Rick Ross is a Republican
by James Braxton Peterson | special to NewBlackMan (in Exile)
Rick Ross, not the crack-dealer-turned-CIA-agent, but the rapper, government name: William Roberts, is a Republican. He may not be a registered, card-carrying member of the GOP, but in lyrics from a recent mixtape feature, Ross squarely aligned himself with the Todd Akin wing of the Republican Party. First, he said something really ignorant (and dangerous) about rape – in this case, slipping drugs into a woman’s glass of champagne – unbeknownst to her of course, and then raping her without her knowing. Of course, the lyric equates this casual example of date rape with casual sex in the fantasy world of Rick Ross. Second, he then tried to qualify said comments in some fairly inane and ignorant ways – suggesting his rapper persona speaks/spits in fantasy and that he didn’t actually say the word “rape.” Sounds more like Todd Akin than the original “Freeway” Ricky Ross. But his lyrical “scorecard” as a rapper reads like a set of talking points for the Tea-party controlled Republican Congress.
He is certainly a member of the 1% with a reported net worth of 28 million dollars. He rhymes about his riches all of the time. Not sure how or if he pays his taxes, but the one percenters generally ride with the boys in red. As much as he raps about assault weapons and murdering (what must be young black men), he can’t be for background checks, ending straw purchases or the assault weapons ban. He’s better then Glen Beck at influencing consumers to buy gold. In fact if we believe him, “blowing money fast” is an aspirational attribute. His music label is named after an out-of-production high-end car model. The evidence is overwhelming. The “Bawse” is running with the elephants.
Obviously I am not the first to pull Rick Ross’ card – so to speak. Plenty of bloggers and music journalists have done so – like here: But while his audience and his critics seem to for the most part forgive him his various right wing proclivities, it seems as though these recent rape lyrics have crossed a line – hitting the gender nerve that’s been exposed by the conservative forces that are committed to trans-vaginal probes, restricting or abolishing reproductive rights and freedoms, and of course, legitimizing rape. Hip Hop activist, and former Green Party VP candidate, Rosa Clemente and others have initiated a campaign to shame Rick Ross. She is right. Whether these lyrics are fantasy or we’re supposed to believe everything rapper, Rick Ross, says, the lyrics reflect the rape culture underwriting too many recent horror stories in REALITY.
We live in a world where women are brutally gang-raped on buses, carted around town by High School football players, unconscious, raped and recorded on smartphones by kids who tweet the images – proudly. In this world, the real world, rape culture is consuming the lives of women, girls, and the sad men and boys who perpetrate these crimes, mostly free from prosecution. In these political and real-world environments, rape fantasy rap is just another sick sinister contribution to the rape culture against which should all stand.
James Braxton Peterson is Director of Africana Studies and Associate Prof of English at Lehigh University, and a MSNBC Contributor.