Image by BET (link to image)
There are only a few females in the Hip-Hop industry, and this weekend two of them tried to end each other's career in a rap battle. One was more successful at verbally assaulting the other and was crowned WINNER of the battle, but in the end they both ended up FAILING those who look up to them.
After listening to the come-back track of the winner of the battle, I couldn't help but have flashbacks of growing up in New York and the countless physical fights that I witnessed and experienced. Most of the time these fights involved individuals that knew nothing about the other one. All they knew was that they HATED them. In 8th grade I personally experienced this with a girl. After we got into a physical altercation the principal pulled us aside and asked her, "What is the problem? Why do you not like her". The girl's response was, "Because she tries to rule the school". That, and that alone was enough to make her want to physically and verbally assault me every time she saw me in the hallway until one day I just couldn't take it anymore and retaliated back (ending up with BOTH of us getting suspended).
The psychologist in me travels back in time often to this time period in my life in order psychoanalyze the situation and the characters. Hearing this song literally placed me in a time machine. Young, black girls hating each other without ever speaking a word to each other. Young black girls, seeing themselves in each other and wanting to tear the other down to ensure they are not successful at "ruling" anything. Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj , also grew up in NY and probably had very similar experiences in grade school to my own. Only problem is, they are still allowing these experiences to dictate their adult life and with them being famous, also dictating the lives of little Black girls who look up to them.
Instead of joining forces and showing each other love as two very similar women with similar interests, they choose to fight each other. I cant help but get in my time machine and travel back to grade school. There was a girl in my school and we had so much in common. We both sang, our birthdays were three days apart, and we had the nerve to even kind of look alike. Unfortunately, we could't bring ourselves together and our peers loved to see us be at odds. We didn't have the social and psychological skills to just tell each other "I love you, because you are me". Our little 12 year old selves could not get passed the damage that society's stereotypes about "girls like us" did to our young self-concept. You see, according to society (particularly the media) girls like us were not suppose to be glorified as smart, talented and attractive. This can lead to the internalization of negative stereotypes about our own group (and therefore ourselves) and a hatred for people who look just like us but are still trying to SHINE despite society's ugly standards. People won't even know why they hate the other so much or where the hate stems from. The unconscious mind takes over and cant answer why, or how, but the conscious mind knows it wants to insult and assault the other. If Nicki and Remy Ma's unconscious minds could answer, they would probably say, "I hate you because you are so much like me, and Im not too fond of myself because of what society has told me I am since I was a child." In Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome , Dr. Joy DeGruy discusses the concept of suicide vs. homicide. Black people are one of the least likely groups to commit suicide. Dr. DeGruy suggested that instead of committing suicide, Black Americans often kill someone else who often times looks just like themselves.
These two women must realize they could change the game for kids who look up to them. Even though them joining forces AS SISTERS may not sell a lot of records, it could possibly stop a lot of fights and save a lot of lives. Research as shown when young minds see a famous person being glorified for being aggressive they are more likely to be aggressive themselves. When kids see these women being applauded and getting "mad props" on social media for verbally assaulting each other, it increases the likelihood of them going to school the next day looking for an altercation with the hopes of getting "mad props". Inner cities like Chicago where Black on Black crime is destroying the communities can not afford these two women doing this. The little girls in Remy and Nicky are still crying inside from being negatively stereotyped and fighting girls that looked just like them, and they are still taking it out on each other as grown, powerful women.
If we want this cycle to end, we must be aware of what is going on in our children's unconscious minds in terms of how are negative stereotypes about Black people impacting their own behaviors and self concept. Are they conforming? Encourage them to see themselves as each other's brothers and sisters, so that they can lift each other up instead of trying to tear each other down.