Let’s just say, hypothetically, I had to choose between two women solely off the following sentences.
Woman 1: “I want somebody to kiss me on my neck.”
Woman 2: “Let me put this pussy on your sideburns.”
Chances are I would take Woman 1, right? Chances are most of us would.
Okay, let’s say Woman 1 had three children by three different men, one of whom she is currently dating but not married, all three of them are rappers. Woman 2, on the other hand, has never been associated with dating a rapper, though she sure does hang out with a lot of them.
Both women essentially have the same profession. They’re performers. Both women have shown a lot of skin for the sake of public consumption.
Which one would you encourage me to choose now?
I am going to take my chance and say Woman 2 will get the benefit of the doubt, because we all know what kind of irrational judgments we make on women who have kids with rappers.
Now, let’s give these two women names.
Woman 1 is Erykah Badu.
Woman 2 is Nicki Minaj.
Now, which one should I choose? Is it back to Woman 1, if so, why?
Today, I’m not writing about deciding between Nicki Minaj (been there, done that) and Erykah Badu, so much as I am talking about the way we let some artists get passes because they make the music we like, while other artists get snap decisions made about them simply because we associate their music with our more sinful sides, or we don’t like their music at all.
For her artistry, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Erykah Badu, largely because I know her in no other capacity but through her art. The music she makes resonates deeply with me. Even as a man, she is probably one of the best singers at conveying a wide range of emotions through the power of song. So I will say this again, just so we understand each other: I have nothing but the up most respect for Erykah Badu.
That being said, I do have a fundamental problem with many of her female fans who are quick to tear down other female artists like Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj on superficial grounds such as sexuality. For reasons I cannot possibly understand, Erykah Badu’s level of respect is far and above some of the highest given by her fan base, and yet, I am pretty sure, these same fans would have asked for the head of any female rapper with enough nerve to film a video entirely naked. And many men aren’t any better. Though I am sure plenty of men fantasized over Badu after her “Window Seat” video, I’m sure in their heads they were making sweet love to that woman. Meanwhile, the fantasies they have of any sexualized female rapper probably don’t even include kissing on the mouth.
I cannot lay claim to be some scientist who studies behavior for a living, but I have seen enough behavior by men and women to know the woman with dreads or the woman who sings always gets more respect than the woman with a perm or the woman who raps. And frankly, it’s a bad look.
Though there were plenty who cried foul over Badu’s latest video, and plenty more who declared it art on another level, what became clear to me is this: Badu, because she makes the kind of music we light incense to, was getting a pass by everyone except the good old boys down at the Dallas Police Department. And even though I most certainly am one of those who did see the video’s artistic value, I also recognize the artistic value in pole dancing. Of course I would like to date a woman who is more like Badu, less like Minaj, but it wouldn’t be because one is on a higher level than the other. It would probably be because I like women who wear head wraps. Don’t judge me.
Jozen Cummings is a frequent contributor of VIBE.com and hosts his own blog Until I Get Married.