I am happy to say that I have finally gotten enough free time to be able to go through my iTunes and cut out all the old music I don’t listen to anymore. When I got to the Ns and started deleting Nelly songs, I was intrigued to remember that I had his old song “Tip Drill” from way back when I was a teenager. I remember being shown the video by an old friend, one that was both shocking and profanely exciting in nature to me in discovering my new-found feminine sexuality.
I looked at it yesterday more shocked and disgusted, as opposed to naughtily intrigued. For those not familiar with this pornographic piece of art (NSFW, so watch at your own discretion), it was a highly controversial music video that came out in 2003 that took sexual degradation in mainstream rap videos to an extreme, displaying dozens of African American women butt-naked and simulating sexual acts with each other while the rappers in the video touch them in a sexual manner.
As I sat there watching, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video, but the main difference between Robin Thicke and Nelly is that this video was intensely disrespectful to women of color: one definition of a “tip drill,” according to Urban Dictionary, is a “girl with a great body but a fucked up face,” which relates directly to the lyrics “it must be her ass, ’cause it ain’t her face.” While Nelly always simply defended this video as “adult entertainment,” it was clear that he felt he bore no responsibility in perpetuating instances of hatred for women of color, his insulting justification being that this kind of misogyny existed long before he continued to carry the torch.
This brings me to another important instance of sexism that I encountered this week in my own personal life: a University of Toronto professor coming under fire for his recent comments about not wanting to teach women writers. The Internet exploded over David Gilmour’s comments, which he claimed were sarcastic and meant as a joke, and U of T students even went so far as to petition to get Gilmour removed as an instructor. Meanwhile, these forms of hatred are forgotten about.
These are just some quick, preliminary thoughts on this newly rediscovered video, but I feel as though feminists are quick to jump all over a white man’s comments and take luxurious amounts of time to demonize him for a stupid comment, but these lengthy forms of visual sexism and oppression do not receive the same amount of attention, and a lot of it has to do with who is being victimized, in this case, black women.