It’s not easy being a feminist pop music fan these days, what with right-wing TV pundits railing against black artists under the guise of paternalistic protection of women. I can’t side with someone against rap misogyny when they’re also anti-choice — which, make no mistake, most of the Fox News crew is. That said, it will be interesting to attend Gwen Stefani’s concert tonight in the wake of the Akon/Verizon controversy. There are a lot of layers to this issue. On the one hand, Akon clearly crossed lines of acceptable behavior in his handling of a female fan in Trinidad. It’s not the raunchiness of his behavior I object to; it’s the roughness, the way he pushed the 15-year-old around. The fact she has complained of the way she was treated is significant; this was not consensual. On the other hand, I don’t want to play into the racism of commentators who call Akon a rapper just because he’s black; Akon’s a singer. I’m tired of the media jumping on hip-hop for reflecting larger social ills. As tired as I am of casual pop misogyny.

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