It is no secret that Black men experience violence as a result of racism. This violence can be physical, but it can also take the form of non-physical acts, like rejection that is based on racial discrimination. It can be difficult to remain poised and calm as a Black man who is constantly being provoked by a historically White-dominated society. In fact, many Black entertainers have become wildly successful and popular because of rebellious and anti-establishment personas. A good example is the legendary gangsta rap group, N.W.A. who vocalized the experiences of many Black men who were victimized by police units like the LAPD.
Rap Displaying Black Men’s Trauma from Violence
While many view the rap group as champions for Black human rights, one of the group founders has been accused of inflicting acts of violence on multiple women. One such event is immortalized on the Eminem track “Guilty Conscience”, which features Dr. Dre.
Hurt and violated by an often uncaring system, Black men are left with two choices. They can choose to succumb to and continue to perpetuate the violence inflicted on them, or they can choose to rise above it. Sometimes there is no choice when reflexes and self-defense come into play.
Parallels to Will Smith’s Slap
However, in all of the situations described in the song as well as in the disturbance at the Oscars, there was time for contemplation before finally acting. Pain is a part of life, but people who have been the victims of crime can choose to rise above it. And apologize for their impulsive actions. Chris Rock must have been listening to his conscience too when he decided to laugh off the encounter.
The rap song depicts good versus evil battling over the outcomes of three unrelated events. Dr. Dre raps from the perspective of an angel and Slim Shady voices the devil. When Dr. Dre insists that a man who has walked in on his wife cheating on him remain calm. Then Slim Shady fires back. “You gonna take advice from somebody who slapped Dee Barnes?” This line is a reference to Dr. Dre’s assault on reporter Dee Barnes. Dr. Dre claps back, “He don’t need to go the same route that I went/Been there, done that”.