QOTD: Black Women with Losers as Lovers – Media Myth or Some Truth?

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?

UrbanCusp.com is a cutting-edge online life.style magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. The site offers a platform for young adult perspectives, profiles inspirational visionaries and artists, and serves as an online community for change agents who are like-minded. Founded in 2011 by Rahiel Tesfamariam, Urban Cusp highlights voices, ideas and images not commonly found within mainstream media.

8 Comments

  1. Shani G. Dowdell

    September 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Lil Wayne brought a very strong and positive message with this video. I was on to this song before the video was out, and listening to the song alone, it could have went either way with him, but I agree he totally did something rare and special with this video by showing that with the proper love and attention as children we can change the outcome of our children. That piece is beautiful!

    To answer your question, I think choosing losers for lovers is more based on the availability of winners (men) and also how women view their own value, based on their past experiences as we see in the video.

    Also, Brandon Hines has a cover of this song on Youtube that is simply beautiful lyrically.

    Great post!
    Shani

  2. Stokelife

    September 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    God bless the positive message. Hope it sinks in. The cycle of destruction has to end somewhere. Lil ways teach a lot of distructive behavior, but if he do something good, he deserves encouragement. Bless.
    @SlifeGraphics @Showent @MrAceNYC

  3. The Black Snob

    September 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I originally made this comment on a friends Facebook page who posted this link:

    The only thing that kind of really irks me about this is that the song (yet again) is about women and their decisions (and kind of ignores the fact that the whole tragic scenario also could have been avoided through either birth control or abortion), and ignores the other entire half of the situation — how to help men make better reproductive/life/educational/health decisions. Unless the whole plan is for no one woman to ever procreate with a jerk in the hopes that all the jerks die off in some elaborate form of eugenics. Obviously, both men and women need help to make better decisions for themselves, but only focusing on women it reinforces the stereotype that being an awful person is somehow innate for black men, which is not true, as most men who have atrocious behavior are also only acting out from bad home environments, poor education, poor health, stress from living in crime-riddled areas and non-existent parents.

    Also: Lil Wayne. This is just as bad as Lyfe Jennings writing the song “Statistics” which I immediately took as a slow jam giving all the reasons why you should not date Lyfe Jennings, as he’d been arrest for domestic abuse and also had out-of-wedlock children. This would have meant more from Wayne if he’d written about how he — of multiple children by different women — never learned how to love or be responsible for his own sperm.

    I’m sorry for the rant, but there is just something extra annoying about a guy with a less than stellar reputation towards women doing a song and video giving women advice on what is wrong with them, ignoring all his own glaring flaws, as if men being awful is a just a part of life and cannot be helped, but women being awful is a national crisis that must be addressed.

  4. Stokelife

    September 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    @ Black Snob. I don’t know if you subscribe to any religion. Or if you identify with any ancient culture. If you do you can accept that abortion is murder. Otherwise If you don’t believe in anything like that, I might as well shut up. I agree IT TAKES two. So cant blame one party because everyone likes to FUNK! Unless its rape both parents are responsible for thier lot, and dircetly the lot of the born/unborn child(future adult). The cycle continues.

  5. KM

    September 21, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I’ve observed that many women tend to have children by the same guy. It appears that the ubiquity of fatherless children can be attributed to a smaller cohort of dudes that don’t like condoms.

    But I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that black women (as a targeted population) have any higher incidence of choosing men that are losers as lovers. For some reason women like the “bad boy” or the guy that appears to be the “bad boy.” Those preferences sometimes come with permanent consequences.

    Also: Interesting piece on the composition and editorial decisions behind the video.
    http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1669637/lil-wanye-how-to-love-director.jhtml

  6. claude patrick

    March 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    the whole issue in a nutshell as i once heard it put is ladies “you cant have TUPAC with a degree” the “arts” many of our people chose to follow talk/teach a whole bunch of nonsense that very few other cultures would ever understand or condone & try to make it a good look.

    a grown man should be walking with his pants hanging off his ass? beating his woman? in and out of jail? selling drugs to “keep it real”

    REALLY??

    flip the script on the foolishness and support the brothers that have thier act together and watch how fast things change.

  7. Thoughtful Chick

    May 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I think it’s great that Lil Wayne is expanding beyond the typical misogynistic, nonproductive songs he has released as commercial singles. On the flip side, I agree with @The Black Snob’s point of view. Excluding Black men for the conversation of accountability gets us further from a solution to our communities woes. Yes women of all walks of life can be attracted to “bad boy” types so dating “bad boys” is not a Black woman epidemic… but the conversation is bigger than that. Educating BOTH our young men and women on the positive values of higher education, self-love, proper parenting, etc… is really the key to our community’s transformation. I wonder if Black men feel left out, marginalized and helpless because society seldom brings them into the discourse regarding the betterment of our communities, except to make them seem like Black women’s inadequate other-half?

  8. All Ways Out #ed

    January 23, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Being politically correct means not having the internal fortitude to call a “spade” a “spade”… Black women… Start holding black men responsible for their actions… Stop laying down with “trash”… Listen to the “intervoice”… Make better choices when it comes to whom you “give” yourself to, and see how quickly our situation improves…