And You Even Licked My Balls: A Black Feminist Note on Nate Dogg


So I have been thinking of Nate Dogg in general but rap music in particular and the difference between how I as a Black woman and how White men relate to rap music.

While I understand that sexism and patriarchy is systemic, that we LEARN and are taught how to be “men” and “women,” how to be racist, how to be sexist as well as  how to Love, how to forgive.

What I am getting at is, to be crude, we don’t pop out of our mommas knowing how to be men and women, we are taught from infancy on through blue and pink clothing,  girls being told to sit a certain way that is lady like, boys being told crying is weak, and not manly etc.

I also know that there are several structural things impacting the lives of Black men and women such as archaic drug laws, mandatory minimums, three strikes, the underdevelopment of public education, gentrification, police who shot and kill Black people with impunity, and the lack of good grocery stores in working class and low income neighborhoods. All this shit matters.

Culture matters as well. Culture meaning,  music, books, websites and films.

Culture is hegemony’s goon.

Which brings me to Nate Dogg. The recent coverage of his death clarified for me why some issues that I have thought of about rap music but didn’t have the language to articulate.

I am a little troubled over how White mens investment in Black mens misogyny in rap music isn’t interrogated. And how that shit impacts me and the women who look like me.

Society is organized by and for men.

And our lives in the US are hyper segregated racially.

By and large Black people don’t live around White folks, so most White men can experience the pleasure of singing “and you even licked my balls” in the comfort of their cars, homes and apartments, whereas a young Black man said to me nearly two years ago on 125th street that he wanted to “stick his dick in my butt.”

On the street, in broad daylight.

That shit was so absurd I thought HE was singing a rap song initially. No, he was talking to me.

Consequently, largely, White men are  not subjected to the kinds of violence and sexism that is sung about in the songs that Nate sang the hook on. As a Black woman, I am.

As a woman, as a Black women who Walks like she has a right to be in the street, this means my ass is toast.

For example, there is an officer in my neighborhood that harasses me so fucking much that I am now on a first name basis, Peace to Officer Anderson. Typically he stops me because there is apparently a 11pm curfew in DC for children under 18 on week nights. He normally asks me from his car, “Hey, how old are you.”  Dead ass, the second time he did it, I responded saying I was grown. o.O

After the third time, I was like “Mr. Officer whats your name because this is either the second or third time you have asked me that, and seeing as we are going to keep running into each other, I thought we could just on speaking terms.” He smiled. Doesn’t MPD carry 9mm’s too? Sassing officers of the state who carry legal weapons?  Ummhmm. And, he told me his name.

My clarity on this issue came about after I read a excerpt of a post on NPR about Nate Dogg by Jozen Cummings. He writes,

“There’s also “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Get None),” a song that was never chosen as a single from Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle but has become a favorite for many DJs trying to work a room. The song is a tour-de-force of misogynistic lyrics, but only Nate Dogg can make a verse about dismissing a one-night stand sound so sensitive and endearing.”

“Remembering Nate Dogg, Hip-Hop’s Hook Man”

by Jozen Cummings, NPR.org,  March 16th, 2011

(via beatsrhimesandlife)

Then I reblogged and responded on tumblr saying:

In some ways, Cummings comments re Nate Dogg remind me of why I think The Chronic and Doggy style are the Devil, in terms of rap music. Men in general and White men in particular have a different relationship to the kinds of violence that I am subjected to as a Black woman who WALKS like she has a right to be in the street. Shit…two weeks ago I told two dudes to kill me or leave me alone. Dead ass. This ain’t for play. This is our lives.

Have you ever thought about White men’s investment in rap lyrics by Black men that are hella outta pocket?

I went to look for Cummings racial identity and I learned that he is African American, Japanese and Korean, so I am not saying that he is White. What I am saying is that his writing about Nate Dogg’s misogyny reminds me of how when the misogyny bomb is dropped, people who look like me tend to get hit with hella sharpnel. Whereas White men get to live out their thug fantasies singing along with Nate “And you even licked my balls.”

The Chronic and Doggystyle are sonically genius, however, did they up the ante on allowing White men and even some Black ones live out their Black sex fantasies?

Do you see the connection between Black women and White men that I am trying to make, why or why not?

Comments

  1. The question is, what is the CONNECTION between me as a white male and you a black woman who feels the negative effects. The issue I see here is the extreme DISCONNECT. We are so culturally distanced that your average white male (living in a equally white neighborhood) is so unaffected by your struggle that we are completely unaware.

  2. Wow,

    Sosa, thank you for your comment.
    Those 60 words are powerful.

    Can I repost them within a blog post?

    -Renina

  3. Feels good learning.

  4. pow! this dialogue is awesome.

    i used to think about white men’s investment in black men’s misogyny while in undergrad at my PWI… the few times i did bar hop, how uncomfortable i felt. and would need to check myself for not giving brotha man the same side eye… or for reciting the lyrics my damn self.

    i feel the same way about white men and sir mix alot. they go GA-GA for those songs…

    i dig the point about how and where those songs are enjoyed. the frat parties and bars are one thing, but class presents an issue of public vs private lives…and the street harassment you and i may face on the daily is def indicative of the very public lives black and/or poor people have historically lived here. and when ur ish is on front street, all ur mess is too.

  5. As a woman who looks like you and comes from a similar urban area, I see your point.
    It has been my experience that hip hop has just given voice to African American men. As you know, I have quite a few years on you. I have experienced being yelled at from passing cars, long before rap became popular. I’ve had my a$$ grabbed by random men in the club. I’ve had my personal space invaded by random men.
    I’ve had to explain to a white man why I was offended by what a black man said to me(this has happened at work.)

  6. If you were a man, you would have the right to choose awareness of misogyny in music… the right to choose awareness of this misogyny’s effect on you, your gender mates and the women around you. and if you choose this awareness, you are instantly rewarded for doing so. Your words would be instantly legitimate. or you could ignore the connections, effects, and consequences of this flagrant misogyny. But you, as a Black woman with no choice but to be constantly assaulted by melodic misogyny forge ahead and confront it expecting no accolades. Thank you. Just wanted to say thank you for speaking of connections, effects and consequences. Thank you for confronting and challenging. Hip hop is a tough one to crack – we have been so deeply wired to be unable to disassociate it from sexism, violence, misogyny and heteronormativity. So thank you! (by the way, “lick my balls” is now stuck in my head)