Fans Decode: Jay Z Regrets Past Misogynistic Lyrics

My friends and I from the FAAN Mail Project have this idea. We want to start filming our informal conversations about pop-culture, media, intersections of race/class/gender/sexuality–and put them online.¬† Through these dialouges, we are modeling active audiences and making “feminist discourse” accessible to people who go on youtube, but may not read blogs or scholarly journals.

So… here’s our first one. It happened after coming across a blog post about a recent Jay Z interview about his new book “Decoded” where he admits that he regrets his lyrics that disrespect women.

Now, goofiness  aside, i think we raise some interesting questions.

We wondered… is this sincere or is this about publicity for his new book? does his regret matter? what does his growth mean for hip hop?

Click here to learn more about the FAAN Mail Project.

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About Nuala Cabral

Nuala Cabral is an educator, activist, filmmaker and co-founder of FAAN Mail, a media literacy and activist project based in Philadelphia.
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3 Responses to Fans Decode: Jay Z Regrets Past Misogynistic Lyrics

  1. theglobalsouth says:

    Jay Z said something in his Fresh Air interview around the book that caught my attention. Here it is from the online transcript:

    ___________
    JAY-Z: A lot of these albums are made when, you know, artists are pretty young – 17, 18 years old – so they’ve never really had any real relationships. And if you come, you know, in the neighborhoods we’re in, you know, we have low self-esteem ourselves. You know, and then the women and – well, the girls, they have low self-esteem as well.

    So these are all dysfunctional relationships at a very young age, and the poet is really just pretty much saying his take on his dealings with girls at that time. He’s not in, really, a stable relationship. He’s on the road. He’s seeing girls who like him because he makes music. They spend one night together, he gets a phone number; he leaves to the next town, and does the same thing, you know, over again.

    GROSS: Now, you’re talking about yourself here, too, when you were younger?

    JAY-Z: Yeah, as well, yes.
    ______________________

    I think one of the most important things to remember about destructive patriarchal behavior is that–even as it poses very real danger to the personhood of women, to our bodies and even to our very lives–it comes out of a place of deep unconsciousness far more often than it comes from willful malicious intent. And it’s useful to be reminded that the average hip hop artist is a young man barely past adolescence. Jay Z is providing us with a really interesting model of what hip hop can look like as it leaves its youth behind.

    The issue for me when thinking about a public figure is never really, “does this person feel sincerely about what he or she represents.” But the fact that he’s able to examine the kinds of dynamics that were present in his earlier work in such an unbiased way is a definite sign of a more conscious way of operating, for what that’s worth. The real issue is not whether he conquers his private demons, but that by making his struggle public, he invites us to take part in it.

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