This weekend, I was tooling around on the internet and a headline grabbed my eye. "Rick Ross speaks on rape lyrics controversy." Now, I have to be honest, I have no idea who Rick Ross is. I have now read this story, I even searched out the song in question, and I still really don't know who Rick Ross is, except he's finding himself under fire for some lyrics in a song, and as always happens when any celebrity gets caught saying or doing something wrong, he's in damage control mode.
At issue are lyrics Ross penned as part of a song he performed with a couple of other artists, U.O.E.N.O.(You Ain't Even Know It):
"Put molly all in her champagne/ She ain't even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain't even know it."
'Molly', according to all, is slang for the drug Ecstasy, and the implication in the lyric is of someone slipping some to a girl, taking her home, and having at her. And she ain't even know it.
With the disturbing images from the Steubenville trial still fresh, the timing of this song is bad, to say the least.
In an interview (which can be seen in the first article, about 7 minutes long), Ross defending his lyrics:
"There are certain things you can't Tweet and certain things you want people to hear and I want to make sure this is clear, that woman is the most precious gift known to man. You understand.
"There was a misunderstanding with a lyric or a misinterpretation. The term rape wasn't used. I would never use the term rape in my records. Hip-Hop don't condone that, the streets don't condone that. Nobody condones that. I just want to reach out to all the queens on my timeline, the beautiful ladies that were reaching out to me... we don't condone rape and I'm not with that."
I don't know Rick Ross. Rick Ross may be a prince of a guy. I'm sure Rick Ross really doesn't condone rape, but Rick Ross just doesn't get it, does he? Even if his lyrics were being taken out of context and misunderstood, he reveals a complete lack of understanding of rape. "The term rape wasn't used." So, because he doesn't use the term 'rape,' in his mind, the song isn't about 'rape.' And, presumably, because he* wasn't using force—fists, or choke holds, or a knife to the throat, or "I'll kill your family if you don't"—it wasn't rape. The hopefully-fictional girl depicted in the song's lyrics was high from Ecstasy, thus willing, thus consent was giving, so it's not rape. (*BIG FAT NOTE: I'm not saying Rick Ross really did this. 'He' in the song can refer to some narrator/personality who is not necessarily Ross)
One of the things that came out of the recent Steubenville trial, revealed in testimony, text messages, disturbing images culled from cellphones, and in the often vile comments people made in response to online articles about it, is that so many people seem to believe it's not rape if you don't use force. There's a strong feeling in our culture that believes "Inebriation equals invitation." This attitude that must change, and it's the boys and men who must get this message. It's all well and good to teach our daughters to always be aware of their surroundings, to teach them to carry whistles, or the art of self-defence, to never go anywhere alone (and let me tell you, when we brought the Magpie to college, it was disconcerting to see signs in the dorm room warning girls not to to go out alone), but how do you teach them about this? Don't leave your drink unattended, never accept a drink from a stranger unless it's in a sealed container, travel in packs, what else?
I've said this before, I'll say it again. Yes, we need to teach our daughters all this, but what are we teaching our sons? I surely hope Rick Ross reconsiders his stance and revises his thinking. We need to change our thinking, and change what we show the young boys out there. Rape does not require fists, and inebriation does not equal invitation. It's past time we learned this. It's past time we made this part of our culture.