Rick Ross’ pro-sexual harassment stance on female hip hop artists

MIAMI, FL – During a July 25, 2017 interview with The Breakfast Club morning radio show, rapper, and entrepreneur Rick Ross was asked why had not he signed a single female artist to his Maybach Music Group. Ross thought it was perfectly acceptable to say on The Breakfast Club that, if he ever signed a female artist to his label, he would probably “end up f**king” them.

Rick Ross explained, “You know, I never did it because I always thought, like, I would end up f****king a female rapper and f**king the business up,” Ross continued. “I’m so focused on my business. I just, I gotta be honest with you. You know, she looking good. I’m spending so much money on her photoshoots. I gotta f**k a couple of times.”

The above comes from the same entitled man who the public rebuked for the 2013 lyrics, “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.”

When will Rick Ross learn? First, as a “Boss,” your sexual desires should not have more control over control over your actions than your brain and human decency. Second, Ross’ comment is textbook workplace quid pro quo sexual harassment. A male music executive cannot request or hint that he needs sexual favors because he’s spent money on a female artist or will bring her fame and fortune.

This goes for other industries too. Quid pro quo roughly translates to “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs in the workplace when a manager or other authority figure offers, or merely hints, that if the employee satisfies a sexual demand, that in return he or she will affect the employee’s employment in a positive or negative way (give or take away a raise, grant a promotion, terminate the employee, etc.).

In order to succeed on a claim for sexual harassment, a plaintiff must show he or she was subjected to unwelcome sexual conduct. Further, to succeed on a claim of retaliation, a Plaintiff must that his or her complaints of sexual harassment (or discrimination in general) was used as the basis for decisions affecting the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of his or her employment.

As such, Ross’ comments cannot be passed off as a simple sexual joke. His comments are yet another unfortunate example of a problematic mentality that views women as sexual objects. This mentality ultimately hurts woman’s careers, keeps women out of the male-dominated hip-hop world (and other industries) and perpetuates stereotypes that rarely treat women equally.

In the hip-hop tradition, female hip-hop artists are taken less seriously than their male counterparts. Without the approval of male artists, women are often discriminated against because of their gender. For example, Nicki Minaj’s affiliation with Drake and Lil Wayne, Lil Kim’s relationship with Biggie, or Iggy Azalea connection with T.I., were all instrumental in their success.
Rick Ross is far from the only male artist guilty objectifying women. We live in a world where Kodak Black can declare that dark-skinned women are undesirable, female rappers’ fans harass them at concerts and social media, moguls like Dr. Dre can enjoy wild success before reckoning with their past abuse of women, and Tyga’s latest album is titled Bitch I’m the Shit 2. This list could easily continue. The point is, in hip-hop and essentially music industry as a whole, sexism and misogyny―both explicit and subtle―go unchecked.

Rick Ross will not likely receive the level of pushback he deserves for announcing that he’s, essentially, pro-sexual harassment. This is exactly why Ross and others like him cannot be let off so easily. Women need to speak up when they receive unwelcome requests for sex. Men, especially those in positions to influence change, must put their foot down and refuse to allow others around them to continue their unlawful conduct. Moreover, everyone must continue the conversation about why opinions like his are harmful.

Whether it’s the hip hop industry or a common workplace, general gender discrimination is rampant in the America landscape. If you feel you have been discriminated against, or sexually harassed, at work, please give our skilled employment discrimination attorneys a call at (800) 807-2209 for your free consultation or you can reach us online.

About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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