Tag Archives: Karate Chop

*TRIGGER WARNING* How To Love? Thoughts On Lil Wayne’s Emmett Till Lyrics And More

By Guest Contributors Moya and Whitney; originally published at Crunk Feminist Collective

*TRIGGER WARNING: Expletives, misogyny, and violent lyrics*

Side by side image of Emmett Till and Lil Wayne with the words

Courtesy of FAAN Mail.

In the remix to Future’s Karate Chop, Lil Wayne sings the “very unfortunate” (really, Fader?) lyric that compares sex to the beating of Emmett Till.

Pop a lot of pain pill’

‘bout to put rims on my skateboard wheel’

beat that pussy up like Emmett Till

“I just couldn’t understand how he could compare the gateway to life to the brutality and punishment of death,” said Aricka Gordon Taylor, spokesperson from the Till Family. We can, though. It’s happened before, from Wayne and friends.

People are mad. Real mad. They’re even talking about it on the radio here in Atlanta, while simultaneously continuing to play the song with Emmett Till bleeped out. Folks are calling for a boycott of Clear Channel and the removal of the song from the airwaves. There’s Twitter activism in motion as well from Dream Hampton to shame LA Reid (who should be shamed, for this and more) because he should know better. Epic, Future’s label not Wayne’s, has apologized saying that this lyric won’t appear on the final version of the song and the family has written an open letter to Wayne.

We understand why folks are mad and in no way want to diminish this important call to action. One of the things Moya hated about other media activism she’s been involved in is the question, “why you mad about this and why now?” We want to think about these lyrics in the context of calls by feminists of color to interrogate the problems of violent sex metaphors before the name of a slain civil rights icon was invoked. With this in mind, we want to add some thoughts to the growing conversation.

1. We need intergenerational conversations–“beating the pussy up” is a hip-hop metaphor for sex that’s not new. We need and have been trying to have a conversation about the violence this metaphor (and others) conjures, but folks using it don’t understand themselves to be talking about intimate-partner violence when they use it. It is used by men and women to describe sexual prowess, not violence, despite its employment of the violence of “beating.” In reading the framing of the outrage we see elders taking issue with Till being compared to the “anatomy of a woman” and “domestic violence.” That’s not quite what’s happening, and we wonder if intergenerational strategies can help alleviate some of these misreadings. Rather than domestic violence, perhaps we can shift our frame to think about sexualized violence and violent sexualities more broadly, which, to be clear, are not always practiced in the context of traditional understandings of intimate partner violence or under duress or coercion.  Patricia Hill-Collins already hipped us to the violence that undergirds many discussions of black sexual prowess in her incisive reading of black colloquial usage of the term “booty” and its dual meaning/invocation as both the spoils of war and conquest (i.e. violence) and as the long-standing icon of black women’s sexual desirability.  Too much connection to be coincidental, no?  This framework might allow us to see how violent sexual prowess acted out on the bodies of women of color is a staple of hip-hop and popular culture more generally.  The issue is not just the ill-informed invocation of Till’s brutal murder but the normalization of brutality acted on women’s bodies.

Additionally, what does bleeping out words on the radio do? Particularly when it’s part of a rhyme scheme? The absurdity of radio editing is just more than we can fathom sometimes. You want to protect children from hearing the words “Emmett Till” and “pussy” but not the “beating up” they are used in conjunction with?  Not to mention any other songs that have other violent metaphors that don’t have curse words in them that are perfectly fine for radio play. Can we talk to children as opposed to shielding them from certain words? Why are words bleepable but problematic concepts aren’t under review?

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WTF? MARCUS EPSTEIN? WTF?

by Guest Contributor Jeff Yang

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Wingnuttia) has been one of the most vitriolic attackers of the Supreme Court candidacy of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, notably calling into question her membership in the Hispanic American advocacy organization National Council of La Raza, which he has referred to as a “Latino KKK without the hoods and nooses.” (And without the history of racist violence, or supremacist ideology, or toxic anonymity, or deep-rooted influence on America’s tragic record on race. But otherwise, just exactly like the KKK!)

Of course, this only opens up the standard “takes one to know one” line of retort, and by that standard Tancredo should be quite the authority on knowing racists.

You see, Tancredo’s hostility toward Sotomayor is due in great part to his broader hostility toward off-white folk, especially those who hail from places other than this great nation of ours (and only ours): The grandson of Italian immigrants has spent most of his legislative career and bully-pulpit bandwidth trying to turn out Liberty’s lamp, lock the golden door, and disperse the huddled masses with pepper gas and rubber bullets. For example:

    * He sponsored a bill called the “Mass Immigration Reduction Act,” which would have imposed an indefinite moratorium on immigration to the United States. Under the act, only spouses and children of American citizens would be allowed to immigrate—limiting the total number of immigrants allowed annually, by his calculations, to fewer than 300,000 individuals per year.
    * He believes illegal immigrants are the greatest threat to America’s security, claiming that federal prisons are overflowing with illegal immigrants, some of whom aim to “harm people,” and has been quoted as saying “They’re coming here to kill you, and you, and me, and my grandchildren.” During his abortive campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, he released an ad called “Tough on Terror,” positing a future in which inept border security leads to a catastrophic new terrorist attack. Over images of an injured child and a wrecked train, the ad’s voiceover says, “There are consequences to open borders beyond the 20 million aliens who have come to take our jobs … the price we pay for spineless politicians who refuse to defend our borders against those who come to kill.”
    * He wants to spend billions erecting an enormous wall between Mexico and the U.S., and believes mayors and city council members who adopt “sanctuary city policies” should be tried as criminals.
    * And finally, to ensure that his bizarre brand of ultra-paranoid xenophobia spreads virally through the ranks of the Right’s next generation, he’s created a PAC that “identif[ies], recruit[s], and help[s] elect to public office individuals who are committed to enforcing our laws and securing our borders.”

And that’s where the sad part comes in. It turns out that the guy Tancredo appointed to run this PAC as executive director is a toolbox named Marcus Epstein…who happens to be half Korean, half Jewish, and all a-hole.

You see, Epstein is expected to be sentenced on July 8 for a charge—to which he has pled “guilty”—that he karate-chopped (tae kwon do chopped?) an African American female while calling her “n*gger.For no reason. While walking down the street muttering to himself. All according to witnesses, including the federal agent who apprehended him.

It’s incredible that Tancredo has been able to find a proxy for his loathsome views who’s actually more insane and racist than he is. It’s embarassing that he happens to be Asian American, though one somehow doubts he uses that label proudly, any more than does Michelle Malkin.

If there’s anything funny about this sad set of circus clowns, it’s the name of the PAC that Epstein runs on Tancredo’s behalf: It’s called the Team America PAC. Perfect. Did they name the PAC after the hilariously impolitic puppet movie by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, thinking it was a frakkin’ documentary or something?

I’m going to say yes. Because I can totally imagine Epstein, Tancredo and their hate-filled, anti-immigrant buddies dressing up in their spare time as a paramilitary super-soldier squad, convinced they’re defending America against invading hordes of brown, disease-ridden, evil rapist deathmongers. Plus Kim Jong Il. Assuming that Epstein’s mom is South Korean, anyway.

America, f*ck yeah!