It’s not often that you would find a Lil’ Wayne video on the Urban Cusp, as the popular rapper tends to steer clear of any progressive imagery. But “How to Love” should be on your radar. In sum, the female character in the video has a life defined by dysfunctional influences and unhealthy relationship choices that produce fatal outcomes. This tragic narrative in the beginning of the video’s storyline is juxtaposed with a counter “happy ending” brought about by a very different set of positive life experiences and choices.
Some might argue that this is an ironic case of art imitating life, as immense controversy has surrounded the rapper in recent years for having fathered four children with three different women (one who became the focus of two TV series on the BET network and two who were celebrities in their own right). Without ignoring the contradictions found in his personal life, his humorous attempt at singing, and the “black and white” message of the video, it can still be said that Dwayne Michael Carter used his artistry to do something compelling here.
The video’s concept brings awareness to important social ills that are rarely discussed in mainstream Hip-Hop culture such as molestation, sexual promiscuity, domestic violence, Black male incarceration, inadequate education, single motherhood and poor self-image. It focuses on how and who women learn to love, begging the question of whether or not they ever learn to truly love themselves. While we know that this matter crosses racial and class boundaries, it is most often discussed in mass media and popular culture (as it was in this video) in relation to the love experiences of Black women.
This compels us to ask if Black women choosing losers as lovers is rooted in media myths or a bit of truth. What do you think?