House of Hawthorne

Is Common a misogynist?

Posted on: May 24, 2011

This is a little late, but I have been stewing about the whole Common being invited to the White House thing for a while. Jon Stewart, as you all know, I’m sure, effectively put the issue to rest.

He takes care of a lot of the issues, like the fact that Common of all rappers is actually pretty non-controversial and that they are once again doing that thing to rap music, like Jay-Z says “Say that I’m foolish I only talk about jewels/ Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it? (“Renegade”)” In general, he dispatched the issue handily. But if we’re talking about listening to every single word that people say, even out of context, I really heard the word “misogynist” from Karl Rove in reference to Common. Let’s just say for purposes of this discussion that we approve of Karl Rove being able to label people misogynists. Or that he even cares when people are misogynists. Does Common hate or dislike women?

Let’s go through Common’s references to women:
“As legends fall my godmother answer heaven’s call
Preachers’ daughters get fucked in the reverend’s hall”
“Tryin to get a chick to kick it wit me till the tilt
Told her my Chamber’s like Wilt
Built wit her for a sec, let her know I had respect
Less than a hour she was givin me neck, yo I’m still gettin mine” (both from “1-9-9-9”)

So I guess suggesting preachers’ daughters have sex is kind of racy, but not hateful, to me. And in the next line he even tells this theoretical girl that he’s trying to kick it with that he respects her. Hardly an indictment of women-hating.

“Im getting married soon, walking in the clouds like Mary Bethune” (from “Aquarius”)

Uh oh, Mary McLeod Bethune reference. That really doesn’t help Mr. Rove’s point, at all.

Ooh, here will be a good one. From “Baby I’m Selfish”:

“To all my thick chicks down in Texas
All the way to New Orleans where the girls cook catfish
And in L.A. every chicks an actress.
Hollywood statis with the shaded glasses
To Detroit, yeah the place that I rest
Where the ladies got asses and la la #@*!
And Hot’lanta yall is one of the best
Where they speak southern slang and smoke lases
And New York women are way too fresh
Too much on ya mind let me ease that stress
I wish you all were mine it’s so selfish
Maybe i’m feelin’ myself too much I guess.
To my ladies all across the globe
In small towns that I don’t even know
To all local and international codes
Whether you see me in streets or catch me at shows”

Actually, that sounds like he really appreciates women, I’d say. He wants them all to himself, so I guess if that was really possible, that would be kind of problematic, but otherwise, I find this to be clear of women-hating.

Maybe “Payback Is A Grandmother”? Does he hate grandmothers maybe?

“Told em, “Keep down,” but they was breathin hard
It was my grandmother tellin me that she had been robbed
I told her hold (hold) tight (tight), I’d be right over”

No, he indeed loves his grandmother.

And really, I didn’t want to bring this up, but we need to talk about the whole song “The Light.” I’m really not sure there is a more enlightened hip-hop love song. As a woman, I feel like I should be so lucky to have such a song about me in existence.

Besides the whole point that Jon Stewart made, that there’s bigger issues out there in this world for the President and the First Lady to deal with, I think it’s irresponsible for people like Karl Rove to call Common a misogynist. It’s absolutely just not there, first of all, and there are real live people out there who hate women that need to be taken to task, and maybe even be making policy decisions. You need to choose your words correctly when your whole argument is based on misconstruing quotes from people’s lyrics in the first place.

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