Do we live in a sex-driven society? According to singer Erykah Badu, we do.
Badu, known for her controversial style and videos, is back in the headlines and sparking outrage on social media after sharing her thoughts on how high school girls should dress. Her remarks came after reading an article about a school in New Zealand mandating girls wear below-the-knee skirts in an attempt to repel the attention of boys and male staff.
Badu tweeted the following:
During Wednesday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and his panel of guests discussed Badu’s controversial comments, rape culture, and sexuality.
Martin told the panel that after reading Badu’s tweets, he heard the voice of a “Black mother and a Black grandmother” telling her daughter, “you are not dressing like that.”
Human Rights Project Manager Sevonna Brown explained that Badu is missing the premise that “we live in a rape culture society.”
“We can’t just say sex-driven when we know that Black women and girls are constantly being coerced, raped and sexually assaulted and Black women are facing sexual violence taking place at the highest rates,” said Brown.
She added, “So we can’t just say sex-driven when we know that there’s abuse and violence at play.”
Brown also explained that Badu is not wrong for expressing her views about the status and the “protection and the safety of Black women and girls.” She continued, we need to teach Black boys about the “culture of consent” and “how to ask.”
Brown believes as a community, African-Americans are not having enough conversations with Black men and boys on this important topic. She added, “We’re having too many conversations about victim-blaming and shaming girls for the way that they dress.”
Brown told Martin Badu’s comments were directed towards how girls should dress in school, but the subtext of her remarks directly addressed the “rape culture that we live in” and it needs to be “addressed head-on.”
Barbara Arnwine said the subtext of Badu’s argument revolves around “women making themselves too available for men and men are being stimulated and they just can’t control themselves.”
Avis Jones-DeWeever took it one step further, saying, “In terms of decorum, men need to learn how to control their genitalia.” She continued, “Rape is the responsibility of the rapist,” not the woman being victimized.
Rep. Terri Sewell said, “We can’t ignore the pre-text and the construct in which her (Erykah Badu’s) comments were made…We have to teach our boys, just like we have to teach our girls, that there is a way to behave and not to behave, but we cannot victimize women.”
Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel debate Erykah Badu’s remarks about how high school girls should dress in the video clip above.
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