This is the first in a two-part series on “Becoming A Pop Culture Pirate,” inspired by the work of the original Pop Culture Pirate, Elisa Kreisinger.
By Carina S. Cruz
I start off every morning listening to my iPod. I bop my head to Kanye West, do the electric slide to Nelly’s “Hot in Here” (I know it sounds strange but it works perfectly) and mouth the words to songs by Nicki Minaj. And for the past 16 years of my life, I have been blind to the way that music portrays women.
Just the other day, I was walking home with my iPod on shuffle when the song “OMG” by Usher started to boom through my headphones. I secretly flipped out because it’s such a good song and I hadn’t heard it since it was playing nonstop on the radio six months ago. I began to slyly dance and mouth the words like I always do, but this time it was different. I began to think, “Why is it that not once did Usher — the master of love songs and sweet-talking — say something good about anything but this ‘shorty’s’ body?” This woman, no scratch that, “shawty,” that he apparently fell in love with in the club was nothing more than a sexy combination of a butt that caused you to think “my oh my” and boobs that screamed “wow oh wow.” Really, Usher? Does she not have a brain? Does she not have a personality? Does she not have an identity past her curvaceous body? According to you, and many other artists, she doesn’t.
Just to give you a little perspective, here are the lyrics to the first verse of the infamous OMG:
I fell in love with shawty when I seen her on the dance floor, She was dancing sexy, pop, pop, popping, dropping, dropping low, Never ever has a lady hit me on the first sight, This was something special; this was just like dynamite, Honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow, Honey got some boobies like wow, oh wow, Girl you know I’m loving your, loving your style, Check, check, check, check, check, checking you out like, Ooh (oooh) she got it allll, Sexy from her head to the toes, And I want it all, it all, it all
Maybe it was just me, but all I know about this love of his life is the fact that she has a nice body. We need to have more positive messages for teens to listen, dance and mouth the words to. Now, putting my remixing/song writing skills to the test, this is my version of this verse:
I fell in love with honey when I saw her walking down the street, You could tell with just one look that she had brains and personality, Never ever has a lady hit me on the first sight, This was something special; this was just like dynamite. This beauty got a mind that can solve cancer, Potential to do great things, plus she’s so funny, Girl you know I’m loving your, loving your smile, Think, think, think, think, think thinking bout you like, Ohhh (Oh) she got it all, Amazing from her head to her toes, And I love it all, it all, it all
I don’t want you guys to take away from this post thinking that I’m attacking Usher or that all of his songs are sexist, but I do want to leave you thinking this: What music do you listen to? What message are they sending? And, if these messages are negative, what can you do to change them? We are at a point in our society where we can allow these messages to live within mainstream media, and allow them to poison it by supporting them. When you click that ‘buy’ button on iTunes to that song — even though you know the lyrics objectify women — you’re supporting it. When you post that music video that shows women shaking their humps the entire video on your Facebook page, you just supported it. I’m not going to lie, I’ve done it too. This is exactly the problem.
We need to find a way to revolt against these messages and what better way to do it but by using the same sources all these other artists use…the media! So why don’t you try it? Make your own lyrics, remix your own song, make your own music video. Do whatever you want to do to give those negative messages one big “shove it!”