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Rapper Gets Blow Job Onstage, But Was It Sexual Assault?

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By Jemimah Steinfeld

Rappers get a bad rap. Well, this is the message that resonates from the recent news that Detroit-born rapper Danny Brown received a blow job on stage when he was performing in Minneapolis last Friday. In case you haven't heard of him, he's fairly old for the industry (32), missing teeth and has a mad professor hair cut. But apparently he is enough of a hottie stateside for some girl to publicly blow him, though for how long and how exactly it was initiated, is being contested. Brown confirmed it happened in a tweet that has since been deleted, boasting that he "didn't miss one bar bruh bruh."

The incident, which is now being referred to as The Thing, has received both praise and condemnation. Rallying for the former, some Twitter fans have figuratively high-fived him, with messages such as "I know what @XDannyXBrownX's dick looks like now woot woot."

Taking a more outraged approach is Brown's close friend and fellow rapper Kitty Pryde, who was the opening act on the night in question. Pryde claims it was sexual assault (Brown being the victim rather than the perpetrator) and that the only reason we have not called it as such is because we are all engineered to think that men, and particularly rappers, welcome such behaviour. In an open letter in Vice, Pryde writes:

"So what was Danny supposed to do, other than back away, which he did? And if he had figured out a way to gently push the girl off him immediately without looking like he was smacking her in the face, he's faced with attacks on his masculinity by every douchebro in the building. Yo dude, you don't want your dick sucked, bro? Are you gay? Haha you're gay you don't want girls to suck your dick haha gay dude bro man swag! And that's a rapper's literal nightmare."

Pryde is right about certain points. While there is pressure on women to conform to certain stereotypes, there is also pressure on men, pressure which is addressed a lot less. We live in a culture wherein the definitions of masculinity are quite narrow. In terms of sexual behaviour, men are considered players and studs for being promiscuous and are meant to want lots of often emotionless sex. This leaves less room for those who don't wish to express themselves in such a way. Like many areas concerning gender, it's a massive stereotype, one which should be challenged and which Pryde is correct to highlight.

But, at the same time, Pryde exonerates Brown too much. When she asked what he was supposed to do, here's a suggestion: back right off straight away (it does, after all, take a few moments to undo a zip). In fact, why was he so close to someone's face anyway? Do not brag about it online and, if you really feel assaulted, say so.

Our actions, or lack thereof, make statements. Whether intentional or not, they reinforce certain values as we align ourselves to one cause and distance ourselves from another. Brown's lyrics are reputably misogynistic, singing lines such as "Fuck a bitch mouth until her fucking face cave in." His shows are also notoriously sexualised. Some have claimed on the night of The Thing, he was going around groping women's breasts. It's hardly a surprise then that people wouldn't immediately think he was assaulted, since his behaviour largely reinforces negative images of rappers as hyper-masculine, misogynistic and over-sexualised i.e. game for an onstage blowy.

The same applies to the girl in question, whose actions have been validated by some. One tweet reads, "I don't know what's funnier @XDannyXBrownX getting head on stage or all the bitches saying they wish they were that girl lol." Apparently she has spoken out too, though again the information is distorted. If it is correct, she describes herself as promiscuous and a liberated woman. But I'm not sure liberated is the correct word. What message does she send out to other girls? That liberation means giving a man head in public?

It's a real shame that this is part of hip-hop culture and is something Brown gets props for ("woot woot"), as does the girl. Both conformed to the worst gender stereotypes and in so doing deflected attention away from real talent and innovation in the industry.

@JFSteinfeld