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Judd interview and a “my bad” on Simmons’ Global Grind website – Ashley Judd isn’t your normal run of the mill actress, the woman works hard for causes she cares about but became the receiver of a firestorm in 2011 for a few short paragraphs in her book ”All That Is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir”.
She basically said that a large portion of rap and hip hop was tied to ‘rape culture’ and was a ‘contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.’
Of course statements like that don’t sit well with some people who live and breath hip hop and the culture it creates.
Ashlet of course had to respond to the fire storm and she did so in impecible fashion first by calling on a pal in the industry, mogul, Russell Simmons. She did an interview on his site Global Grind and also wrote an excellent piece addressing the backlash.
Here is an excerpt from the interview which can be read in full here.
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RS: What were intentions when you wrote that paragraph about hip-hop, Snoop and Puff?
Ashley: My intention was to support artists to know that they have so much power. That they make incredible life changing impressions, particularly on the young. And we have choices everyday with our expressions, we either empower and celebrate unity or to re-enforce inequality and degradation. We are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. There is no in-between.
There are elements, and that is the part that has been so distorted…what I’m being accused of is condemning rap and hip-hop as a whole, and the whole community and when they say community, they mean the fans, and African-Americans, it’s become so generalized. My intention was to take a stand to say the elements that are misogynistic and treat girls and women in a hyper-sexualized way are inappropriate. The male dominance that is displayed, and the reinforcement of girls’ and women value and identify as primarily sexual, is not helpful in any artistic expression, in any cultural form, whether its country music or in television story lines. And if they read amore than one paragraph in the book, they would see that all four hundred pages are about that! We do live in a worldwide culture in which the sexual interests of boys and men are privileged over the bodily integrity and sexual autonomy of girls and women. What about this 11 year old child, gang raped multiple times in Texas over months? That is rape culture: a crowd of people, repeatedly, participating and allowing sexual violence and humiliation. But it isn’t always that extreme, or evident, but it is pervasive. Men having constant sexual access to compliant (or sometimes sassy, but in the end, she always wants it, and if not, hey, nothing wrong with a force, if she resists) females is a theme everywhere: sock commercials, shoe ads, hamburger advertisements. I so regret that my indictment of rape culture as a whole has been with that paragraph interpreted as me blaming rap and hip hop exclusively. That was absolutely not my intentin, and I so regret it has had that effect on some people. That community is incredibly important to me and to the cause of social justice. It is filled with bad ass and brave activists whom I admire, who work under duress fighting epic discrimination. As for the artists themselves who I mention, I write about being friendly with and enjoying Curtis Jackson’s company, then being confused when on stage his .50 personae comes out. I know Sean as a lovely, gracious guy who always remembers my husband’s name, with whom I have had heartfelt talks about the role of pop culture in improving social norms and eliminating discrimination.
I highly recommend you also read her article “All That Is Bitter & Sweet: My Hip-Hop Remarks”
Do you think she rectified her ‘mistake’ well with these comebacks? I personally think she more than made up for it and in some cases her original statements still have a certain validity.
What do you think?
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