GW students v. Action Bronson

A case for boycotting, but not censoring

Guilty Pleasures | Jon Rodriguez | March 29, 2016

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The shit storm is brewing. For those who missed it, GW Program Board booked chef-turned-rapper, Action Bronson, to headline this year’s Spring Fling and shit hit the fan. The controversy centers around Bronson’s 2011 song, “Consensual Rape”, and his generally less than stellar (to put it lightly) portrayal of women in his music. I think that from this song title you can figure out where this is going, but I digress.

Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of Action Bronson, so I was disappointed to see he was the headliner for Fling. His flow and beats are too old school for me and his lyrics are too aggressively sexist for my taste. That said, sexism is admittedly pretty commonplace in rap, so I was fairly surprised at the uproar over his booking.

The song at the center of all of it is fairly uninteresting. From what I’ve heard of Bronson, it’s sonically standard. And, though it’s called “Consensual Rape” and there’s plenty of graphic sexual imagery in it, there’s no discernible suggestion that that any of it is forced. To me, the most egregious line of the song was “don’t get me pissed off, fuck around rip your tits off.”

This is the kind of thing that makes me not like Bronson because it’s so prevalent in his music. I don’t know Action Bronson, the man, but Action Bronson, the rapper, is a misogynist. It gets especially bad when he starts talking about Asian women. I wrote an article on “Yellow Fever” a while back and he’s precisely the kind of fuck boy that made it necessary.

With all this in mind, Bronson is, like I said before, by no means alone. Misogyny is an unfortunate feature of rap music but one that’s thankfully falling by the wayside.

Hip-Hop is evolving. Homophobia has largely been phased out of the mainstream and sexism seems to be going that route as well, if only a bit more slowly. Those rappers who continue to pen sexist lyrics are holding back the culture. To me, that is Action Bronson’s greatest transgression.

I won’t sign on to any kind of movement to have him dropped from Spring Fling – censorship is dangerous to society, especially college campuses – but boycotting his performance is definitely the move, even though his team has assured GWPB that he won’t be performing the song. It sends a message to Action Bronson and rappers like him that sexism has no place in Hip-Hop. It’s a musical form that arose as a voice of the oppressed. Using it to degrade and insult women is a bastardization of the culture. We can’t let that continue.