Nas clarifies what he meant about feminism being the “Woman’s Mafia”

Remember a couple weeks ago when we were all confused by what Nas meant when he sent out a tweet calling feminism “the woman’s mafia”? No? Was I the only one confused?

Anyway, last week, Nas clarified his tweet in a conversation at Georgetown University with Michael Eric Dyson. He responds to the question from an audience member and self-identified feminist at about the 49 minute mark:

“I don’t like extremists — not that feminists are extremists. When I said that’s the ‘woman’s mafia’… everybody needs an army. Every organization, group, it’s going to get grimy and bloody at some point, and everybody needs a mafia. I heard there was a lot of people that wanted to know what I meant by that, but it was simple hip-hop jargon. When we say mafia, that’s a good thing…. So when we say it’s ‘the woman’s mafia,’ to me that’s like ‘right on.’ A lot of people didn’t understand what I meant, ya know. I was kinda saying, everyone needs an army, and I meant it in a positive way. I’m sure there are feminists I don’t really agree with, because it seems like there’s layers… But women who don’t get a fair share, in the corporate, in many worlds — in the court system, with rape alone, ya know, how much you have to go through to prove that you actually were raped — is a shame. So, I don’t like mistreatment of women. You know what I mean, I have a daughter. And if you guys gotta squad up, squad up.”

Well, OK. Nas supports feminism. I underestimated him. I suppose there’s hope for personal/political growth for men who once rapped about how women will claim they were raped by famous men as a means of extortion. My bad, Nas.

Also, Alexandra tried to convince me that’s what he meant. Lesson learned: always listen to Alexandra.

MychalMychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute and contributing writer for The Nation Magazine, as well as columnist for Feministing.com and Salon. As a freelance writer, social commentator, and mental health advocate his work has been seen online in outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, Salon, Al Jazeera English, Gawker, The Guardian, Ebony.com, Huffington Post, The Root, and The Grio.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute and contributing writer for The Nation Magazine, as well as columnist for Feministing.com and Salon.

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