In a blog entry at The Root DC, Abdul Ali, who also is a contributor to The Root, writes that becoming a parent has challenged his loyalty to hip-hop. He recently received a jolt of reality when he heard his 7-year-old daughter reciting misogynistic rhymes.
An otherwise ordinary weekend went awry when my daughter parroted a Lil Wayne song. Her 7-year-old arms doubled over, cutting the air as she swayed back and forth imitating hip-hop swagger in music videos.
Then she repeated the chorus aloud: wife beater. The two-word phrase shot through her little mouth and burned the insides of my ears.
I’d heard the song maybe a dozen times but didn’t find it objectionable until I heard my daughter sing it. Am I a hypocrite? It’s complicated: I grew up at a time when hip-hop exploded into a global phenomenon.
I’d be dishonest if I said I didn’t feel a special allegiance to the music that articulates not all, but some, of what it means to be young and black in America. But, with hesitation, being a parent trumps whatever loyalties I have to the hip-hop mafia that might revoke my membership.