A Question of Loyalty: Becoming A Ride-or-Die Chick Is Easier Than You Think

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VIBE / October 27, 2010

Urban culture has made “Ride-or-Die” chicks the equivalent of the ultimate trophy wives, but just how far will you go for your man? Does gaining honor from your man mean doing everything from lying to stealing to keep him protected? 

It all started with a phone call. Between the background noise, commotion, and my boyfriend’s frantic tone, it was hard to make out what exactly was going on, but I could sense that he was in serious trouble. In our brief conversation he told me that he had to “lick shots” and asked me to throw some clothes together for him. He was obviously bugging. Instead of asking questions, however, I anxiously threw a change of clothes in a backpack, and waited for him to call me back. In that instance I had been transformed. I went from being a straight-laced graduate student to a ride-or-die chick in less than a minute.

Ride-or-die chicks have been heralded in hip-hop since it’s inception. From Ice Cube and YoYo’s “Bonnie & Clyde Theme” to Jay-Z’s “Me and My Girlfriend,” women who hold their partners down, no questions asked, have been revered by a culture that demands loyalty above all else (see hip-hop’s embrace of the Stop Snitching Campaign if you have doubts). Recently, the conversation surrounding ride-or-die chicks flared up again when T.I. and his wife, Tiny Harris, were busted for drug charges.

After the newlyweds were arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly possessing methamphetamines and marijuana, some hinted that Tiny should claim responsibility for the drugs to protect T.I. from violating his federal parole, and possibly being sent back to prison. 50 Cent even took to Twitter and encouraged Tiny to swallow the charge for her man. “Man TI and tiny done got picked up again for methamphetmines and ecstacy dam manTiny gotta take that charge. Say it was yoursBaby.”

The fact that many were even suggesting that Tiny claim responsibility for the drugs simply to protect her husband was extremely problematic for a few reasons. Those arguing that Tiny cop to the charges weren’t doing so because they were concerned about T.I. potentially facing years in prison–they wanted her to admit guilt so that T.I could be free to continue making music, thus satisfying their interests, not Tiny’s. Furthermore, even suggesting that Tiny cop to the drugs shows a lack of concern for her children, largely because she has been their primary caretaker. Once again, many were asking a woman to “hold down her man” with a blatant disregard for how it would effect her.

Being a ride-or-die chick comes at a steep price. A few hours after my boyfriend’s hysterical phone call, six NYPD detectives showed up at my door asking to search my apartment. Although I had a vague idea of where he was, an overwhelming sense of loyalty prevented me from being completely honest with the officers. The cops tried their best to pressure me to share any information that would lead to my boyfriend’s location, but I didn’t budge. Luckily, I didn’t end up in handcuffs, charged as an accessory (although they threatened this), however, for many unintentional ride-or-die chicks, it doesn’t always end up this way.

Read the rest of the story at Clutch Magazine