This week, Florida-born rapper Kodak Black sparked outrage after a video capturing him making off color comments about Lauren London in the wake of the death of her fiance’ Nipsey Hussle.
In the clip the 21-year-old “ZEZE” rapper can be heard saying: “Lauren London, that baby, though. She about to be out here single. She’s finna be a whole widow out here,” Kodak said in the session that went viral. “I’ll be the best man I can be for her. I’ll give her a whole year. She might need a whole year to be crying and shit for [Nipsey].”
Given the devastation that London and her family are currently going through , it isn’t surprising that fans and industry insiders alike were quick to distance themselves from Kodak as soon as the video hit the web.
LA’s Power 106 even went so far as to ban his music, with DJ Justin Credible tweeting: tweeting, “As a result of his poor judgment, Kodak Black’s presence and his music are no longer welcome at Power 106 in Los Angeles.”
We stand with the family of Nipsey Hussle and are appalled by the disrespectful and poor comments made by Kodak Black. With that, Power 106 will not support Kodak Black’s music. #LongLiveNip ???
— Justin Credible (@J_Credible) April 7, 2019
Since then several other radio stations have followed suit. Which is totally honorable and makes sense. However, I can’t help but find myself asking, “With all the blatantly colorist, sexist, and violent things Kodak Black has said and done in his short life, why did it take this to make people distance themselves from him?”
The first time I ever even heard of Kodak Black was not because of his music but because of his comments about hating his own Black complexion and refusing to date any woman who was the same color as him.
“I don’t like women with my complexion,” he admitted in that now infamous interview. “I like light skin women. I want you to be lighter than me. I love African American women, but I just don’t like my skin complexion.”
And before anyone could defend him by dismissing this as merely a preference, he went the extra mile to also explain how he believed lighter complected women also had more agreeable personalities as well as preferable aesthetics.
“My complexion, we too gutta,” he explained in reference to brown skinned Black people. “Light skin women…they more sensitive. Light skin women, we can break ’em down more easy, you know what I’m saying?”
Now this in itself was a face palm moment worthy of several side-eyes, and had me wondering why his publicist hadn’t gotten him into media training. But the public didn’t seem all that phased about his anti-Black woman sentiments and kept playing his records with increased zeal afterwards.
Then it was revealed that in addition to hating his skin color, Kodak also had some disparaging remarks about Haiti, the island nation which his family is from.
Initially when this young man made a big announcement about his plans to get involved with building a school in Haiti, I was impressed and thought he was perhaps seeking redemption. Yet when he was interviewed about the school building project the conversation quickly went left after he revealed why he refuses visit his ancestral homeland.
“I probably don’t even come back if I go to Haiti,” he speculated. “Them people will probably eat me man… I’d probably come back and won’t be able to rap again, dumb, like stupid… it’s like that over there.”
Wait, so your grandmother – who I assume you love – lives in Haiti and yet you’re convinced it’s an island full of Black cannibals waiting to rob you of your rap skills?
Again, in this social climate where folks are quick to “cancel” each other, these blatantly problematic comments steeped in self-loathing should have inspired some sort of fallout from fans that demanded he do better. But aside from the angry grumblings of a small minority, nobody blinked. Because like brown skinned women, Haitians are apparently fair game too.
That is, unless Trump is the one making a similar comment, then all of a sudden we pretend we care.
After the Haiti comments, I dismissed Kodak Black as a problematic fave for millennial hip hop fans and refused to get riled up about his rants any longer since the person he’d be hurting most is himself.
But then, the rape allegations started popping up, and suddenly the anti-Black chauvinistic behavior so many had turned a blind eye to, had sprouted wings and allegedly ended up attacking someone’s child.
For those who are unaware of the specifics of the case, prosecutors claim Kodak attacked a high school student in a hotel room in 2016 after performing at a show in South Carolina. They also claim he told his victim that he “couldn’t help himself” during the attack, in which he bit her on the breasts and neck as she repeatedly begged him to stop raping her.
When the underage girl reported the attack to the school nurse the next day at her Richland County high school, the nurse then informed the resource officer before the Florence County Sheriff’s Office eventually learned of the incident.
Can any of us say for certain that we know what happened in that hotel room between Kodak and this girl? No, we can’t. It would be irresponsible to do so before the investigation is complete.
But what I do know, is that when the rapper appeared on New York station Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning as a guest and was rather gently asked to address the disturbing accusations, Kodak – who had just been jovially speaking about all his other legal battles moments earlier – suddenly threw a tantrum and left the studio. Then his fans, rather than get mad at him for acting like a child, got upset with Ebro for having the nerve to ask the question.
On what planet does an alleged rapist get more sympathy than the deejay concerned about the fact that a rape may have taken place?
People’s skewed priorities and rape apologist antics when it comes to Kodak Black have continued to confuse (and dismay) me for some time now. Which is why I find this current and long overdue backlash — years into him being such a toxic part of the hip hop landscape troubles me so. Because it reinforces the ugly reality that there are Black people subscribe to a painfully divisive hierarchy when it comes to who and what they feel the need to stand up for versus who they don’t.
Nipsey Hussle was a strong, powerful, beloved Black man whose death rocked millions — myself included. And as a respectable Black man, any disrespect to him (or to his woman, who in the eyes of many is an extension of him) will be treated with a swift line being drawn in the sand.
We all know what to do when the brothers at the top of our food chain get disrespected. We stand behind them. We hold marches. We defend the honor of their dependents, and vow to lift them up even in death. That premise is literally the foundation of most pro-black movements which deify our men as kings. The idea being, “if the world won’t acknowledge your throne brother, we will!”
That very mindset is very specifically why Kodak’s behavior is finally being addressed.
But for all these years when he was talking smack about brown skin Black women being “gutta”, calling light skin Black women “easy to break” and spreading nasty rhetoric about Black immigrants from his own homeland, y’all didn’t really care all that much did you?
And you’d definitely didn’t care three weeks ago when Kodak made homophobic comments in a song calling female rapper Young M.A. a “dyke” and threatening to have sex with her. In my book, an accused rapist threatening to go after a lesbian because, “she got a coochie,” is ample cause for alarm.
Kodak Black: *degrades dark black women*
Kodak Black: *rapes a woman*
Kodak Black: *talks about having sex with a lesbian and calls her slurs*
Kodak Black: *talks about going at a respected man’s girlfriend*
N*ggas: NOW WAIT A DAMN MINUTE
— ＬＩＦＥ (@lifeavant) April 7, 2019
But side from a few cliche debates about colorism and sexism that were pulled out like leftovers from the company break-room fridge, and not even microwaved long enough to be considered a “hot topic” — the collective didn’t seem too bothered about those equally egregious offenses even when sexual assault was thrown into the mix.
And if we were all honest, we’d admit this is because women and immigrants, even when Black, just don’t rank as high on the outrage meter as cis, heteronormative, masculinity. So while this outrage is warranted… it definitely isn’t about defending a woman’s honor.
So yeah, on one hand I’m happy we’re on the same page as to why Kodak Black needs a therapist, a lawyer, and a crash course on Black History before he could ever be considered a redeemed member of our community.
Yet the fact that it took so long for us to get here, shows just how much work we still have to do when it comes to protecting our women and girls — even when they aren’t attached to a man we all love.
Follow writer Blue Telusma on Instagram at @bluecentric