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Lil’ Wayne’s sexist and misleading song “Gonorrhea”

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Lil’ Wayne’s new album that is being released digitally on iTunes today should be called “Women Aren’t Human Beings” instead of “I Am Not a Human Being.” His new song “Gonorrhea” captures how bad sexism in hip hop can really get. In the song’s verses he engages in the age-old strategy of vilifying an unknown opponent by likening him to a bitch, a word that has become a synonym for women for the umpteenth time. You see this tactic in a line like “you’s a bitch like zeta phi beta muthafucker,” a reference to members of the historically black sorority which includes greats such as Zora Neale Hurston or Violette Anderson, the first African American attorney.

While the Zetas may have a defamation case on their hands, Wayne’s decision to add the concept of gonorrhea into the fold ups the ante on his attack against women. Check out this saddening hook here:

I wish I never met ya, I wouldn’t wanna be ya
pussy ass nigga I don’t want your gonorrhea
pussy ass nigga I don’t want your gonorrhea
Yeah, I call it how I see ya
I wish I never met ya, I wouldn’t wanna be ya
pussy ass nigga I don’t want your gonorrhea
pussy ass nigga I don’t want your gonorrhea

This direct association with gonorrhea and pussies implies that only women contract and transmit this STI, even though the CDC reveals that for the eighth consecutive year, gonorrhea rates among men and women are similar. Thus, if Weezy’s project is to attack a male opponent by making a swipe at his metaphorical STI status, he doesn’t even need to bring women into the picture to get the point across. But for the likes of people like Lil’ Wayne, I guess it is far easier to reinforce sexist myths about STIs. While the song makes one reference to oral sex, an act that rarely leads to contracting gonorrhea, nothing is said about condoms or any other barrier method. This is especially disappointing when the song’s title is an STI that African Americans are 20 times more likely to get than white folks.

Over the years, I have become weary of projecting my sexual, political ideals onto artists just because they have influential platforms. Not everyone is going to have the political fortitude of folks like Lady Gaga. But an issue like Gonorrhea isn’t simply an STI that sounds cool to use against adversaries in hip hop, hypermasculinty land; it is a public health challenge plaguing black teenagers and young black adults. So he can save that “I am not a role model” shit. I could care less that today is his birthday and he is behind bars. All I know is: those bars he is behind haven’t prevented him from oppressing Black women and women in general.  Lil’ Wayne needs to take responsibility for his misleading and downright offensive message on STIs and use the occasion of being one year older to reflect on his sexist portrayals of women.

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