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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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Oscar Grant's Family Advocates To Have Fruitvale Station Named After Him

Nearly 10 years to the day of his passing, Oscar Grant III's family is aiming to build a tangible legacy in his honor. A request to rename Fruitvale Station in Oakland, Calif., the location where Grant was fatally shot by a police officer on Jan. 1, 2009, has been made. At 22, Grant was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer while he was handcuffed and face down on the train's platform. The officers were responding to a fight on a crowded train and apprehended Grant and other riders.

“It would be an atonement, it would be part of BART saying yes this happened here, we vow that it won’t happen again and we vow to work with the communities and ensure that all people are treated equally,” Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother, said.

According to KGO-TV, BART officials have declared the family's plea unlikely, not based upon the reason of the request, but rather that BART policy requires all stations' names to align with its geographical position. The Oakland transit system will instead install a mural honoring the late father. Currently, in the planning stages, the family also requested a side street at Fruitvale be named after their fallen family member.

Killed in the blink of an eye, Grant's case made him one of the many faces of police brutality. Cellphone cameras caught officers handcuff an unarmed Grant, who was later shot in the back. He died shortly after in a California hospital.

READ MORE: 'Fruitvale Station': Michael B. Jordan On the Many Layers of Oscar Grant 

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Study Shows Gun Violence Cuts African Americans Life Expectancy By Four Years Or More

Gun violence has seeped into the American culture sinking its claws into everyday life. With 53,492 shooting occurring in 2018, the result was more than 13,700 gun-related deaths, reported by the Gun Violence Archive.  A new study led by a professor at Boston University has found that the life expectancy of African-Americans has lowered by more than 4-years due to gun violence.

Based on federal data collected between 200o and 2016, the research concluded black Americans died more frequently due to homicide among younger ages, although white American gun deaths are linked more so toward suicide amid older folks.

Published Dec. 4 in the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine journal."Our study using cumulative data from 2000 to 2016 demonstrates a total firearm life expectancy loss of 905.2 days, which is nine times greater than observed in 2000, indicating increasing life expectancy loss by year," wrote Bindu Kalesan, the lead author of the investigation.

Furthering the discussion surrounding firearm injury, Kalesan inferred that gun-related injury causes American's to "lose substantial years." A common misconception surrounding shooting victims, only 30% of people struck by bullets die. However, the trauma endured is now linked to the shortened life expectancy.

One of the studies calculated in the 2000s, "concluded that shootings reduced the average American lifespan by about 100 days, with a significant gap between black and white men: Black men lost 361.5 days, while white men lost 150.7 days," wrote Nick Wing, a journalist at Huffington Post.

Two hundred and eleven days in difference, this study is a clear indication of the racial gap plaguing people-of-color in relation to the inherent violence suffered through life. Gun policy, a clear stain on the American fabric, has become a growing issue, claiming lives by the tens-of-thousands with no clear sign of slowing down. The research illustrates the growing issues within the black community, because not only are we being attacked from all sides, we engage in friendly fire.

READ MORE: Girl Who Penned Essay On Gun Violence Killed By Stray Bullet

 

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NYPD Officers Caught Strenuously Pulling One-Year-Old Out Of Mother's Arms

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has found itself in hot water after a video of officers using excessive force to remove a one-year-old from his mother's arms went viral.

Initiated by a verbal dispute with a security guard, a woman identified as Jazmine Headley was sitting on the floor with her son because there were no available seats in her local Brooklyn food stamp office. After being reprimanded by an employee in the benefits office for allegedly blocking the hallway, the cops were called on the 23-year-old.

Headley remained on the floor in the upright position until the officers began to pull at her baby, rushing to arrest and separate her from her child. Hands clasped tight around her child, the mother did her best to keep control of her son, until officers started pulling at the boy as if his limbs were made of rubber.

“They’re hurting my son," she repeatedly screamed while being attacked by four members of the force. Enraged bystanders witnessing the excessive encounter tossed comments about the happenings. After apprehending the baby, and securing Headley, one policeman reached for their yellow stun gun, threatening partons in the office according to The New York Times.

Headley is currently detained in Rikers Island, while the boy, Damone, remains in his grandmother's custody. As a source of advocation for the young mother, Cynthia Nixon, former Sex And The City actress and current day New York City politician, spoke out against the NYPD fiasco.

#JazmineHeadley should not have been arrested, should not have had her child torn from her, should not be sitting in Rikers now https://t.co/yyX0ZuxFhu

— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) December 10, 2018

READ MORE: NYPD Sergeant Acquitted Of Charges For The Death Of Deborah Danner

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