First of all let me say that Snoop Dogg is foul for the series of misogynist posts he made on his Instagram account about Iggy Azalea.
Snoop Dogg is a rapper who, like many rappers, has made his fortune by denigrating women and employing the liberal use of words like “bitch” and “cunt,” a fact which many seem to forget in this new era of Snoop portraying himself as benevolent stoner; a guy who’s a little too old for social media but tweets anyway, who you snicker at because he’s kind of like your somewhat crazy uncle who doesn’t quite “get it” but who you love anyway.
But with his long, long history in rap, Snoop also, therefore, has a long, long history with misogyny, none of which I condone, and nor do I condone the things he said about Iggy Azalea.
But I’m going to be honest: it is disturbing that the fans and online media outlets who are squawking about Snoop’s sexism have been noticeably silent for, well, decades when that sexist abuse is aimed at black women.
I can recall many bouts that black women have had with the industry. Literal generations of violence and slander against female artists, from MC Lyte to Queen Latifah to Lil' Kim to Trina to Azealia Banks to Nicki Minaj. Yet misogyny against black women in rap music continues to be ignored and dismissed as “part of the industry,” and even though they shouldn’t have had to, these women powered forward -- often with a gloriously vicious clapback track targeting their haters -- and made a name for themselves in hip-hop against all odds, despite industry misogynoir that dogged them every step of the way, and despite mainstream eagerness to crown the wrong rappers as queen.
This is a subject that entire theses have been written about and whole books have been dedicated to. I won’t attempt to rewrite those books here. What I will dedicate a few lines to, however, is the utter bafflement I have experienced today when reading the tweets and Perez Hilton write-ups about this new “rap beef” between Iggy and Snoop, and the way the Internet is choosing to weep for this white woman with tears they’ve never even considering shedding for black artists like Azealia Banks.
The Internet makes it easy to be mean. I’m guilty of Internet snark, it’s true, and Snoop went way overboard in the violence of his words. But if we’re going to talk about Internet violence, we cannot leap up with capes flapping to rescue Iggy Azalea when we sat stubbornly on our hands when TI -- yes, TI: Iggy Azalea’s very own hip-hop father -- not only disgustingly slandered Azealia Banks, but threatened her with physical harm. Meanwhile, Iggy Azalea retweets things like this:
Forgive me, Iggy, but you are the last person on Earth who should be whipping out #YesAllWomen when you sat idly by while another woman -- and a fellow female MC -- was threatened and denigrated by a man closer to you than anyone in the game. It’s the classic not being concerned with the comfort of another’s shoes until you’re forced to walk in them, especially with this tweet:
You’ve sung his praises, Iggy? I guess I’m not sure why. I want so much to believe that Iggy Azalea truly does care about #YesAllWomen, but having no qualms about a man’s violent misogyny until the crosshairs are on her own chest leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s a bitter irony that TI’s disgusting attack on Azealia Banks came in the form of an Instagram post, and now here we are with Iggy upset because of abusive content on the same platform.
Many are calling it cyber-bullying: one party using the Internet to attack another, and indeed Snoop’s actions are that of a bully. A vile, sexist one. But what’s bothering me is that Iggy Azalea is so wrapped up in the harm that has been done to her, she is forgetting the harm she has been doing and continues to do with her racist appropriation of black culture, African-American vernacular, and even, some would say, the very bodies of black women.
The same goes for her fans. The reaction I’m seeing from white fans on Twitter seems distinctly racialized: zealous concern for a white woman who has been wronged at the hands of a “scary black rapper.” Are these fans listening when black women voice their concerns about the wrong Iggy has done? Doubtful. Is Iggy listening? Does she lend an ear when black women air their grievances and list the ways her shtick has harmed them? Never has she given any indication or acknowledgment to suggest she has.
Yet with Snoop Dogg’s sexism infecting the Internet, now Iggy wants her grievances heard. She even went so far as to call Snoop Dogg a Mean Girl:
Regina George. Hmm. So what does that make Iggy? Surely it makes her Cady Heron: an interloper who somehow found herself sitting with the cool kids and wants to write in the Burn Book about bitches, broke hoes, and, well, other things that are much worse.
But like Cady in "Mean Girls," Iggy might be in over her head: This particular Regina George has a long history of disparaging women, and it’s white privilege and white privilege alone that fooled Iggy into thinking she would be exempt from the misogyny Snoop and others have built their careers on.
Iggy, on the other hand, has built her career rapping about “the murder business,” co-opting a musical traditional that has existed since before she was born. But part of that same tradition is rap beef and the misogynist undertones that go with it, undertones that black female MCs have suffered under and have paved a way through without sympathy, for years. I can’t help but feel that Iggy has chosen to remain silent about the struggles of black women in hip hop -- comfortable only with the fame of the industry and not the pitfalls -- choosing only to speak out about misogyny when the drama comes to her door.
Although it’s certainly reasonable to criticize Iggy as an appropriator, perhaps it’s not fair to demand that her “murder business” image match up with her real-life identity. Look at Rick Ross: He was a prison guard before he became a rapper famous for making songs about breaking laws. Musicians have alter egos, after all, but when I think of alter egos of female artists, Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce comes immediately to mind; a stage personality that Beyoncé embodies when performing but has not been “allowed” to have. Rather, the public has demanded Beyoncé account/apologize for her sexuality on stage in the context of her off-stage motherhood.
The idea of her having a performance persona is considered impossible, her identity limited by one-dimensional attitudes toward black female existence. You can see why I’m bothered, then, when fans are perfectly content with allowing Iggy Azalea “creative latitude,” even when it means the appropriation and exploitation of a genre that, when performed by black voices is called violent and dangerous, but when performed by a white woman from Australia is cool and edgy.
No one seems to care about misogyny in hip-hop when it’s aimed at black women, but the moment white femininity seems to be under attack, Twitter catches fire.
Snoop has since apologized for cyber-bullying Iggy Azalea, but excuse me if I’m not interested in giving either one of them more than a shrug. Sexism on one hand, racism on the other. TI was reportedly behind Snoop’s apology…who will be behind TI’s? He has never apologized for slandering and threatening Azealia Banks. Who will apologize to Nicki Minaj, whose rap credibility is constantly under attack despite vicious verses that she writes herself? Who will apologize to Lil' Kim, Trina and others for paving the way when no men would step in for them? Who will apologize to the family of the female rapper in Atlanta, who was raped and murdered after beating three men in a rap battle?
Forgive me if I don’t cry for Iggy Azalea right here. I’m a feminist -- a white one, at that -- and Snoop Dogg is an unforgivable misogynist. Always has been. But Iggy Azalea being the victim of sexism doesn’t make her less of a perpetrator of racism and appropriation. And when the Internet -- and the world -- leaps to her defense but is silent about attacks on black women? That silence is deafening.