Jay-Z Shows No Change, Keeps 'Bitch'

I can’t say that I’m surprised to learn that no, actually, Jay-Z did not decide to call a moratorium on his use of the B-word—not Beyoncé’, not Blue, the other one—in his music. Over the past week several credible news sources reported that Hov had published a poem denouncing the use of “bitch” in his music from here on out. It was not an unbelievable allegation as “Glory,” an ode to his baby girl just days after her birth, revealed a proud father in awe of his “greatest creation."

Turns out, it wasn’t true. E! News finally caught up with a rep from Team Hov who confirmed the poem in question was not written by Jay–Z. “No word how the lyrics made it online, but it wasn’t from the rap mogul,” the source added.

?uestlove, a Jay collaborator and a close friend, also denied Jay’s vow to stop using “bitch.” He tweeted, “This just in: [Jay-Z] to me: ‘B*aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatch!!!!!!!! and tweet that.’”

I’ll admit, I was hoping the rumor was true. I was glad to think Jay had a personal change of heart. As the saying: When you know better, you do better. But I can’t say that I’m surprised to hear his team debunked the chatter. The lyrics didn’t quite sound Hov-ish; he’s a man who once referred to his then-pregnant wife as a “hot bitch,” and too, misogyny is such an intricate part of Jay-Z’s personal repertoire and hip-hop’s collective brand.

As Tricia Rose put it over on The Guardian, “Jay-Z and many other highly successful rappers (e.g, Snoop Dog, 50 Cent and Lil' Wayne) have expanded the visibility and value of aggressively sexist lyrics. And, frankly, if you want to find openly celebrated sexism against black women, there is no richer contemporary source than commercial, mainstream hip-hop.

Rose adds, “This hasn't happened because commercially powerful artists have randomly or dutifully dropped a sexist word here or there to punctuate an infectious beat. Whole identities in countless songs rely on excessively sexist behavior and name-calling to define the protagonist's power and importance.”

That said, I am surprised how many people thought one man’s alleged change of heart, even a man as powerful as Jay-Z, would or could make a difference.

Let’s imagine Jay-Z really did call the b-word a wrap. At most, it would be a nice gesture. This isn’t like the time Jay traded his jerseys for button downs, and just like that, you never saw anyone respectable and under 35 rocking them again. “Bitch” wasn’t going to suddenly disappear from the musical landscape--I’m saying, Too Short still has his favorite word, right?—much less a cultural one. Women were being degraded long before Jay-Z spat his first verse, and as writer Kirsten West Savali put it in her Clutch piece “Would We Rather Jay-Z Still Say Bitch?”, “misogyny did not begin with Jay-Z, it created Jay-Z.”

Mr. “I got 99 problems and a bitch ain’t one” (allegedly, “bitch” in that use was not a reference to a woman, as per Jay’s musical autobiography Decoded, but rather to an actual dog) just became one of its biggest missionaries, spreading misogyny throughout inner city hoods and Middle Earth suburbs like white holy rollers spread Christianity in 15th century Africa. So many men were infected before Jay, after him, and some because of him that Jay-Z’s alleged good will gesture might at best have been a vaccine, but it never would have been a cure.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”


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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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