A sad article from Australia, about Tyler the “Creator”, about whom I have written before. Here’s the new outrage:

I’m a 23-year-old psychology student from Sydney and in June this year, I was subjected to a horrific torrent of abusive tweets from fans of touring American rapper Tyler Okonma. I challenged Okonma’s lyrics which encourage rape and violence against women by vocally supporting a petition on change.org that suggested he shouldn’t be playing all-age shows.

At Tyler’s concert in Sydney the next day, he told his fans he hoped my children got STDs, and “dedicated” songs to me that included lyrics like “punch a b—h in her mouth just for talkin’ s—t”.

The abuse started almost instantly. First a drip, then a rush, then a flood.  I felt physically sick. He had 1.7 million fans, and it felt like every single one of them had some violence stored up for me – a promise to assault me, the threat that they would rape me, an expression of hatred for my life and my freedom.

It was terrifying at first, and then I started to feel totally disconnected from myself. When one of them said he was going to mutilate my body, I couldn’t comprehend that he could be talking about me.

Obviously Tyler can’t be blamed for what his fans do. But — like the Dr. Dre / Dee Barnes incident — this shows the horrible crossover potential of misogynistic lyrics into real-life threats and even assault. (And let’s not forget that written violence directed at an individual can be extremely assault-like.)

As always, this is not to attack vulgar lyrics, because they can provide catharsis and insight into twisted minds. (Just like Poe and Lovecraft did.) But as a lifelong lover of hip-hop, I’m tired of seeing it used as a weapon against women, and I’m sick of hearing people say “it’s just an act”. We choose our personas, and Tyler has chosen one that is horrible.

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