Hip-hop news website XXL.com recently posted a video of rapper Too $hort offering so-called "fatherly advice" to teenage boys about talking to girls. You know, when to hold hands, when to call, what to get them for their birthday — haha, no, just kidding, he was giving them tips on how to "finger" their dates. What, your father didn't teach you that stuff?
XXL has since removed the clip, but Madame Noire wrote down some of the rapper's wisdom:
"When you get to late middle school, early high school and you start feeling a certain way about the girls… I'm gonna tell you a couple tricks. This is what you do, man. A lot of the boys are going to be running around trying to get kisses from the girls, we're going way past that. I'm taking you to the hole.
There's a general area down there, a little spot that girls have that feels really good to them. Don't kiss them down there yet, that's later in life. But this is what you do. You push her up against the wall or pull her up against you while you lean on the wall and you take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens. It's like magic. You gotta find her spot, they all have a different one, but it's somewhere in there. Just go for it. When you feel like it becomes a little more moist that's when you know you're doing it right."
While Too $hort's advice could have been way more misogynistic — at least the "I'm A Player" rapper was focusing on female pleasure rather than scoring BJs or how to get out of using condoms — few found his message empowering. XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten, who claimed she hadn't approved the video before it was posted, said she was "truly offended," and, naturally, it was only a matter of time before Too $hort apologized via a number of vague tweets about "giving back to the community":
"I want to apologize to anyone I may have offended w/ the XXL video I recently did. When I got on camera I was in $hort mode & had a lapse of judgement. I would never advise a child or young man to do these things...It's not how I get down. Although Ive made my career on dirty raps,Ive worked over the yrs to somewhat balance the content of my music w/ giving back to my community. Just coming from a man who wants to see young people get ahead in life, I'm gonna do my best to to help and not hurt."
Ebony Magazine's Jamilah Lemieux points out that "positive" and "negative" are "dubious terms" in hip-hop — "We'll call a rapper positive because he doesn't wear gold chains and waves incense as he refers to Black women 'hoes' and 'tricks'" — but that Too $hort's raps are almost always negative and often straight-up about "pimping and fucking women without respecting them." Her most crucial point, in my opinion, is that the rapper doesn't advise his mentees to ask girls if they're okay with engaging in sexual acts before trying to finger them. "Coercison, perhaps even assault, is of no consequence here.," she writes. "Hence, no explanation of how to proceed if the target in question says 'Stop! I don't want you to do that!'"
It would be awesome if instead of simply removing the offending video and apologizing not so much for its content but for the decision to post it — "The video goes against my value system and represents poor judgment on behalf of the individual who posted it," Satten wrote — XXL had gathered a group of rappers together and filmed them talking about consent, sexual harassment, and other issues relating to the respect of women, in hip-hop culture and/or otherwise. "Hip-hop can be dangerous territory for young women, particularly young Black girls," Lemieux writes. "The music often gives men and boys a virtual instruction guide on how to mistreat, disrespect and disregard females...Too $hort and XXL took that to the next level and provided a LITERAL instruction guide." So what about a positive instruction guide next time, instead of yet another half-hearted and rambling apology?