A headline touting “powerful” commentary on domestic violence caught my eye last summer. I clicked. I read. I agreed with some of the ideas around social treatment of abuse in the She Knows article (advisory: contains potentially triggering theatrical images of physical abuse.) from Cailyn Cox.
Still. . .
I had questions at the end, so I watched the Shawn Mendes Love You Better music video that inspired the piece. I couldn’t believe my ears. I found the song lyrics problematic and could not understand why this song and video would be highlighted. (A crowdsourced account of the lyrics is here.)
The blog post stayed on my mind for months. Then, dancing around my apartment one night, I realized that a K’La song I listen to often is a part of “powerful” discourse on relationships. Lil’ Wayne’s initial version of How to Love inspired K’La’s cover. This cover goes beyond singing his song. She answers his call.
I find it beautiful. This is one example of why I love hip hop: the qualifier “socially conscious” has no place in clarifying within the genre. If it isn’t woke, it isn’t hip hop.
This call and response is needed. Hip hop calls out society by opening space for meaningful dialogue in public. These artists do not have to be perfect to have constructive conversations. I am incredibly grateful to them for bringing this conversation into the public eye. . . ear. These hip hop artists have made themselves vulnerable with their art for all our benefit. Not enough of these discussions have been happening in homes, coffee shops, or classrooms.
Then I see praise for a song that is all kinds of awful as a model for relationships.
For my breakdown on the original SheKnows article and the lyrics of the songs mentioned, click for my longer article.
Rebecca encourages survivors of domestic to speak about their experiences and to lean on each other for support.