Back in 2011, Action Bronson thought it would be a great idea to release a song called Consensual Rape. Well, turns out it wasn’t such a good idea. Not only is the thought process to even make a song like that appalling, but now it seems a certain bitch called karma is getting its way, and is following Bronson around like a bad smell.
Dropped from a lineup in June last year, Bronson’s spot on the lineup for a concert at George Washington University’s Spring Fling has been cancelled, with the university citing the same song as the reason why. In a statement on their Facebook, the Program Board apologised to the GW community “for causing distress over the past few days and for attempting to bring an artist who is not consistent with our values of diversity and inclusion.” Now, Bronson has responded.
In his own statement on his Facebook, Bronson has finally officially addressed not only the outcry but the song itself. “It has become clear to me that things have reached a point which makes me feel the need to address the issues raised so that we can bring some understanding and healing to the table, so to speak,” he said. “I can’t continue to walk around with the thought that people are thinking these things about me that are far from who I really am.”
From here, Bronson goes on to say how he meant to depict a story with Consensual Rape, and that the “general sentiment of violence towards women” doesn’t actually represent him as a person. According to Bronson, these lyrics were not to be taken literally. “The songs I make aren’t any different than a director creating a movie, or an author writing a book meaning they contain scenes or things happen in them that aren’t meant to be anything but an artistic expression,” he writes.
This kind of issue is such a grey area. What’s in a song lyric, and do artists have a responsibility to recognise their influence when they are creating such works. Whether it be a song, a movie, a book or anything, what makes one okay and the other not? Particularly with hip-hop, increasing scrutiny on artists’ lyrics puts the person under the microscope along with their lyrics, but we aren’t accusing Quentin Taratino of being a violent murderer from the movies he makes. Bronson recognises this himself, saying “I understand that when it comes to musicians, and more specifically rappers, the lyrics I say are taken to heart many times as a representation of my beliefs or true feelings,” before clarifying that he thinks violence against women in any form is “DISGUSTING.”
At the end of the day, Bronson clearly didn’t mean to offend anyone. As Bronson says in his statement, “It was not my intention to hurt people when I made it years ago, and I certainly will be much more sensitive on this matter moving ahead.” But, that doesn’t change that the track is indeed offensive to people. He can’t stop people being offended, and unfortunately for him, it seems this poor choice will follow him for a long time as the world continues to grow the social conscience it has been without for far too long. He perhaps sums it up best himself by ending his statement with “I’m far, far from perfect and I recognize my flaws and I’m making an effort to grow and be a better human.” It just leaves the question of if we should move past or not. I guess that’s up to the individual, and how they find it. See his full statement below:
Image: Dani Hanse for Howl & Echoes. See our gallery of his Sydney show here.