There’s little debate over what actually happened at a Minnesota club on Friday night, or at least the actual outcome: while on stage, a fan pulled down rapper Danny Brown’s pants, and attempted to perform oral sex on him. So far so gross. What there has been a lot of debate over, however, is whether or not this incident should be read as some sort of stereotypical display of hip hop masculine bravado, or, what we might normally call it if something like this happened in the real world, rape. See the picture here if you must.
It was the latter, Brown’s tour-mate and friend Kitty Pryde explains today in a convincing piece on Noisey, in which she addresses the slate of condemnations from both sides of the issue.
I’m mad that a person thought it was okay to pull another person’s pants down during their performance in front of about 700 other people. I’m mad that a person thought it was a good idea to perform a sex act on another person without their consent. I’m mad that nobody made her leave. I’m mad that Danny had to actually wonder what he was supposed to do at that point. I’m mad that when I went home and said I had no respect for that girl, I was attacked for being a “slut-shamer” (after literally leading a girl to his hotel room at 3AM at her request) and, even more outrageously, for being jealous of the girl who sucked his dick. I’m mad that when two dudes pulled my pants down onstage, other people got mad too, but when it happened to Danny the initial reaction was like one big high-five. I’m mad that people are treating “The Thing” like it’s some legendary event. I’m mad that even though they know exactly who the girl is, nobody in the media will even talk to her. I’m mad that I get a bunch of emails a day asking me to talk about my best friend’s “misogyny” and “classless behavior”, from people who have heard only rumors and seen only one very blurry and inconclusive iPhone photo.
There’s no question that someone performing an unwanted sex act on a person who isn’t interested in it is rape. The question of what is and isn’t appropriate contact at a hip hop or rock show, however, muddy the waters in a situation like this. Reaching out in desperation to grab the hand, or the arms, or the chest or leg of someone in the street is rightfully considered insane. But at a concert that’s just excitement. So where do we draw the line? Here’s a pretty good place to start: if your expression of fandom involves pulling off someone’s clothes and putting your mouth in their crotch, you’re probably way over the line. Don’t do that. Not only because it’s rape, but because wanting to have sex with someone whose songs you like very very much, so much so that you’ll perform said sex act in front of of other people, is gross and pathetic. I’m sure there are people who could argue that that sort of opinion constitutes slut-shaming. In this case the shame is well deserved. Get your shit together people.