A male friend of mine whom I had not spoken to for a while informed me that he had some good news to share. He had had a baby. She was now 7 months old. The proud papa is a traditionally minded Jamaican man. Opens doors. Thinks his future wife should never have to work if she doesn't want to and definitely not while she is pregnant. Once told me that all men want a respectable smart business savy woman by day and a slut at night. He's a young man doing quite well in real estate in Brooklyn. Despite his traditional thinking, he's baby's mama remains just a girlfriend.
Fatherhood relative to daughters is uniquely distinct from the relationship to a son. As the new daddy shared his newfound doting on this little 7-month old female being, he shared how it was affecting his listening habits relative to hip-hop. Born in Jamaica, he was raised up in the Caribbean enclave of Bed-Stuy Brooklyn. (Go Brooklyn!!) He grew up a fan of Biggie and Jay-Z. He told me he especially admired Jay-Z as both rapper and business man (see post and video refuting that Jay-Z smacked a women in Africa in 2004). What's interesting is that ever since my friend's little girl came into the picture, his interest in hip-hop's misogyny has done a 180º. He said essentially he listens differently to all the ways men represent women now. (Pictured: three-time Grammy Award-winning rapper and actor Chris Bridges aka Ludacris with his daughter).
I shared a not-so surprised acknowledgement of this phenomenon. It happened with Nas too and a host a men who love hip-hop whom I have known or written about. I wrote about Nas in a book to be released by Michael Eric Dyson in Jan 2009 devoted to the great Nasty Nas (more on that to come). Nas actually created the anthem "I Can" for his daughter because all the hip-hop out there was so misogynistic. I only wish men would realize, I told my friend, this revelation long before they had a female child. It's imperative they begin to, that men are willing to discover the impact this music has on their disrespect of not only women, but themselves esp. in the public sphere.
According to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in his book titled, Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs, the needs of men often differ from that of women. Men often yearn for respect, while women generally want to feel loved. That may be but perhaps we need a bit more of the reverse.