Date Rape

We continue to say No:Why Akona Ndungane’s story still matters

The We Are The World days are long gone.  We’re currently smack in the middle of a culture that sees activism and story telling stripped from main art forms: music, literature, photography, painting etc.  I wouldn’t say stories aren’t still being told, of course they are, but not as honestly as they used to be.

And I guess I understand why.

As art becomes a business, image becomes [slightly more important than?] the craft itself.

For some. 

To those who continue to give us their truth, and teach, and inspire, and strengthen: Thank you.

 

 

I was going through my music collection when I found a gem.

The POWA  Mixtape. 

 

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Born from Akona Ndungane’s chilling account of her rape ordeal, POWA saw artists such as Tumi Molekane, Reason, Zaki Ibrahim, Zubz and Tuks, just to name a few, and Akona herself, collaborating to bring a project that will leave you emotionally wrecked, to say the least.

 

 

 

 

But it’s the truth.

It’s her truth.

And it’s the truth of many young women out there.

The reality of it is, we don’t talk about these things.

Society whispers to us to maybe, just maybe try and deal with the fact that this is our reality.  Few people have the lack of empathy and ingrained misogyny in them to say “Get the fuck over it. You’re walking targets and you will be preyed upon,”  but some do nonetheless and they really just verbally express what we’re shown.

It’s why sharing your rape story gets you stigma and shame, being shunned, instead of support.

It’s why people ask you what you did to deserve it before even considering that you aren’t the problem.

It’s why, when your partner rapes you, nobody calls it what it is, in their minds you signed over your rights to your body the moment you agreed to the relationship.

It’s why I’m writing this.

Because I can’t explain why I’m constantly crying at stories that other people tell me don’t affect me.

Because I’m constantly trying to explain to my male friends that at the very least, we live life constantly vigilant, if not terrified.

Because when I log on to Twitter it’s a shock to constantly see the number of women who share their stories of abuse.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow, that we’re all THIS connected… by trauma.  That we’ve formed a sisterhood because of all the things that’ve tried to break our spirits.

I’ve been an emotional wreck.

It’s not that it took me 5 years to realize that somebody violated me, it’s that there are countless other women who can either relate or never accept it, so never will.

It’s not that I know what I know, it’s that other women don’t.

It’s that I constantly have to find a new way to use everyday objects as a person.

I got excited when I found out that KEYS can be used for self defense.

 

Fucking. Keys.

 

That excited me.

And then it hit me how tragic that is.

 

 

Akona’s story, four years after it’s first telling, fourteen years after it happened, still needs to be told.

It needs to be repeated, felt, understood,for as long as is necessary.

Until our women aren’t being hunted anymore, until our men don’t think that’s a normal part of our lives, until the destruction of our society is halted.

But this is where we’re at now.

This is our reality, now.

 

Think about that.

Really think about it.

 

*Visit ISaidNo here

 

 

Corporate America still thinks you’re a Coon

This morning I had one of those “I can’t even get mad because this is just ridiculous” moments as I read about Pepsi’s latest Mountain Dew  advert.

The ad depicts a bruised White woman on crutches in a police station attempting to point out her attacker. There are five Black  men and a goat named Felicia in a line-up.  The goat, Felicia, proceeds to go “..You should’ve given me some more, I’m nasty” in what could be a Latina/Black accent, then “Ya better not snitch on a playa.” The White detective eggs her on by pointing out that the possible assailant is wearing a du-rag, which the goat isn’t, then “Come on, it’s the one with the four legs”. Then the goat says “Keep your mouth shut-ah” [Sound like Trinidad James?] and the Lady runs off screaming “I can’t do it.”The punchline then drops, the detective going “She’s just gonna Dew it.” as he sips his bottle of Mountain Dew.

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The ad was apparently part of a series developed by rapper Tyler, The Creator, who’s known for his shocking antics and which would explain the appearance of Odd Future’s Left Brain as “Beyonte” in there, but I’m still fairly confused. 

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Responding to the complaints, Pepsi says it immediately removed the ad from all Mountain Dew channels and requested Tyler to do the same. It was, however, still available on certain YouTube accounts and the company said: ‘We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended.’

Are they fucking serious?

Now I know nothing of the advertising world but if what I’ve seen from Mad Men is anything to go by, there’s a lot of consultation and explaining of concepts, market research and such before an ad is made. You want to tell me everyone just kept on approving this atrocity to the point where the concept was bought, created, and attempted to be sold to us? Who were they marketing this to anyway? Hillbilly racists? Self hating Black people who can take blatant disrespect with a grain of salt? People who have a sense of humor?  Who was supposed to find this appealing?

Why would they think it’s appropriate to blatantly depict Black men as criminals? To go as far as to add a goat to the line-up and drop the not so subtle hint that in fact, Black men are STILL viewed as animals?

And their “apology”. Good God. This is like if I walked over to someone, defecated on their shoe then looked at them and said “Oh, I understand how this might be seen as inappropriate, sorry” then handed them a tissue and went away. Absolute fuckery.

But then let’s be frank, you wouldn’t do that to someone who’d beat your ass now would you?

The only reason they approved it is because they know Black Americans won’t really do much will they? We no longer march for causes with a passion and we no longer boycott what we don’t approve of. 

Will anyone sue Pepsi? Will they stop buying Tyler’s albums? No, probably not. 

Some will get mad, some won’t care and others will tell the rest that we don’t know how to take a joke.

As for Tyler, I can’t say I expected better from him.  I respect him as an entertainer and he has managed to use shock value to his advantage countless times, his career is based on it, but I honestly cannot for the Life of me begin to understand where he was going with this, and if it was supposed to be funny, how. 

With Black boys constantly being portrayed as thugs and hoodlums, being locked up for crimes they didn’t commit, having their identity stripped from them daily and getting shot over bags of skittles, you really mean to tell me they LET this be released?

I guess it’s time to be straightforward, they are showing us they will never respect us and we are showing them we’re alright with that. 

It’s the same with the Adidas Handcuff sneakers last year and Volkswagen’s “Get In. Get Happy” ad. 

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In music I could liken it to Rick Ross glorifying date rape on a song and still having women who think the rest of the world “Just didn’t get it.” Didn’t get what? That he said it’s alright, funny even, to drug a woman and have sex with her, without her consent?

But then again, it’s just music right? They’re just ads right?

No, Corporate America isn’t letting you know that they think you’re not worth being respected. That they know they can still create and ad reminiscent of  something that would appear on TV in the 50s and just like then, you’ll laugh and take it. That your so called Freedom means nothing to you as it does to them and you will always be Niggers in their eyes. No, they aren’t saying that at all. 

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