It is safe to say that a lot of hip hop’s roots lie within thug, pimp and ‘gangsta’ culture. Rappers have branded themselves as having made it out of the hood while still having close relations to the hood and still representing the hood in their music. Although this is rap culture and it’s been this way for longer than I’ve been alive, young fans won’t stop glorifying these felon-turned rappers who glamourize a lifestyle of crime and danger.
To elaborate, the notorious and widespread 2009 story of Chris Brown attacking his then girlfriend, Rihanna, had the media crucifying and blacklisting Brown for months to follow. Brown eventually pleaded guilty to a felony and was sentenced to community labor, five years’ formal probation, and domestic violence counselling. Unfortunately, it seems this didn’t teach Brown anything because since then his legal troubles have continued to spiral downwards.
Additionally, his ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran recently filed a restraining order against him, citing that he had threatened to kill her and had assaulted her numerous times. Regardless of this, Chris Brown has a strong and dedicated group of fans worldwide who identify themselves as “Team Breezy.” In fact, Brown has had enough support from his fans that he was able to announce his upcoming United States tour entitled “The Party” that kicks off March 31st, 2017 in Maryland, Baltimore.
— Pretty Brown Skin (@strautherfarley) March 31, 2017
— Chris Brown Lyrics (@BreezyFan001) February 23, 2017
Fuck y'all Chris Brown hit Riri over a Decade ago, unless I have visual proof of hitting Karrueche than I don't believe it #TeamBreezy
— Step Daddy J (@JVargas025) February 21, 2017
Similarly, another rapper, Kodak Black has been in and out of jail for charges related to drugs, assault, robbery, battery and fleeing from officers. Most recently, he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a Florence hotel room back in February, 2016. Graphic details were released stating that Kodak Black had forced the unidentified victim onto a hotel room floor, removed her underwear, then penetrated her, although she repeatedly told him “no” and “stop.” If it wasn’t just his fans petitioning for his freedom, popular rapper Future, who has been linked to Kanye West and Drake, also posted a tweet in support of Kodak Black.
Keep ya head up KODAK BLACK
— FUTURE/FREEBANDZ (@1future) November 30, 2016
Idc what y'all say free Kodak Black
— Sauce McCartney (@BoobieNelson) March 21, 2017
they needa free Kodak his album supposed to drop next week😰 #paintingpictures
— € (@ethvnfinessvn) March 20, 2017
In addition to this, the list of hip hop artists who are also convicted felons includes some extremely popular artists such as:
The list goes on and it doesn’t just stop at rappers and those involved in the hip-hop community as there is an extensive amount of Hollywood stars who having been convicted for a number of felonies. Now, I won’t sit here, be a hypocrite and pretend I don’t enjoy some of these artists’ music, but will I ever glorify or defend any of these artists? Definitely not. Furthermore, downplaying the crimes of artists such as Chris Brown and Kodak Black simply minimizes the traumatic experiences of the victims, which ultimately contributes to rape culture and violence against women.
This lifestyle has pushed across the message that being a convicted felon is now acceptable amongst youth and it’s allowing them to idolize undeserving celebrities. If there is one thing young people should know, it’s that living a life of crime is not a lifestyle any young teen or young adult should strive to follow because there are far better ways to make a name for yourself.