There is a lot of conflicting information circulating about a Danny Brown/Kitty Pryde concert that took place in Minneapolis last Friday. One thing seems to be clear: at some point while Brown was performing, a female audience member reached up from the front row, pulled down the Detroit rapper's pants, and began to perform oral sex on him. Kitty Pryde is not very happy about this.
In a long post for the Vice blog Noisey, Pryde has attempted to dissect the incident, which she and the other people on the tour have taken to calling "The Thing." The Thing has already spawned threads on Reddit (from an audience member who says he found the whole thing scary) and lots of discussion on Twitter (Kendrick Lamar offered Brown his incredulous congratulations), as well as on various music blogs.
Pryde doesn't think anyone should be applauding:
I’m mad that a person thought it was okay to pull another person’s pants down during their performance in front of about 700 other people. I’m mad that a person thought it was a good idea to perform a sex act on another person without their consent. I’m mad that nobody made her leave. I’m mad that Danny had to actually wonder what he was supposed to do at that point. I’m mad that when I went home and said I had no respect for that girl, I was attacked for being a “slut-shamer”...and, even more outrageously, for being jealous of the girl who sucked his dick. I’m mad that when two dudes pulled my pants down onstage, other people got mad too, but when it happened to Danny the initial reaction was like one big high-five. I’m mad that people are treating "The Thing" like it’s some legendary event.
Anyone who's familiar with Brown knows that his lyrics and his stage persona are pretty sexualized. And he has a lot of female fans. On Reddit, an audience member wrote that Brown was "walking around the stage getting girls to grab his dick." Pryde says that "is 100% false, and to blame someone for their own molestation is a shitty thing to do."
Anybody who is exaggerating this tale to climax is also a lying fool, and to call it a blow job is even going a bit far because it was probably the fastest thing I’ve ever seen. "The Thing" was not a thing that Danny facilitated—it was an actual sexual assault, and somehow nobody gives a fuck about that but me.
It's obvious that the reason nobody cares is because a girl did it to a boy.
Brown has every right to adopt a sexualized persona in his music. But does it really need to be pointed out that that does not give a stranger the right to touch him? Let alone to tear off his clothes and put her mouth on his genitals? On what planet is that okay? Pryde also points out that the dynamics of gender and race in American culture in general, and in hip-hop specifically, make it more difficult for Brown to react to such an assault, or even to categorize it as such.
We've created this myth that straight men must necessarily welcome any and all sexual attention from women — that's why strangers on Twitter are now high-fiving Danny Brown. Pryde worries that Brown didn't feel able to push away the woman in the audience because it could have been construed as a black man being violent towards a white woman — "not a good look when people are taking photos." That's obviously troubling. Pryde also imagines what the listening public's reaction could have been if he had: "Yo dude, you don’t want your dick sucked, bro? Are you gay? Haha you’re gay you don’t want girls to suck your dick haha gay dude bro man swag!" And that, says Pryde, is "a rapper’s literal nightmare."
As it was, Pryde says Brown quickly backed away from the woman in the audience and pulled up his pants. To be touched when it's not welcome and to have people tearing at your clothes is, as Pryde points out, an inherently vulnerable experience: "I had my pants ripped off onstage, and didn’t know what to do either because being naked in front of 1000 people is incredibly scary."
Like anyone else, Danny wants to be respected as an artist and a human. Like any other male, especially those in the public eye (and especially those who spend a lot of time talking about licking vaginas), he wants to be respected as a “man."
That desire for respect shouldn't mean Brown has to accept high-fives for being made the object of unwanted sexual contact. If Grimes is correct when she asserts her right to not be "molested at shows" by "people who perceive me as an object that exists for their personal satisfaction," then Brown has that right, too.
Of course, the only person whose feelings really matter here is Danny Brown. The rapper has Tweeted some conflicting things about "The Thing" — he proudly replied to Kendrick Lamar that he "didn't miss a bar," but denied the incident altogether to another fan — but, if Pryde's analysis is correct, even if he wanted to speak out about this as a scary thing, or an unwelcome thing, it would be very hard for him to do so.
Danny Brown has, however, Tweeted Pryde's post several times since it went live.