Yesterday, an old video of upstart Chicago rapper Lil Reese hit the web and immediately went viral. The grainy cell phone clip showed Reese, friend and crew member of Chief Keef’s GBE clique, brutally beating a young woman after she apparently asked the rapper and his friends to leave her home.

Despite the heinous nature of the video, Lil Reese took to Twitter to blame it on “the haters.”

He wrote: “The haters tryna see a mf Dwn lol Dey gotta b broke and bored wanna upload sum sh– from years ago damnn we winnin it’s 2 late…#3hunna.”

Lil Reese and the video were the talk of the Twitterverse yesterday, and an overwhelming number of the comments either joked about the assault or waxed poetic about “hoes” needing to be beaten.

Here’s a sampling:


“Whatever that girl did to Lil Reese she had to do it more than once and she deserved that beating #LilReeseForPresident”


“Lil Reese fucked her ass up . hahahaha . im weak af. hoes gettin beat tf up now’a days .”

“Lil Reese a real nigga shout out for stomping a mud hole into a messy ho LMFAO”

Ironically, many chastised the woman for “fighting” a man, despite the fact that Lil Reese clearly instigated the attack.

One woman wrote:

“Okay. So that Lil Reese video is a perfect example of why females need to stop acting like they can take on niggas in fist fights.”

The woman seen beaten in the video also took to Facebook to speak out:

Lil Reese attacks woman

While many disavowed Lil’ Reese and his violent act (peace to @LeftSentThis), several others found the situation humorous.

And that’s sickening.

Though the brutal violence displayed in the video was disturbing, what was even more troubling was that most, if not all, of the young men in that room simply watched the woman get beaten up.

From the online clip, it appears that only the woman’s friends jump in to save her while Lil Reese’s crew and the other men simply laughed.

This inaction is sadly becoming more and more commonplace, especially since many seem more concerned with filming a dramatic scene than helping someone, especially a black woman, in need.

Between the passengers that stood by and watched the bus driver and the passenger altercation turn violent and the men in the room laughing while Lil Reese stomped the woman out, to the criticism about Sandra Fluke and the recent lackadaisical discussions of rape, I’m troubled by the growing culture of voyeurism and violence that seems to be permeating our communities (and, especially, our young men).

I experienced this very thing first hand last year when I witnessed a man punch a woman while his friends laughed and filmed the incident. Although my friends and I didn’t know the woman, we rushed to her aid when she ended up unconscious in the street, and while the man simply stepped over her and walked away.

In that moment, the young woman and her friends were on their own. The police we flagged down didn’t seem to care she had just been assaulted, and the men who watched her get punched certainly did not value her existence. I suppose they felt like several in the Twitterverse who think “beating hoes” is the thing to do.

While many write Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks off as a breeding ground for idiots, it can give us a rare glimpse into how people really think. It also shows how quickly and easily violence and other negative behaviors can become normalized.

Think about it. Just as fast as #FML (f—ck my life), LOL, Yolo, and ‘Kanyed’ became a part of our collective lexicon thanks to social media, the normalizing of real violence that has taken place over the past few years has also been just as swift.

Although it was once easy to brush off the fictionalized brutality we saw in films, TV, and music videos, these days we watch real life violence as if it were fake. And the continual consumption of “reality” has, in my opinion, desensitized many to these heinous acts, lessening their ability to be empathetic.

Instead of roundly criticizing someone for reacting violently or offensively, we turn their actions into a joke. And instead of holding people accountable for their actions, we excuse the perpetrator and blame the victim.

The way we interact on social media doesn’t end simply because we close our laptops and put away our phones; it spills over into our everyday lives. And if we don’t call out these troubadours of violence when they rear their heads, then prepare to be continually shocked at the level of disconnect between how people should react and how they actually do.

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