About a week ago, a video surfaced on WorldStarHipHop.com that showed a largely unknown Chicago rapper named “Lil’ Reese” unleash a barrage of blows on a young woman who took exception with he and a group of friends coming into her home. That the young Def Jam-signee use of his fists of fury on a young woman who was later identified as recent high school graduate Tiairah Marie was shocking enough. However, what has (or hasn’t) happened after the video emerged is what got me hopping angry.
On Monday, the ‘Godfather of Hip-Hop’ Russell Simmons released a blog post entitled “The Education of Lil Reese by Russell Simmons”on the website he owns, GlobalGrind.com. A few choice quotes from his brief piece:
“…the actions of Lil Reese and his subsequent apology cause me great concern because he thinks that will be enough. He will have to do much more work to rid himself of his violent behavior…Domestic abuse is everywhere, in every trailer park and in every project building and in every rich, gated community. At times it might seem like it will never stop, but we must stand up against it…I am certainly a believer in compassion and will do everything I can to uplift Lil’ Reese, in private. But let me very clear, publicly, we must do better.”
As a woman and a survivor of domestic violence, both Lil Reese’s behavior and Simmons’ response struck a nerve. Allow me to elaborate:
1. What happened between Tiairah Marie and Lil Reese was not domestic abuse. Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive abusive behavior between intimate partners that is used to assert control in a relationship. Based purely on what is known about the two, what transpired was in fact an act of interpersonal violence – not domestic abuse. This difference is important, from a legal and social perspective.
2. As the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, Russell played a large role in the promotion of misogynistic and sexist music and videos that have helped shape many young rappers such as Lil Reese’s contempt for women. Yes, Def Jam had conscious and proud rap group Public Enemy on its’ roster…but it also had Bytches with Problems, Foxy Brown and post-Russell leadership (and co-distributed by Jive) the pied piper and golden shower lover of young girls, R. Kelly.
To read this article in its entirety visit Ebony.