… I’m aware that [Adrian Bayley’s] previous victims in the previous case before Jill were sex workers and I’ll never be convinced that that had nothing to do with the leniency of his sentence, which as I said, sends a very disturbing message. ‘Cause if we say - what it says to women is, you know, “Be careful what you do, ‘cause if we don’t like what you do, you won’t get justice.” And then what it says to people like Bayley is not, “Don’t rape”, but, “Be careful who you rape.
I wanted all evening to say something about why I think this is important but words fail me as usual on this topic
But I don’t know that if I’d experienced such a tremendous personal loss I could see through my own grief to a systemic issue; to not only recognise a bigger picture, but to contextualise my loss within it, and to use whatever platform I had to express that so articulately.
I dunno. I cried watching this interview. It’s important. If you haven’t seen it you should watch it too. That’s all I’ve got.
I talk to men about their feelings regularly, if I’m friends with them, that’s part of what friendship is, if women don’t wanna be friends with men that’s fine but if we do then we have to care about each other, people are people and not just subject positions, either the gulf is too deep to bridge or it is not
but I absolutely draw the line at helping them get through their guilt about primarily using women as emotional supports, like, that’s too much, I’ll start laughing hysterically and probably burst some stitches I didn’t even know I had
I met florist and sculptor wona bae after I fell in love with this ridiculousness she made for the international flower & garden show back in march, and this week she has been generous enough to let me help her out with this pretty cool project
In January of this year, the Hottest 100 2012 finally acknowledged the existence of hip-hop by voting Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - Thrift Shop into the top spot. What a blessing! After Grandmaster Flash, the Sugarhill Gang, LL Cool J, Salt ‘n’ Pepa, Public Enemy, ‘pac and Biggie, Snoop and Dre, Hov, Missy, Yeezy, Nicki and whoever else you care to name, the wonderful voters had finally found a track they enjoyed above all others. Move over ‘94, 2012 shall forever be known as the Golden Year of Hip-Hop. It just sucks it took a couple of white guys from Canada talking about antiquing for that to happen.
My issue here is with Triple J. This is a problem the station has that is more broad than just a lack of attention to hip-hop. In two decades of polling, black artists have made it into the Hottest 100’s top 10 only a handful of times - Outkast, Coolio, Cee-Lo Green for a couple of projects and more recently, Frank Ocean. As guest artists, both De La Soul and Wanz have gotten in, but it has been as accompaniment to white male frontmen. This is reflective of more than just the preferences of the voters, this is a sign of black voices not getting enough airtime during the year.
There are plenty of companion pieces that can be written to this one, such as why there were no women in the favourites today. I’d be interested in reading that. It all contributes to a conversation about the overrepresentation of white guys in prominent places that will necessarily continue until things change.
Gary somehow goaded me into listening to the Triple J20 Years of the Hottest 100 or whatever clumsy-ass title it had today (yes Gary that’s exactly how I’m choosing to characterize it, sorry not sorry). it was super problematic. I whined a lot. Gary as usual had a higher level of analysis. You should read it.
ETA I decided to have some original thoughts or whatever:
I think whether you’re into Brick Squad or Native Tongues or OVO or OF or none of the above, the problem with too many non-black, non-American hip-hop audiences (of which Triple J’s hip-hop listenership, to whatever extent it actually exists, is, implicitly, largely one) is the assumption that the music can be completely divorced from the culture. This is, I think, a pretty ignorant position. Paraphrasing to avoid the epithet, “everybody wants to be black, but nobody wants to be black.” As a white female hip-hop fan in Australia, my privilege is that I get to pick and choose. I am able to take the music, the entertainment, and to leave the the struggle, the experience of structural inequality. I know this. When the album is over, I go back to my life, and my life doesn’t look like that. It’s the same problem I have with Iggy Azalea’s constantly trying to paint Mullumbimby as somehow analogous to the hood - however shitty and boring her experience of rural New South Wales, it just comes off like a particularly offensive game of dress-up. Sometimes the picture the music paints of that culture gap is so vivid that it makes it me uncomfortable, even as I am in awe of the artistry - it happened many years ago the first time I heard Black on Both Sides, and it happened again recently with Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. Rap is so much about story-telling and good rappers are so skilled at that art that it’s easy to confuse things; reading message boards after GKMC was released, confronted by how people were approaching it like a noir film, I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming sense of voyeurism. I believe that checking my privilege as a rap fan is respectfully approaching the genre in a way that is appreciative, and not exploitative. I’m not always successful, but I work at it.
From that perspective, if anything I appreciate that an artist like Macklemore is making music about his own experience and interests (thrift shopping, I guess) and not attempting to try-on anyone else’s. It’s Triple J’s promotion of Thrift Shop that gets under my skin. Yes, hip-hop has a long tradition of novelty songs. Yes, hip-hop is a genre that often lends itself absurdly well to punchlines and can be hilarious. No, it isn’t a novelty genre. How many of the same Triple J listeners who have happily trashed hip-hop because it’s ignorant and all about drugs and violence and misogyny voted for Thrift Shop in the Hottest 100 in 2013? How many Triple J listeners who love Thrift Shop care about, or even casually listen to, any other hip-hop? And how super aware of this were Triple J in 2013 when they openly celebrated Thrift Shop as the “first hip-hop song to win the Hottest 100”? It’s dishonest, because it didn’t win on the merits of Ryan Lewis’s beat or Macklemore’s rhymes. It won because it’s funny. There’s a problem in Australia when the rap songs people remember are the novelty tracks and parodies, features on white artists’ tracks (Feel Good Inc.), songs by black artists better known for rapping and so classed as hip-hop even though they are not hip-hop (Hey Ya!), or big club hits from several years ago (maybe) (Get Low). Meanwhile, Triple J claim to play hip-hop, but what they play mainly is a lot of average local stuff, unless and until something international comes along that looks a lot like our local stuff (Thrift Shop), in which case they run with it all the way to the bank.
It’s easy to dismiss it as a popular poll and who-really-cares and sure, I don’t listen to Triple J and haven’t in a long time and in that sense it doesn’t affect me anyway; I also don’t need a radio station to use as a barometer for pop culture in this country, because I’ve gone to enough depressing tiny shows upstairs at Laundry to know exactly how rap is, by and large, received here. But at the end of the day, it does bother me when a distinct artform and culture can’t be accepted here unless it’s dressed up to look and sound like something else. It bothers me when people are ready willing and able to characterize (black) US artists one way and (white) US artists another, or US artists one way and local artists another; that local artists are somehow more “conscious”, accessible, radio-friendly. It bothers me when an entire genre of music that I actually do care about is treated as only good enough for parody or thug posturing but not serious expression of emotion or experience. “Love rap music, tired of defending it.” And that’s what it comes down to for me. I don’t care if the artist is white, I care that the radio station that is playing the music and the radio station’s audience obviously deeply care if the artist is white. As Gary put it, “This is more sinister; a pervasive, unconscious thread that runs through our society and deserves to be challenged after such high profile reinforcement as it was given today.”