As a woman, I felt that I should address the allegations of sexual harassment involving L.A. Reid and Sean Combs. Hip Hop Culture and Rap music aside the music industry is a workplace that is no different than any other. With that comes the same work related stressors that some of us experience on a day to day basis and that includes sexual harassment and sexual assault and in some cases rape. Household names that we thought were trusted members within the industry have proven themselves untrustworthy. What does a woman do in the field of entertainment when men constantly make advances towards her? We have the Human Resources department but does a talent agency, a music label, a distribution company, or a movie studio have the same? Maybe for the people who sit in the offices all day but what about the artist, the assistant, the road manager, or the others who don’t have immediate access to an HR department? Who do they turn to, who do they have to advocate for them in a culture where sexuality and promiscuity is a top priority that is part of the workplace culture?
Expecting a woman to feel as though she has to be subjected to sexual predation on a regular basis is misogynistic and morally wrong. Adult entertainers, strippers, and even prostitutes deserve basic respect as a human being. Taking advantage of a woman because she’s younger or inexperienced is puerile. A lot of the men in the music industry are in their forties and some are in their fifties and sixties! Now what would a twenty-something year old want with an old man? I know what you’re thinking, “there are girls out here doing whatever they can to get on.” First, you need to address them as women or ladies because we’re over 18 so anything 17 and under is out of the question point blank period. Second, even if she is doing whatever she can to “get on” let it be her choice and don’t make anyone feel like they have to do anything that they don’t want to do. Lastly, why sexualize the woman who is just trying to make it and feed her family? Don’t assume that every woman in the industry is down for some sexual encounter with you or some other man in “power”. Don’t stereotype me or other women because you had bad experiences with women that you think warrant your generalization of all of us.
I don’t subscribe to the “boys will be boys” mantra as I believe that men can control themselves, their desires, and their urges. That’s an immature copout for someone in need of a scapegoat. Some people come into power never having had any and misuse and abuse their power. Some people have an ego and think that they have to assert their power in order to be heard. A power trip is someone who exaggerates their importance because in fact the women are the ones with the power. If we weren’t so powerful men wouldn’t get weak in the knees in the workplace, men wouldn’t cover for each other when claims of sexual harassment, assault, or rape are brought up, men wouldn’t need to justify their inappropriate actions. Women you have the power and you don’t need to keep that job if you are going to be treated in that fashion. You have to think more of yourself and know that you have more to offer besides what’s between your legs. Take them to court and have justice served. You must follow through with the court proceedings. That will take its toll on you emotionally and mentally but how much will your integrity cost you if you don’t? “No one man should have all that power.” – Kanye West