According to Perez Hilton, hip-hop mogul and new dad Jay-Z has written an ode to his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, in which he vows to stop using the word “bitch.” But Urban Daily says they think the poem, originally posted on rollingout.com, is fake. Oy. Here’s the poem, then I’ll tell you why I think it doesn’t matter if Jay-Z stops calling women bitches or not:
Before I got in the game, made a change, and got rich,
I didn’t think hard about using the word B—-.
I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it
now with my daughter in this world
I curse those that give it.
I never realized while on the fast track
that I’d give riddance to the word bitch, to leave her innocence in tact.
No man will degrade her, or call her out her name
the women won’t despise her and call her the same.
I know it’s gonna miss me
cuz we been together like Nike Airs and crisp tees
when we all used to hang out front
singing 99 problems but a lady ain’t one.
Excuse me miss, can I be your mister
cuz I can tell the difference from a little girl and a sister,
She never grew up, her father left her alone
I promise not to talk like we used to
until Kingdom Come.
I’m so focused on your future,
The degradation has passed
I wish you wealth, health, and insight
forever young you may pass.
Blue Ivy Carter, my angel.
I’m gonna have to agree with Urban Daily here and say that Rolling Out fabricated this, simply because there’s no link to an original posted by Jay. In the Rolling Out post, Renee Gardner writes, this is a “small change he can make that would have far reaching impact — stop using the word “b—-.” Jay-Z is all to well aware of the influence his musics and his lyrics have on the actions and attitudes of youth here and over seas.” It seems like Gardner was hoping — with a few strokes of her computer keys — to catalyze a movement to make hip-hop less misogynistic, something many in and around the community have been trying to do for years.
But here’s why it wouldn’t matter if Jay-Z, from this day forward, stopped referring to women as bitches: the damage is already done. Or undone, as the case may be. Use of the word bitch has become so ubiquitous in not just the hip-hop community but in queer and feminist circles as well that it has mainstreamed. Like the “n-word” or like the terms fag and dyke, bitch only embodies its most negative connotations when spewed with appropriate vitriol. Which is not to say that the word bitch has as much painful history attached to it as the other words I just referenced, but that it has been embraced by the group of people it was meant to offend. (See Bitch magazine, for example.) I’m part of the old-school hip-hop generation, and I’ve been using the word bitch as a term of endearment since high school.
But bitch can still be used negatively, to be sure. As in, “I think you’re a bitch mother,” something my darling ex-husband once told me in the presence of our daughter. We women aren’t the only bitches, though. Men who are acting in an upsetting or pathetic manner are often referred to as bitches, or the even more entertaining “punk-ass bitches.” A bitch, it seems, is really more of an asshole. Or a c*nt, depending.
It’s not the word bitch itself that matters, anymore, but the fundamental disrespect of women in much of hip-hop (and our wider culture) that Gardner should be (and I think is) taking issue with. And that kind of misogyny isn’t going to disappear thanks to one falsely attributed poem. Nice try, though.