Lil Reese, an up and coming rapper from Chicago, blew up the web this week when a video was leaked of him assaulting a young woman. The violent display was caught on camera, and released online last week. The disturbing clip shows Reese (in a red hoodie) crashing a woman’s house party (later identified as Tiairah Marie), getting into a verbal argument with her when she asks him to leave, and then proceeding to beat her. Marie takes an onslaught of blows from Reese until she falls to the floor where she is kicked in the head numerous times. Onlookers (both men and women) watch but no one intervenes.
Thousands of twitter users reacted to the video, some in outrage, while others criticized Marie’s taunts and said that her beating was warranted.
But many are unaware of the bigger issue at the heart of this story. When did violence of any sort (especially against women) become entertainment? When did we begin to actively support people who conduct this behavior? Now signed to Def Jam, Reese has become a well-established rapper overnight much like his affiliate Chief Keef.
Andreas Hale, former editor of BET.com and current Editor-in-Chief of TheWellVersed.com explains why society has substituted substance for ignorance as entertainment. In an article titled, F*ck Lil Reese & Our Desensitization To Ignorance That World Star Hip Hop Has Created, Hale describes how the popularity and marketability of rappers like Lil Reese have created a stereotype, which is used as an archeotype for young Black men. An excerpt from his posts states:
At the end of the day, Trayvon Martin looks like Lil Reese and Lil Reese looks like Trayvon Martin to the naked eye that is attached to a tainted brain. George Zimmerman followed Martin because he fit the profile, a profile they created and is heightened by websites such as WSHH and record labels that reward this ignorance with fame and a deal.
I’m not scared of my unborn children becoming the next Lil Reese, I’m scared of my unborn children becoming the next Trayvon Martin or Derrion Albert.
Regardless of if you agree or disagree with Reese’s actions or Hale’s opinion, it is important to understand the potential effect that media-constructed images have on our culture, and it is up to us to take responsibility for our part in creating them.
To read the rest of Hale’s article click here.