UPDATED Feb. 14, 2012 – Vanessa Satten, XXL Editor-in-Chief, has responded to theGrio with the statement: “I agree with [angry readers’] perspective. I do not see all content before it goes live. When I saw this video, I was truly offended and thought it crossed the line. I had it taken down immediately. I am disappointed that an employee decided to post it and I am putting internal procedures in place to make sure content like this does not go on the site. The video goes against my value system and represents poor judgment on behalf of the individual who posted it.”
According to XXL.com, “Too $hort also responded to the video in a statement sent to XXLMag.com”:
I want to apologize to anyone I may have offended with the XXL video interview I recently did. When I got on camera I was in Too $hort mode and had a lapse of judgement.I would never advise a child or young man to do these things, it’s not how I get down. Although I have made my career on dirty raps, I have worked over the years to somewhat balance the content of my music with giving back to the community. Just coming from a man who wants to see young people get ahead in life, I’m gonna do my best to to help and not hurt. If you’re a young man or a kid who looks up to me, don’t get caught up in the pimp, player, gangster hip-hop personas. Just be yourself.
XXL magazine teamed up with rapper Too Short recently to give “fatherly advice” that involved teaching middle-school-aged boys how to “turn girls out.” Calling it a process of “mind manipulation,” the aging rapper advised boys to digitally stimulate girls to get “whatever [they] want.” While the video has been removed from the XXL site, the fact that it was published at all is still drawing outrage.
“When you get to late middle school, early high school and you start feeling a certain way about the girls… I’m gonna tell you a couple tricks,” Too Short said in the video. “A lot of the boys are going to be running around trying to get kisses from the girls… We’re going way past that. I’m taking you to the hole.”
WATCH TOO $HORT’S ADVICE FROM XXL BELOW:
Then, the 45-year-old rapper, whose real name is Todd Anthony Shaw, asks women off camera to “cover their ears” to avoid being offended. Short then describes a scenario in graphic detail. “You push her up against the wall,” he continued. “You take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens.”
Whie Shaw is giving his graphic “advice,” upbeat, child-themed music plays in the background.
Not all XXL readers appreciated the advice.
The first comment on XXL’s site, along with the post read; “This clip is totally INAPPROPRIATE on so many levels and advocates sexual aggression toward young girls that[’s] consider[ed] RAPE, I’m [really] surprised this clip is publicly viewable. XXL lacks social responsibility with this immoral content!” The magazine has taken down the video but the cached version can still be found here.
Gina McCauley, founder of the black women’s advocacy blog What About Our Daughters, believes that the publishing of this video on XXL.com is part of a misogynistic agenda of the media entity. McCauley told theGrio that, “In 2007, my readers had to call on advertisers to pull ads from XXL.com when they referred to a black mother who’d been the victim of a brutal gang rape in West Palm Beach Florida as ‘some hooker down in Florida.’” She also noted that demeaning attitudes and sexual violence directed at black women and girls is seen as acceptable by too many blacks.
“People will want to point to XXL as an aberration, but misogyny and sexual violence committed against young black girls is normalized in far too many black communities,” McCauley continued in an email. She recalled a prominent case that was recently in the news in which an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas was gang raped — then accused by her community of somehow provoking their attackers.
“The black community has a problem with how it treats its girls and boys as it relates to violence,” McCauley concluded, and she called on black men to take Too Short to task for his comments and re-educate him about respecting black women.
Charing Ball, cultural critic and writer for Madame Noire, questions why Too Short was given a platform for “giving fatherly advice” in the first place — particularly by a white female editor. “That is like Essence magazine hiring Don Imus to give black women hair care advice, or Rick Santorum being invited to an LGBT rights organization luncheon to speak about marriage equality,” she told theGrio.
“Too Short, for the most part, is the epitome of the hyper-masculinity run rampant in hip-hop. [T]he blame lands squarely at the feet of Vanessa Satten, the editor-in-chief of XXL,” Ball said. “Finding out that a woman manages the magazine that has decided to give a platform to a man known for sexually suggestive imagery for the purpose of advising children that it is okay to sexual molest — or be sexually molested — is very troubling.
“If anything, it shows us just how some women are readily willing to perpetuate certain images including that of rape culture if they feel it would give them favor — in this case page views,” Ball concluded.
Too Short is known for his sexually explicit rhymes in songs like “Freaky Tales.” The rapper was arrested for assault in 2010 after an altercation related to his alleged attempt to bring underage girls backstage into his dressing room at a performance.
After being contacted, XXL digital content director Carl Cherry declined to comment on this article. Vanessa Satten has been contacted, but has not responded.
This article has been edited. Additional reporting by Alexis Garrett Stodghill.
Follow Donovan X. Ramsey on Twitter at @idxr