Recently, an unsettling new trend has risen from the criminal accusations of several prominent rap artists. Allegations of sexual assault, rape, and harassment have been all too common among figures of prominence, mainly because the privilege of being so influential somehow eliminates accountability for your actions. Rappers such as Kodak Black, and Xxxtentacion have recently made headlines, not only for their musical success, but also because of the allegations of sexual assault and abuse made against them that have gone public.
Influential figures in the hip-hop industry have long been plagued with false accusations of rape and assault, however this fact should not cause generalization in the slightest. Looking all the way back in 2005, rapper Snoop Dogg was the focus of a sexual assault allegation which quickly got dropped with little to no information on the victim of this alleged assault, or the consequences of Snoop Dogg's actions. Apparently, the victim was supposedly paid off, preserving Snoop Dogg's reputation, while also humiliating the victim, and strengthening the abuser's actions. This, in a nutshell, most accurately represents the extent of rape culture.
The reason why these two cases of assault have caught the attention of so many is due to the reaction the allegations have received by fans of the rappers. On social media, hashtags such as #FreeKodak and #FreeX began to trend nationally. Fans were so blindly devoted to the artists, they failed to see how their actions were dangerously strengthening and encouraging rape culture. While Kodak Black and Xxxtentacion were getting pats on the backs and reduced sentences, the victims of their abuse were getting blamed, guilted, and outright harassed by strangers on the internet. It is so easy to separate the artist from the art when you aren't the one left with the repercussions of a sexual assault attack.
It is almost hostile to see how fans of these rappers defend abusers. Pictures have surfaced online showing the extent to which Xxxtentacion beat his pregnant girlfriend, and yet people are still so willing to hand over money to see these people live. If you contribute in any way to the success of these abusers, you are a part of the problem. The next time you listen to these artists, acknowledge how fortunate you are to have the privilege to overlook the misogynistic and criminal behavior of some, at the expense of others.
Rape culture is certainly a problem recognized and advocated against by many. However, if you advocate against rape culture, but support artists who outwardly and unapologetically acknowledge their abuse towards women, you are an enabler. When alligning yourself against a cause, you are not allowed to pick an choose your battles. The next time you tweet #FreeKodak, ask yourself what kind of freedom you truly seek. Is it freedom from prison, or freedom from the accountability of these rappers actions'. Rape culture is real, and rape culture is dangerously prevalent. Don't be on the wrong side of the fight.