve it for only the vilest folks—both male and female alike.

You see, I come from the Latifah School of Queendom, and back in ’94 when I was coming into my own her in-your-face song, U.N.I.T.Y., which challenged any man (or woman) who dared to step to her wrong, became my anthem. Years later it inspired my first foray onto the web. And even today, now that I’m on the other side of 30, it is still is my go-to joint when I need a bit of a pick-me-up.

As an avid hip-hop head it sometimes feels like we’re in an abuse relationship. I love the music that doesn’t quite love me the way I want it to, and too often seems like it is on a mission to break me down. But sometimes artists shine through and remind me why I fell in love with hip-hop in the first place.

This time Lupe Fiasco takes the reins and explains why being the baddest b*tch on the block is a hollow victory.

Check it.

*Via WhoUCallinABitch

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29 Comments

  1. MsDiannaT

    I don’t like this video or song for many reasons:

    1. Why is it only addressing the woman and how she needs to respect herself?
    2. Why does it not address all the male rappers that started this whole “b*tch” craze?
    3. Just because a woman want’s to call herself or be called a “b*tch” and dress provocatively doesn’t make her any less than. She could be just as smart or smarter than someone wearing a skirt suit.

    I don’t call myself or my friends bitches because I think it’s disrespectful, but who am I to say it’s wrong for someone else to do that. I see this video as another way for the world to tell women to stop being hoochies and policing our lives so we can raise better children when in reality, irresponsible women are not the biggest issue.

    Btw, I used to love Lupe. Now, not so much. After his comments about the President, I was done.

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    • Ms. Information

      A woman calling herself a bitch i.e. female dog automatically subverts her position…just because males started it doesn’t mean women have to perpetrate it.

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    • Huh? He is addressing rappers. Did you not see the goon in blackface? In the lyrics he’s focusing on telling a story about a young girl and boy who misunderstand the term due to how the media feeds it to them, but the video is a full on attack on both the rappers and the models in the industry…

      Anyways, I dig this song and video (I’ve seen it so many times today watching MTV Jams). I feel like he simplified his delivery and chose a catchy, club banger beat just so he wouldn’t go over the heads of those people who REALLY need to receive this message. Good job Lupe, and nice dreds.

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    • The video doesn’t say the woman needs to respect herself, and it does address the male rappers. The second verse of the song is about male rappers and the videos they make and the words they say and the influence that has. The video also shows the male rapper in blackface and in tears, implying that he is part of turning rap music into minstrelsy and selling-out/degrading himself, the artform and his people.

      I didn’t get from the video the overwhelming message that the woman needs to respect herself more. I got the impression that there are a lot of things going on in terms of how popular songs and messages are interpreted, and that they have real-life consequences in terms of how we as black people relate to each other. The little girl grows up to believe that the ultra-sexual video-girl, the “bad bitch” is the model of empowered womanhood, and she seeks to emulate that. The little boy grows up hearing the praise of bad bitches, and somehow constructing and fitting that into the ideal of a woman like his mama. So then when that little boy and that little girl grow up and try to connect with each other, it’s different because they have gotten different messages from popular culture and have interpreted and internalised them in different/conflicting/confusing ways, making it difficult for them to understand and relate to each other in a meaningful way. I means there’s a lot going on in the video in terms of commentary on racism, sexism, pop culture and the influence of the media, the function of family in shaping a person’s life perspectives, the responsibility we have, as adults, to children in our community.

      I think overall the song isn’t about the little girl/woman – Lupe makes it clear that both she and the little boy and young and impressionable and are just picking up and absorbing the messages society sends them. It’s fundamentally a song directed to society and to the folk in popular culture who are producing those messages, and it’s saying “Consider what you’re saying; consider who’s hearing it, consider the message you’re sending and the impact it has.” In that sense it is *exactly* addressing “all the male rappers that started this whole “b*tch” craze”.

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    • msmicia

      Hnmmm save the fact that the last pat of your comment makes me decidedly skeptical of your opinion *just because the man is black and in a position of leadership doesn’t mean he’s above criticism* but to respond to the whys your speaking of he DID address both sides quite well if not in lyric in image. But basically he’s making you question why the language and imagery TOWARDS women is accepted by and relished in by said women. I feel the same about all cursing and abusive speech including the ever cherished n word we’ve claimed ad a people. What he’s saying is require more of and for yourself ad a woman. It starts with US. Were the givers of life and the nutiterd if our sins and daughters not a rapper it an actor. All Lupe I’d doing is putting up a mirror to some people’s faces. If you think it isn’t about you then…it isn’t. But don’t throw rocks and one of the few influential black artist trying to elevate the people. He’s only one young man. He can’t single handedly and in one song no less address all the problems that the youth in black America face. But at least he’s TRYING and that why I got mad love for him.

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    • I completely agree! I used to love Lupe too, but this video feels a lot like he is blaming women for the proliferation of the word bitch. The little girl is in the wrong and the boy is in the right (or maybe in the wrong because of his mother, yet again blaming a woman). And just because a woman dresses provocatively does not make her any less “respectable.” Just so many problematic themes in the video I could not get over.

      For the record, Lupe claims the use of the word nigga, so its weird that he’s taking such issue with the word bitch. Why doesn’t he see the parallels?

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  2. ChillyRoad

    Well lets put our money where our mouth is and support artist like this.

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  3. I wish more rappers told a positive message through their music like Lupe showed through this song. Very powerful message. He’s back !

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    • ChillyRoad

      If you build it, they will come.

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  4. Ms. Information

    Can’t wait to hear the backlash from the Lil Wayne and Nicki look a likes in the video..lol

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  5. NewLook

    Didnt watch the video and probably never will. I dont need Lupe Fiasco telling me whats right vs. what’s wrong…Got my education for that.

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    • msmicia

      Its a big bad world out there and you’re Finns need more than your very expensive education. What this young man is doing through art is to me just as influential and important as what professors do at whatever educational establishment you are currently enrolled. What he’s focussing and so brilliantly paired with black face historical references is enough to take up a while semester course. But of course mist universities care very little about uplifting our race and EDUCATING those who can’t afford to pay for it.

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