Kanye West’s and Chris Brown’s public reputations have been marred by their actions towards women, specifically Taylor Swift and Rihanna. Recently, the two took to their respective social media accounts to blast out their problematic views and take slut shaming to a whole new level.
The reality show “Love and Hip Hop” is a guilty pleasure that many people indulge in. What is usually a source of mind numbing entertainment full of catty drama and singles that never seem to make it to the radio, took a disturbing turn last week. R&B singer Kehlani, who stars in the show, was hospitalized after a suicide attempt on March 28, following speculation that she was cheating on basketball player Kyrie Irving with her ex-boyfriend PARTYNEXTDOOR.
While some celebrities may have used their star power to uplift Kehlani in her time of need, Brown stayed true to himself. The artist told us all why he was mad on March 29 in a series of tweets that began with “Girls be mad at a ni**a for f***ing around wit b**ches, but her DMs got more names then the Declaration of Independence. #YEAHIMTHROWINGSHADE”.
Brown went on to spread doubt about the singer’s attempted suicide, claiming: “There is no attempting suicide. Stop flexing for the gram. Doing sh*t for sympathy so them comments under your pics don’t look so bad”. He closed off by affirming that though he recognized his indefensible position, he “rides for his homies regardless” especially since he views Irving as “one of the only good guys left.”
There is no attempting suicide. Stop flexing for the gram. Doing shit for sympathy so them comments under your pics don't look so bad
— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) March 30, 2016
If nothing else, at least Brown knows that he is not one of the good guys. The slut shaming and ignorance towards mental health that the artist has displayed are disturbing for anyone with a public platform.
Contrary to Brown’s claim, attempted suicide is a reality. In fact, there are 25 attempted suicides for every death by suicide. In his drive to slut shame Kehlani, Brown erased the experiences of people all around the world battling depression and suicidal thoughts and drummed up the age old trope of a lying woman crying for sympathy.
Fellow artist Kanye West is another example of an artist who has used his social media presence to shame women. In a Twitter feud with rapper Wiz Khalifa, West brought up their mutual ex-girlfriend, Amber Rose, who Khalifa has a child with: “4th you let a stripper trap you”.
To bring Rose into a feud Khalifa is to use her as a pawn. She is not an object whose identity exists only through her relationships with men, or through her employment history. But for women, particularly black women, involved in the industry, it becomes a part of everyday life to deal with men like West reducing them to such.
Previously, West appeared on a radio show called “The Breakfast Club” and shared some very choice thoughts about Amber Rose, claiming that it’s “very hard” for a women to be with a man who’s dated Amber and that he had to “take 30 showers before I got with Kim”.
Kim Kardashian is no stranger to the effects of slut shaming; as anyone can recall the sex tape with ex-boyfriend Ray J that many claim put her on the map. What’s especially notable about West’s slut shaming of Rose is that the rapper’s wife has celebrated her right to pose for nude photos both in print and on her personal social media platforms.
This double standard is as illogical as it is egregious. If West, and the rest of the Kardashian family, are only able to promote body positivity and sexuality within their own bloodline, they aren’t advancing the interests of women overall.
Both West and Brown are free to use their social media as they like. What they reveal through tweets of this nature, however, is an underlying and pervasive culture of slut shaming within the industry that must be addressed. If we accept that our favorite artists will spread problematic views about women, we are accepting this culture.
Haddiyyah Ali is a contributor to The Daily Campus opinion section. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.