Rick Ross protests

A reader’s comment on yesterday’s article about the mounting protests geared toward Rick Ross after he boasted about committing date rape on the song, “U.O.E.N.O (You ain’t even know it),” made me flinch.

CLUTCH reader dippedingodiva wrote:

“I hate to admit it but this is what happens when white women get offended; they mobilize forces and go after what they want. I am glad that they are hitting Ross where it hurts.”

I have to respectfully disagree.

Black women have a long history of mobilizing and making our voices heard. From Harriet Tubman’s involvement in the suffragette movement, to our outspoken voices within the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Women’s movements—black woman have always been at the forefront of change.

And these days are no different.

Remember how much some of us hated C. Dolores Tucker and her crusade against rap? Or how about the thousands of black women who turned out in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York to protest the use of the n-word in rap a few years back? Or perhaps you remember the women of Spelman College and Essence magazine who were most likely responsible for the demise of Nelly’s rap career after that heinous Tip Drill video hit airwaves?

Black women were there. And we’re still here.

As our society has changed, sistas have continued to take our pushback of rape, misogyny, and sexism to the tweets…and to the streets.

Media literacy watchdog group FAAN Mail; the brilliant writers of the Crunk Feminist Collective; the dedicated members of Black Women’s Health Imperative; the political action group Color of Change; and DJ Beverly Bond’s Black Girls Rock are just a few of the many groups of black women who are actively advocating for change.

Moreover, it was black women who caused Oxygen to pull Shawty Lo’s “All My Babies Mamas” from its proposed lineup, and it has been black women who have continued to apply pressure to Rick Ross, and now his sponsors, about his rapey lyrics.

Despite our constant involvement in pressing for change, the mainstream media rarely picks up on the issues we have championed until much later in the game. Hence, the national attention Ross is now receiving. Had it not been for sistas (and our allies) refusing to let go and accept his non-apology, those outside our community may still be unaware of the issue.

While it’s unfortunate that our voices are often relegated to the margins until the mainstream sees fit to acknowledge them, it is up to us to continue to get involved and advocate for our concerns.

As always, our best weapon is action.

So join a group or start your own; sign or organize petitions; raise awareness and organize events (and lobby your local politicians) to make your concerns heard.

Because if you’re wondering why more black women aren’t speaking up, take that as a sign you should begin to fight.

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