Posted by Nora Grubb
Two weekends ago, Skidmore's Entertainment Company (SEC) answered your Facebook pleas and delivered: Danny Brown and Action Bronson graced us with their presence at Big Show. We didn't want the downright depressing Dirty Projectors serenading the dirty hippies again, did we?
Skid kids came from all circles, bobbing their heads and singing to the music - granted, most of these kids were on some sort of illicit drug and alcohol combination but hey, I don't judge. The turn out alone proved that these artists were talented musicians with formidable stage presence. Yet their misogynistic portrayal of women kept me from fully enjoying the show. Bronson's fondness for the word "bitch" and Brown's lyrics like, "like a cue ball in a pool hall: we all hitten!" and, "these bitches suck my dick like it's a moral incentive!" left me questioning why I was supporting these artists by attending the show in the first place.
Don't get me wrong - I listen to rap. I even like rap. I appreciate the charisma, the cleverness, the rhyme, the meter, what have you. Yet, two weeks after their performance, I still wonder if it was okay for Skidmore to host artists with such a misogynist agenda.
Voicing this concern to my friends, most of them wrote Danny Brown and Action Bronson's women-hating lyrics off as purely "entertainment," much more likely to question Danny Brown's hairstyle and than his lyrics.
I empathized with my friends. I knew they weren't misogynists themselves, they just wanted to enjoy the music for what they thought it was: entertainment. But by writing it off as entertainment, was Skidmore as an institution (one that educated young women before American women could vote) complying with misogyny? By hosting these artists, what is Skidmore subconsciously saying to female students who have been abused, sexually assaulted, raped, used, and degraded?
In an interview with Interview Magazine, Danny Brown said he is "not misogynistic" but was entertained by misogynistic lyrics when he was growing up; therefore, he makes music for his younger self, or the "12-year-old kid in front of my boom box." Action Bronson has not personally commented on the matter, yet his vile album artwork for "Saaab Stories" suggests he promotes and is aroused by the objectivity of women (the cover has Bronson looking carnivorously at the um, assets, of a scantily clad Asian woman while another stands watching in the bathtub).
Even if rappers do not embrace misogynistic attitudes in real life, it doesn't mean their lyrics are any less devoid of meaning. They have truth to them. The truth is that the music industry and society itself complies - even profits - with misogyny.
I'm not looking to condemn SEC - with several less popular Big Shows before them and looming financial interests, Danny Brown and Action Bronson could be considered SEC's saving grace. And I'm not saying to stop listening to Danny Brown or Action Bronson or any other rapper for that matter. Yet I urge Skidmore - a population of (I hope) curious, intelligent, and egalitarian minded students- to ask themselves what it says about Skidmore as an institution when we invite and attend the performances of artists that profit at the expense of women. Hopefully, by doing so, an open dialogue will be encouraged and we will reconsider inviting like-minded musicians to our campus in the future.