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Talk Back: Rick Ross & Universal Music Group Promote Rape Culture

“Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.”
– Rick Ross of Def Jam Records, Universal Music Group


Rick Ross, @rickyrozay

As the Steubenville case has recently reminded us, THIS is rape.

And it is in a rape culture where a top selling artist like Rick Ross, can glorify sexual violence and grace the covers of Rolling Stone Magazine at the same time.

Why do gatekeepers at UMG and Def Jam Records give these sexually violent messages a platform? Who else is responsible?  When will this stop?

Universal Music Group was silent when we called out their CEO Lucien Grainge for promoting music that routinely degrades women of color.

Universal Music Group was silent when Lil Wayne’s sexually violent lyric about Emmett  Till was released on the internet.


Lucien Grainge, @UMG

Will UMG stay silent now, as their artist Rick Ross promotes rape? Will Def Jam simply apologize and allow another artist to glorify rape three months from now? Will Rolling Stone Magazine continue to refer to Rick Ross as “hip hop’s most lovable don?”

Join us to demand that Def Jam and Universal Music Group publicly denounce sexual violence and make a commitment to ending the promotion of sexual violence in their music. Enough is enough. It is time to hold these labels, corporations and their artists — accountable.

And for the advertisers and media outlets, from print and digital to television and radio, that give a platform to artists who promote sexual violence, know that you are part of this problem.

Let hip hop activist Rosa Clemente’s response below inspire you as she calls on men to join us and speak out against rape culture.

Join us and tweet @DefJamRecords and @UMG that you are #NotBuyingIt until they stop promoting rape culture.


We support the following petitions/efforts:


Talk Back: Lil Wayne and the Corporations Behind Him

Rapper Lil Wayne’s music is in heavy rotation on most urban radio stations in the US.  His misogynistic lyrics are generally (not always) tolerated and celebrated.

But when he released a track last week with the artist Future that trivialized the violent killing of civil rights icon Emmett Till, the misogyny and disrespect sparked public outrage. Although L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic Records (Future’s label, not Wayne’s) has apologized and promised to remove the offensive content from the track, Lil Wayne has been silent.  The family of Emmett Till is demanding an apology from the artist.


We believe Emmett Till’s family and the black community deserve more than an apology — from Lil Wayne and the corporations that back him.

We want answers and real action from Epic Records, Cash Money Records, Sony Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Clear Channel, Radio One, and Viacom —  media corporations that consistently provide a platform for misogynistic and hateful messages about black and brown communities.

We encourage others to join us and talk back to these corporations. How? Here are some ideas:

Share or create your own memes.  Express yourself in an Open Letter and post it to your blog.  Talk about this with your friends, film it and upload it to youtube. Make a PSA. Create a remix or mashup that gets people thinking. Use satire to critique what you see. Organize a petition. Organize direct action. Do something totally creative and unexpected to get people talking about this. Support the media that is reflective of who we are as a diverse people.

And use twitter to call out not only @LilTunechi, but @epic_records @UMG, @SonyEntNet, @ClearChannel, Radio One and @Viacom.

Together, let us TALK BACK – through our words and actions-  and be heard.

Collectively, we are strong. The question is —  are we willing to act?

Talk Back: K’NAAN & Self Censorship

Illustration by Jimmy Turrell, from a photograph by Steve C. Mitchell/European Pressphoto Agency

Illustration by Jimmy Turrell, from a photograph by Steve C. Mitchell/European Pressphoto Agency

“I now suspect that packaging me as an idolized star to the pop market in America cannot work; while one can dumb down his lyrics, what one cannot do without being found out is hide his historical baggage.” – K’NAAN

On December 8, 2012, Somali born Canadian hip hop artist K’naan wrote an Op Ed in the New York Times about how his record label (A&M/Octone Records) has pressured him to censor his message. In his powerful and honest essay, K’Naan questions the meaning of success. FAAN Mail responds to his words in this talk back.

Music credit: “People Like Me” by K’Naan. 2010 A&M/Octone.
Check out K’Naan here.

Talk Back: “Birthday Song”

These videos are a response to “Birthday Song” and all other “hits” that dehumanize our people. We advocate for collective responsibility and urge one another to speak up, to talk back to powerful media corporations and to support media that values our humanity and diversity. Join the movement. #TALKBACK.

All I want for my Birthday:

Most of all, WE want a meeting with Lucien Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, to discuss these concerns and others raised in our Open Letter.

all i want


It’s Time for Women of Color to Talk Back via Huffington Post

Media Literacy Group Fights Back Against Negative Images of Women of Color via Clutch Magazine

Women Of Color Tell 2 Chainz What They Want For Their Birthday via Jasiri X at The Black Youth Project

Women of Color Activists Take On 2 Chainz’s ‘Birthday Song’ via Colorlines

(VIDEO) Women Of Color Talk Back via Huffington Post LIVE 

FAAN Mail is Talking Back: No “Big Booty Hoes” for 2 Chainz’ Birthday this Year via BUST Magazine

Hip Hop Feminism and FAAN Mail via the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race and Politics in the South at Tulane Univ.

FAAN Mail Interview with Occupy The Hood Radio via Progressive Radio Network

Media outlets, community groups, academic institutions, educators & allies help us by sharing/writing about our TALK BACKS and provoking dialogue. They are an important piece of this movement.


respect my humanity

5 Ways you can help:

1. Share the talk back videos, memes or Open Letter on your blog, tumblr, Facebook or online magazine!

2. Tweet this:  Women of color demand accountability from @UMG & @clearchannel, media corporations:  via @faanmail

3. Create your own Talk Back (via video, meme, etc.) and send it to us!

4. Share and discuss this talk back with your college and high school students.

5. Email faanmail(at) or tweet us at @faanmail to get involved and stay in the loop.

Why Do Record Labels

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